Monday’s meeting with the 43-member Congressional Black Caucus reflected the administration’s efforts to sway an important bloc of lawmakers. National Security Adviser Susan Rice also participated in the meeting.
“It showed us the seriousness of the president’s effort to get the resolution through the House,” Thompson said. “It’s clear that he’s been wrestling with this at every waking moment. The fact that he gave us that much time on this matter the day before he’s going to talk to the nation kind of talks about the seriousness of it.”
Several caucus members are from the Deep South, including Thompson, Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, Terri Sewell of Alabama and other lawmakers from Florida.
White House officials also have held calls with other caucuses and groups, including the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, the Progressive Caucus and Jewish lawmakers.
Several Congressional Black Caucus members have taken anti-war positions.
“Traditionally, the CBC would promote diplomacy rather than military intervention,” said Thompson. “I think the public is exactly where the polling says. … People are just not convinced that is the only option available.”