Obama gambling that Syria won’t be election liability

Reuters reports: President Barack Obama is gambling that his administration’s failure to act forcefully to stem the bloody crisis in Syria won’t become an election-year liability – and that looks for now like a good bet, with Americans weary of war and focused on the struggling U.S. economy.

A weekend massacre of civilians in Syria has again laid bare the lack of appetite on the part of Washington and many of its allies for military action against Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

It has also given presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney a new opening to try to paint Obama as soft on U.S. foes and timid in asserting American global leadership.

But with most Americans opposed to another large-scale U.S. military commitment overseas and the Syria crisis barely registering for many U.S. voters, Obama’s aides and supporters believe he can weather attacks on the issue.

Polls in recent months have shown between two-thirds and three-quarters of voters opposed to U.S. intervention. Not even human rights groups are demanding major military action.

And Republicans themselves are divided on the right course of action in Syria and how much political capital Washington should invest there.

“Americans are war-weary, Americans are focused on our own economy, Americans want us to invest in our future,” Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall said in a conference call with reporters during a trip to the Middle East. “I don’t think this is at the top of Americans’ list of concerns.”

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