The White House insisted Thursday that it welcomed former President Bill Clinton's remarks on Syria -- even as it largely dismissed them.
Politico reported today that Clinton at a closed press event told Sen. John McCain "he agrees that Obama should act more forcefully to support anti-Assad rebels in Syria, saying the American public elects presidents and members of Congress 'to see down the road' and 'to win.' " He also said repeatedly that it would be "lame" to blame a lack of intervention on opposition in polls or among members of Congress, Politico said.
Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama -- who has been pressured to step up US intervention in the war -- "makes decisions based on what he considers the essential longer view.. assessing whether or not they will help bring about achievement of the ultimate goal."
Carney said there are "a lot of people who have expertise in the matter both outside of government and in Congress ... and the president welcomes all of that."
But, he said, "In the end, of course, he and his team have to make the decisions that they believe are in the best interest of the United States and the American people."
Carney said polls -- which suggest Americans are opposed to military intervention in Syria -- aren't a factor.
"What does factor in is, what's in the national security interests of the United States and what has the best chance of working?,"he said.