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Was Obama's Syria 'Red Line' Declaration a Gaffe?

Reports now indicate that the "red line" statement last summer was not thoroughly discussed beforehand.

President Obama is facing criticism for his statement last summer that the use of chemical weapons would be a "red line" for possible U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict. Now that U.S. intelligence has confirmed that chemical weapons were used in Syria, Republicans are calling on the president to back up the "red line" with action. Obama said last week that it's still unclear which side used chemical weapons and that the intelligence reports are preliminary.

Now, reports have emerged that the "red line" statement of last summer was actually an off-the-cuff answer to a question and it caught other administration officials off guard.

Martha MacCallum discussed the complex situation with Rich Lowry and Kirsten Powers this morning.

Lowry argued that Obama has undermined the credibility of the United States around the world.

"It's astonishing. You can't be President of the United States and go out there and use the very loaded phrase 'red line' without having a very specific purpose in mind and a very specific response of someone actually crosses the red line. But apparently he just went out there and said this. White House officials are all but saying it was a gaffe," he said.

Powers agreed that a U.S. president "cannot" make that sort of statement, calling it "disturbing" that it was apparently done without a clear plan behind it.

Martha then asked whether the statement last summer was a "miscalculation," and if Obama may have assumed that Syrian President Bashar Assad's fall was imminent.

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