White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
WASHINGTON (AP) -- White House chief of staff Denis McDonough says the Obama administration does not have irrefutable evidence that the Syrian government is responsible for a chemical weapons attack that President Barack Obama says demands a U.S. military response.
McDonough says "intelligence does not work that way," but "common-sense" says President Bashar Assad is responsible for the attack and "should be held to account."
The U.S., citing intelligence reports, says the nerve agent sarin was used in an Aug. 21 attack outside Damascus, and that 1,429 people died, including 426 children.
McDonough appeared on five TV news shows Sunday as the White House continues its campaign to convince Americans of the need for a military response.
President Barack Obama has scheduled six network interviews Monday and a speech to the nation on Tuesday.
Obama faces a tough audience on Capitol Hill. A survey by The Associated Press finds that House members who have staked out positions are either opposed to or leaning against Obama's plan for a military strike by more than a 6-1 margin.
The survey found nearly half of the 433-member House and a third of the 100-member Senate remain undecided.
Obama to meet with Democrats before Syria speech
A Senate Democratic aide says President Barack Obama will meet with Senate Democrats Tuesday to seek support for U.S. military action against the government of Syria.
The meeting at the Capitol would come just hours before Obama addresses the nation in a prime-time speech on Syria from the White House.
The president is making a determined last-ditch effort for authorization, granting a series of network interviews Monday to make his case. Sunday night, he dropped in on a dinner held by Vice President Joe Biden for Republican senators.