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Obama to lawmakers: Many won't like my Afghanistan decision

President Obama met with 31 Democratic and GOP lawmakers at the White House Tuesday to talk about the strategy for Afghanistan.

(From left to right) US House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) speaks with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), after a meeting between Congressional leadership and President Barack Obama on Afghanistan and Pakistan in Washington, on Tuesday.

Jim Young / Reuters

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A meeting at the White House Tuesday gave President Obama and Congressional Democrats and Republicans the opportunity to draw their respective lines in the sand on the way ahead for US efforts in Afghanistan.

Republican leaders emerged from the meeting saying they would be happy to work with the president – as long as he supports senior military officers who are urging a surge of up to 40,000 US troops in Afghanistan. And if Mr. Obama doesn’t go that route? Then, said House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R), they'd want to be convinced of Plan B.

“What we’ll all be listening for is a compelling case for how we expect success to take place in theater if he does not listen to commanders in the field,” he said in a conference call with reporters.

According to a White House official, Obama told the group of 31 lawmakers at the meeting Tuesday that he will make a decision on Afghanistan that many people won’t like – but didn’t betray his thinking on the subject.

“[The president] also made it clear that his decision won’t make everybody in the room or the nation happy, but underscored his commitment to work on a collaborative basis with the understanding that everyone wants what is best for the country,” says the official.

It’s unclear if Democrats would support the president’s decision if Obama were to order up more troops for Afghanistan – many of them are opposed to deepening US engagement in the conflict there.


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