President Obama really, really, really wants Congress to vote for war in Syria.
As Politico's Jonathan Allen notes in a piece titled "President Obama's over-the-top lobbying push," the White House is frequently criticized for being too hands off when it comes to pushing Congress on legislative priorities. In particular, the administration often seems reluctant to deploy the president himself to convince wavering legislators.
But when it comes to Syria, it's an all-hands-on-deck effort, with Obama pitching in personally. Here's Allen:
Obama and his White House are owning every aspect of this operation. The president himself dropped in — for almost 90 minutes — on Vice President Joe Biden's Sunday night dinner with a group of Senate Republicans. He's expected to appeal directly to Senate Democrats at their Tuesday lunch on Capitol Hill. And he's been making phone calls to individual lawmakers.
At one point early on Monday afternoon, MSNBC ran a trio of video feeds of National Security Adviser Susan Rice delivering a Syria speech to the New American Foundation, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken briefing reporters at the White House, and State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf discussing the situation with media in Foggy Bottom.
Obama's also used his bully pulpit to try to move a skeptical public. He has spoken to the nation from the Rose Garden, is giving interviews to six television networks on Monday, and will deliver a primetime address from the White House — a tool of public persuasion he's been reluctant to use in the past — on Tuesday night.
He has sent out a full complement of administration surrogates, from Vice President Joe Biden to U.N. Rep. Samantha Power, as well as outside validators such as Bob Gates, David Petraeus, and Hillary Clinton — to make the case for military action.
…The only similar campaign that anyone can remember from the Obama White House happened on health care in his first term.
It's quite a push for someone who claims he doesn't believe his own credibility is on the line.
But remember! Obama is a "reluctant" warrior.