President Barack Obama, facing increasing pressure from Congress to clarify the U.S. military’s mission in Libya, will address the nation in a televised speech on Monday.
The president is expected to lay out his explanation for the U.S. involvement in Libya. Obama — who offered a brief explanation for his decision to support an expanded no-fly zone a week ago while touring South America — has been waiting for the U.S. to hand off primary command and combat responsibilities before charting the course forward to the American people, administration officials have said. On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that NATO will take the lead on air missions against Col. Muammar Qadhafi’s forces beginning Saturday, paving the way for Obama to speak to the nation.
Unlike the president’s Dec. 2009 speech on the war in Afghanistan, his remarks on Monday are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET — before the primetime TV viewing hours — and will be delivered not from the Oval Office, but at the National Defense University in Washington. The timing and location reflect Obama’s reluctance to equate what he regards as a smaller, time-limited, United Nations-sanctioned mission in Libya with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In another sign the administration was heeding criticism that it has moved without adequate consultation on Libya, Obama convened a conference call with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders Friday afternoon.
The administration has always intended to make its case to the American people, but Carney’s Thursday promise that the president would do it “soon” – upgraded to “very near future” on Friday — came amid withering bipartisan criticism that Obama has waged an unexplained, perhaps unnecessary war.
Obama To Give Libya Speech Monday
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