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March 25th, 2011
06:45 PM ET

Obama juggles Libya promises, realities

Alan Silverleib
CNN

Washington (CNN) - The domestic political stakes of America's military intervention in Libya grew Friday, with critics continuing to question the mission's organization, cost and consequences.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, worked to balance promises of a rapid U.S. transition to a supporting role with an apparent unwillingness among coalition partners to have NATO assume full control of the mission.

President Obama conducted a conference call and meeting with congressional leaders to provide an update on the conflict and attempt to address their concerns. Democrats appeared more satisfied than Republicans.

"The president gave a very clear, very strong presentation," said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan. "He clearly answered the questions about the mission and planned schedule for the handoff of the principal responsibility for population protection to NATO and Arab countries."

But Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republicans "appreciated the update" but still believe "much more needs to be done by the administration to provide clarity, particularly to the American people, on the military objective in Libya, America's role, and how it is consistent with U.S. policy goals."

According to a White House statement, 21 senators and House members met with Obama and his national security team in the White House Situation Room.

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