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September 6th, 2013
09:35 AM ET

At G20, Pres. Obama Fights Amid Tension For Action In Syria

President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin's relationship is still chilly as they go into day two of the G20 summit. CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.

President Obama's first one-on-one interaction with Putin lasts 17 seconds, Keilar says.

While they are all smiles, there is an evident chill in the air as tensions deepen between the two nations over Syria, gay rights and NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

When President Obama is asked if there's been any progress in his push for a U.S. led strike against Syria, he responds, "We were talking about the economy this afternoon."

So far, Putin hasn't commented on Syria publicly but his press secretary tows the Russian line saying, "We all need a convincing and legitimate evidence of proof."

Though Syria is the proverbial elephant in the room, it's not even on the official agenda for the economics-driven summit.  That leaves all discussion on foreign policy to be in the margins and behind closed doors.

Still, Obama says, "I think our joint recognition that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is not only a tragedy, but also a violation of international law that must be addressed."

Aides to the President say behind the scenes, Obama is out to convince skeptical foreign leaders that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Damasacus.

At home, while many members of Congress are undecided, quite a few lawmakers have already said they plan to vote against supporting military action in Syria.

Things got heated at Senator John McCain's town hall in Phoenix. McCain supports action in Syria but some of his constituents voiced their opinions against action.

The same is true for Democratic head of Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein who says her followers who are against action in Syria have been calling her every day with "overwhelmingly negative" responses.


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