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Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has made it clear for the last two years that inaction in Syria is a bad idea.
Because the U.S. chose to "lead from behind," and didn't help moderates overthrow a weaker President Bashar al-Assad early in the rebellion, it now has no good options for a military intervention, Rubio said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper.
"The ideal outcome in Syria is one in which Assad falls, and is replaced by a stable, moderate government," said Rubio. "That may no longer be possible."
Assad leaving could instead trigger chaos, said the Florida senator.
"The large number of radical Islamists who now find themselves in Syria means that if Assad were to fall – if he stays in power, that's obviously bad, because it empowers Iran, and so forth – but if he falls, it's also possible it could trigger a second civil war," said Rubio.
The president sent his team to the Senate Tuesday to make his case.
"Are you going to be comfortable if Assad, as a result of the United States not doing anything, then gasses his people yet again?" Kerry said before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Facing public opposition and a skeptical Congress, they said using chemical weapons against your own people is so evil, it's only been done three times.
"The third instance was used by Adolf Hitler to gas millions of Jews. It was used by Saddam Hussein in order to gas Iraqis and his own - Iranians and his own people. And now, it has been used by Bashar al-Assad; three people in all of history," Kerry said.
White House officials Tuesday morning proclaimed that they had momentum, winning support for strikes from the top two House Republicans, but just hours later, Obama's team was facing tough questions.
Check back here for the latest updates in our live blog of the Senate hearing
(CNN) – Top Obama administration officials face tough questions Tuesday as they make their case for a military strike in Syria in their first public congressional hearing on the issue.
Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey sit before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday afternoon.
By CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday called it “unfortunate” that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono seemed to take a jab at his weight at a recent political event.
"For me and for other folks across New Jersey, many folks who are challenged by their weight, the fact that someone running for governor would make derisively comments about someone’s physical appearance I think is really beneath the office that she’s seeking and I’m disappointed that she’s done it," Christie said at a press conference in Newark. "But she’s playing out of the Corzine Playbook in that way.”
Christie said he “put up with it four years ago, I’ll put up with it now. It won’t change the way I feel about myself and about lots of other people who I represent in this state who face a similar challenge I’ve had in trying to control their weight and be in better shape.”
The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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