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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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September 2nd, 2013
06:45 PM ET

Democratic strategist: GOP opposition will galvanize Democratic support for Syria

Senators John McCain and Lindsay GRaham stood in the president's own driveway, and slammed his leadership on Syria. After a meeting at the White House Monday, the senators were very clear about the fact that they want to see more action, more planning, and more clarity from the administration.

"We don't want endless war," said Graham. "We want sustainable security. Syria is a cancer that's growing in the region, and for two years the president has allowed this to become, quite frankly, a debacle."

The Republican bashing of the president that will happen over the next four or five days "will coalesce Democrats around the president," said Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor Hilary Rosen.

Rosen said she thinks the administration will get enough votes for congressional authorization from a coalition of Democrats – who trust the president will go in to a limited degree – and more internationalist Republicans.

There are good arguments on "all sides" of the debate of a U.S. strike on Syria, said senior editor at the National review and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute Ramesh Ponnuru.

"If you split the difference with those arguments, you could end up with something that doesn't make any strategic sense," said Ponnuru. That is "going to cause a lot of reluctance on the part of Congress to vote for this, because they don't see what the strategic objective is."

The president's own ambivalence in Syria is a selling point with Democrats, because it suggests he is not going to go too far, said CNN senior political analyst and editorial director of the National Journal Ron Brownstein.

"The ambivalence we're seeing on Syria is really the kind of rise and fall of the belief in our efficacy to change these societies in the way that we want," Brownstein.

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