Fox News’ Ed Henry Challenges Obama on Syria’s Chemical Weapons — and Obama Redefines His ‘Red Line’

With evidence that Syria has purportedly used chemical weapons against its own people, President Barack Obama spoke out today against Bashar al-Assad and his regime. That said, he was seemingly somewhat more measured and cautious than he has been in the past when describing about how the United States plans to handle the contentious scenario.

US President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 30, 2013. The President on Tuesday answered questions from the press on a variety of topics. Credit: AFP/Getty Images 

Last year, Obama said that the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” — one that would apparently determine whether more drastic steps would be needed to prevent additional abuses. But, as National Review explains, the president was more tempered when discussing the issue today:

Despite evidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its people, President Obama today said that the United States will not intervene in the conflict until both the administration and the international community can establish that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons. “We don’t know how they were used, when they were used, who used them, we don’t have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened,” he told reporters.

Even if those facts were established, the president — who previously said the use of chemical weapons would constitute a “red line” — was more cautious today about whether even definitive proof of their use would be sufficient to change his administration’s calculus in the region. “It would cause us to rethink the range of options that are available to us,” he said.

Watch Obama describe some of these elements, below:

Fox News White House Correspondent Ed Henry started his questioning by asking the president, “Do you risk U.S. credibility if you don’t take military action?” During an explanation of the Syrian conflict as it currently stands — a direct response to this question — the president used the words “game changer.”

As Mediaite notes, Henry then questioned whether a “game changer” would mean that the U.S. military would intervene. Obama responded with the aforementioned idea that the government would need to “rethink the range of options” the U.S. — and international community — has to rectifying the situation.

Here’s a more robust clip that shows Henry’s question and Obama’s complete answer:

(H/T: National Review)

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