The PR maze of voting on Syria strikes

Asking Congress to vote on an attack on the war-torn Middle Eastern nation was either a PR necessity for President Obama or a disaster, depending on whom you ask. Congress faces a similar dilemma.

It wasn’t an easy vote. Senators from both parties were among those who voted against the resolution. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) simply voted “present.” The full Senate and the House of Representatives still have to vote on the measure.

They’ll all be walking a tightrope.

“It’s a very complex answer as to who will emerge from the Syria vote as a hero and as a villain,” says Lauren Simpson, a PR and social media strategist at Cohn Marketing and self-described “news junkie.” “Honestly, it’s not so cut and dry. Likely everyone will emerge as a bit of both.”

The president’s decision

Reports have described Americans as war-weary, and the numbers back that up. A Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 59 percent of Americans oppose strikes and only 36 percent approve. Political party is a non-factor; Republicans, Democrats, and independents all mostly disapprove.

Simpson says Obama’s decision to ask for congressional approval wasn’t just about public polling, however. It was also about avoiding a mistake he made in the past.

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