A solid majority of Democratic Members who responded to the poll said that Obama didn't need to come to Congress to get its approval for the Libyan engagement while two-thirds of the Republicans said he should have. "The situation in Libya was deteriorating quickly and the delay would have allowed Qaddafi to slaughter his people," said one Democratic Congressional Insider. "Obama moved quickly but apparently not quick enough for Republicans who trashed him for 'dithering' before trashing him for acting." Another rhetorically asked: "And come before a hostile Republican Congress who has criticized the President at every turn, even after taking their recommendations?"
But some Democrats strongly felt the president had overstepped his authority. "He violated the War Powers Act and the Constitution," declared one Democratic Congressional Insider. "The Constitution is quite clear," said another. "Congress shall have the power to declare war." And even one Democratic Congressional Insider who agreed that Obama didn't have time to get Congressional assent before U.S. forces swung into action wondered, "But what's stopping him from seeking authorization now?"
Some Republicans felt that it would have been better for the President had he come to Congress. "It is always smart to get as many finger prints on the murder weapon as possible," said one GOP Congressional Insider. Others felt snubbed. "He sought the world's approval," said another GOP Member. "He should have sought Congress'."
The National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll is a regular survey of Democratic and Republican members of Congress.
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