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Divided Vote Foreshadows Obama Challenge on Syria

President Obama speaks in the White House Rose Garden
President Obama speaks in the White House Rose Garden (White House)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate panel’s deep divide over giving President Barack Obama the authority to use U.S. military force against Syria underscores the commander in chief’s challenge in persuading skeptical lawmakers and wary allies to back greater intervention in an intractable civil war.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted narrowly to OK limited military force Wednesday, and the administration was pressing ahead with its full-scale sales effort Thursday with another round of closed-door meetings for lawmakers to share intelligence about a chemical weapons strike near Damascus.

On another continent, Obama was certain to face questions about Syria from world leaders at an economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Obama has called for military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, which the administration blames for the Aug. 21 attack that killed hundreds.

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