In the Rose Garden this afternoon, President Obama said he has decided the United States “should take military action” against Syria, but he said he will wait for an authorization from the out-of-session Congress first.
The Saturday statement, during the long Labor Day holiday sent the news networks into high gear. Wolf Blitzer anchored coverage on CNN, Bret Baier was in for Fox News, Alex Witt anchored on MSNBC and Richelle Carey anchored on Al Jazeera America. All had their White House and Pentagon correspondents as well as military analysts dialed in for coverage which began before 1pm. CNBC and FBN also carried the statement. The president’s remarks were supposed to have begun at 1:15. He was delayed about 35 minutes.
On the broadcast networks, George Stephanopoulos anchored on ABC along with Terry Moran and Martha Raddatz. On CBS, Jim Axelrod anchored with Major Garrett at the White House and Elizabeth Palmer in Damascus. She is one of the few Western TV journalists in Syria right now. NBC aired two reports during coverage of the English Premiere League. The first anchored by David Gregory at 1:27 previewed with reports form Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Richard Engel. Gregory broke in again when the president spoke, then quickly returned to soccer following the statement.
CNN reports that Syrian State Television also carried the President’s remarks live.
One member of the press shouted a question as the president departed: “Will you forgo a strike if congress disapproves?” There was no answer.