Networks Break in for President Obama's Address on Syria

Obama Syria Speech - H 2013
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Obama Syria Speech - H 2013

The president gave a 15-minute speech from the White House's East Room on Tuesday evening.

Networks broke in Tuesday evening to broadcast President Barack Obama's address about Syria.

Shortly after 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET, Obama addressed the nation in a special primetime speech from the White House's East Room with broadcast networks like NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox and cable news networks, including CNN and Fox News, airing the entire 15-minute speech.

During Obama's address, the commander-in-chief said he would delay a proposed military strike against Syria, and said the U.S. would work with China, Russia and allies to force Syria to turn over their chemical weapons cache. He said he would put off military action, unless diplomacy fails, but cautioned: "The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver.”

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While the broadcast networks went back to their primetime schedules minutes after the speech concluded, the cable news networks stayed on the topic, offering pundit reactions and analysis. Prior to the primetime broadcast, the fluidity and constantly changing nature of Obama's remarks were noted.

Immediately following Obama's address, CBS News aired an excerpt of Charlie Rose's interview with Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad, during which Assad neither confirmed nor denied his country had chemical weapons. Since their sit-down, Syria has confirmed they have chemical weapons. Assad is accused of ordering a chemical weapons strike against civilians last month.

Obama's primetime address comes on the heels of a media blitz on Monday, during which the President sat down with several reporters, including PBS' Gwen Ifill, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Fox News' Chris Wallace. In a speech made last Saturday, Obama called for Congress to vote on whether to approve a military strike against the Assad regime, and last Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on political talk shows to tout the administration's stance.

Last week, Obama canceled a $32,400-per-person Los Angeles fundraiser that was to take place on Monday in order to attend to the Syria situation.