McCain has guarded optimism after White House meeting on Syria

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President Obama met Sunday with Sen. John McCain, considered his closest Republican ally on Capitol Hill, in his effort to win congressional support for a punitive military action against Syria, as the Pentagon prepares the Nimitz aircraft carrier group for a potential strike.

The Arizona senator has emerged as one of Obama’s top Capitol Hill negotiators on several recent Capitol Hill deals, most notably with the president’s immigration-reform initiative that needed Republican support to pass in the Senate.

This time Obama will need Republican support, particularly in the GOP-led House, to get Congress to vote in favor of his plan to launch a military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom the administration says ordered an Aug. 21 sarin-gas attack that killed more than 1,400 of his own people.

McCain emerged from the roughly one-hour meeting saying that Congress voting against a strike would “undermine the credibility…

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