By 7 p.m., top aides including deputy national security advisers Ben Rhodes and Tony Blinken had been summoned to the Oval Office, where Obama shared the new plan. It was the right thing to do, the president said, and would make the U.S. stronger.
Aides went to work immediately, with some drafting an authorization that Congress could take up and others hashing out the timeline.
But the next morning, there was pushback from some on the president’s team. The National Security Council convened Saturday to firm up the plan, with Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, national security adviser Susan Rice and others in attendance.
When Obama said he wanted to ask Congress for a vote, some of his advisers dissented. Officials wouldn’t say which participants argued against Obama’s proposal.
After a two-hour debate, Obama’s team agreed to support Obama’s decision, officials said. So Obama went upstairs and called the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate to inform them of his about-face. He also notified French President Francois Hollande.
By mid-afternoon, Obama emerged in a steamy White House Rose Garden, surprising lawmakers, reporters and the public with news of his plan.
‘‘I'm ready to act in the face of this outrage,’’ Obama said. ‘‘Today I'm asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation.’’
Then Obama and Biden left the White House by motorcade to play a round of golf.
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