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Exclusive Text of President Obama’s Awkwardly Timed Syria Speech

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks after a televised national address from the Oval Office of the White House August 31, 2010 in Washington, DC.
Obama addresses the nation about … something. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Tonight at 9 p.m. EST, President Obama will deliver live, televised remarks on Syria from the White House. Daily Intelligencer has secured a copy of this speech, as prepared for address. 

Good evening. Tonight I had hoped to speak directly to you, the American people, as your president and commander-in-chief, about the necessity of taking military action against the Assad regime in Syria. I was going to talk all about why bombing Syria was not only a moral obligation, but also squarely in our national interests. That’s what I had planned to do when we scheduled this speech last week.

But then, as many of you know, John Kerry sort of accidentally proposed yesterday that President Assad could avoid retribution if he agreed to give up his chemical weapons. To our surprise, Syria is into it, as is its close ally Russia. Suddenly we’re in the midst of figuring out a diplomatic solution to this crisis. Just a few hours ago, Syria declared its intention to join the international treaty banning chemical weapons, and I asked the Senate to delay a vote on military strikes. The situation is changing almost by the minute. 

So, with all that being said … I’m not totally sure what I’m supposed to say here anymore. The military strikes I was going to aggressively argue for tonight may no longer be necessary. Then again, they might be, if these diplomatic talks fall apart. We definitely need to do something about Syria, I’m just not sure what. You can see my dilemma. 

What people don’t know is that once you reserve ten minutes of prime-time television, they don’t let you back out, for any reason. It’s crazy.

You know what? Joe said something pretty spot-on about Syria the other day. What was it … oh, right. “Barack, if the American people don’t” … no, wait … how did it go? Ah, crap. I can’t remember. Well, it was good. 

Did anyone watch Monday Night Football last night? Those were some okay games. I’m really excited about this season. 

Okay, well, that about wraps ‘er up. Let me get back to you about Syria, because again, we’re really right in the middle of this thing. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. 

Text of Obama’s Awkwardly Timed Syria Speech