Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Obama is scheduled to address the nation from the Oval Office Tuesday night in an effort to get the American people to rally behind a military strike against Syria. It is expected to be a tough sell.
An unscientific poll on WCCO.COM this weekend found that 67 percent of the more than 700 people who responded are against a military strike. Twenty two percent are in favor.
The results are similar to national polls. The popular opposition puts pressure on Congress who will be voting on whether to authorize a strike later this week.
When President Obama speaks to the American people Tuesday night he will also be appealing to members of Congress to back his plan for military action.
The Republican controlled House of Representatives is expected to be the toughest sell.
CNN estimates that 109 members plan to vote no, and only 23 plan to vote yes for a strike. The only good news for the President is that 280 House members are undecided. The vote is splitting members of each party and creating unexpected alliances. For example, Republican Michele Bachmann and Minnesota Democrat Rick Nolan, who rarely agree on any issue, both plan to vote no.
Standing in the yes column in support of a strike is Congressman Keith Ellison. He appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.
“I was against Iraq and Afghanistan, but I am of the mind that we have a duty to protect innocent civilians when they are subject to gas attacks like what happened. But I do believe in a limited strike and that it should be no more than 60 days, no American boots on the ground. It should be designed to degrade the chemical weapons capability of the Assad regime,” Ellison said.
The Syria debate is overshadowing other enormous issues the Congress will have to deal with in coming weeks, including a continuing budget standoff that could result in a government shutdown and a deep divide over the farm bill that without an agreement could send food and milk prices soaring.
You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.