By Mario Trujillo - 09/05/13 04:54 PM EDT
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) on Thursday said President Obama’s “red line” comment a year ago was likely a flub caused by the president speaking without a teleprompter.
Chambliss said it is “mystifying” that Obama said Wednesday that he didn’t set a red line against Syria’s use of chemical weapons.
Obama said Wednesday he alone did not set a red line on the use of chemical weapons. Rather, the international community and Congress have all voiced opposition to their use, he said.
During a press conference last year, the president said Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime would cross a “red line” if the administration started seeing “a whole bunch” of chemical weapons being used in the country.
The White House has since concluded the regime killed more than 1,400 people with chemical weapons, in an attack late last month.
Republicans have criticized the president for his use of teleprompters. And during the press conference last year, Obama was speaking off the cuff.
Chambliss, who has said the United States should have intervened in Syria long ago, said Obama was trying to “punt” the ball to Congress rather than leading on the issue.
He said the 10-7 vote on the resolution to authorize military intervention that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday is a precursor to a tough vote in the full chamber.
Politics should not be a factor in senators’ decision on the resolution, Chambliss said. But he implied that Democrats have tailored their opposition to a strike because a member of their own party occupies the White House.
“I think if George Bush were president today — and I'm surprised they haven't blamed this somehow on Bush — but if Bush were president, you'd hear the Democrats screaming to the high heavens,” he said.