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Hot topics: Syria, Gitmo

Published May 1, 2013

President Barack Obama strongly suggested in a news conference Tuesday that he would consider military action against Syria if it can be confirmed that President Bashar Assad's government used chemical weapons in the civil war and said he would "re-engage with Congress" on his goal of closing the prison for detainees at Guantanamo in Cuba. The president also defended the FBI's work in monitoring the activities in recent years of one of the men accused in the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon two weeks ago. Obama several times chided, criticized or dismissed his Republican critics. On the question of whether he has the "political juice'' to get his agenda through Congress, Obama paraphrased Mark Twain: "Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point.''

Is hunger strikeany surprise?

Asked about a hunger strike by some detainees at Guantanamo, Obama said, "I don't want these individuals to die," and he said the Pentagon was doing what it could to manage the situation. Obama also noted that several suspected terrorists have been tried in federal courts. 5A

Military action coming for Syria?

The president said that while there is evidence that chemical weapons were used inside Syria, "we don't know who used them." If it can be established that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, "We would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us." 5A

Did the FBI misssomething?

The president defended the FBI's handling of a tip from Russian investigators about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers. He also fielded questions about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Notebook, 5A

Times wires

"Maybe I should just pack up and go home. Golly."

President Barack Obama, responding in jest after he was asked if he still had the political juice to push his agenda through Congress after an early second-term defeat on gun control legislation.