It's a political blitz on Congress perhaps unrivaled in this or other recent administrations -- daily classified briefings, non-stop phone calls, meetings over meals and even a nationally televised speech -- as President Barack Obama's administration tries to convince legislators to authorize a military attack on Syria.
The non-stop lobbying intensified Monday with Obama giving one-on-one interviews with CNN and five other television and cable networks, which will be followed by his address to the nation on Tuesday night as well as the plethora of consultations with Congress.
All the outreach was intended to reverse a tide of public opposition fueling congressional skepticism over Obama's request for support to launch a military strike on Syria in response to what his administration calls a major chemical weapons attack on August 21 that killed more than 1,400 people.
Previously classified video footage first shown publicly on CNN on Saturday showed poison gas victims writhing near death in Syria, providing what the administration hoped would be an emotional exclamation point for its push to attack the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with what are expected to be missile strikes.
Obama made sure to mention the images of gassed children in his interview with CNN on Monday, saying the purpose of a military attack would be to prevent similar atrocities as well as the chance al-Assad could use chemical weapons against U.S. allies in the region or American forces.
"That's why 98 percent of humanity have said we don't use these" he said. "That protects our troops, and it protects children like the ones that we saw in those videos inside of Syria."
National Security Adviser Susan Rice later emphasized the human element when she said in a speech that she was unable to look at the images of gassed children "and not think of my two kids."
Poll shows public opposition
However, a new CNN/ORC International poll showed that concern fueling the public opposition over a Syria attack focuses more on what happens after the missiles hit.
According to the survey, eight in 10 Americans believe that the al-Assad regime gassed its own people, but a strong majority doesn't want Congress to pass a resolution authorizing a military strike against it.
More than seven in 10 respondents said such a strike would not achieve significant U.S. goals, and a similar amount said it's not in the national interest for the United States to get involved in Syria's civil war, the poll reported.
At the same time, the polling showed majority support for an attack that would prevent future use of chemical weapons by Syria or other countries.
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and supports a punitive response to Syria's use of chemical weapons, said the classified details his panel has seen make a compelling case.
Now the president must do the same to the American people, something he has failed to really try so far, according to Rogers.
"He hasn't really talked about Syria in a meaningful way with any depth of understanding of how it impacts the United States at all," Rogers said of Obama on Monday on CNN.
"He has very poor relations with members of Congress, of both parties, by the way. They are completely disengaged," Rogers continued in reference to the Obama administration. "And so they're coming in and asking for a very big thing without allowing I think Americans and most members of Congress who don't sit on national security committees to understand the broader impact of what's going on in Syria."
Rogers agreed with the findings of the CNN/ORC poll that the American people and their elected legislators aren't questioning whether banned chemical weapons used.
"I don't think that's where people's problems are. They are very skeptical about moving forward for a couple reasons," he said. "One, they don't understand, nor has it been defined, what is the United States' national security interests? I happen to think they're there, but the president certainly hasn't talked about it at all. That's causing this problem."
The administration's blitz began shortly after Britain's Parliament voted on August 29 against joining in any military attack on Syria. Denied a normally reliable NATO ally, Obama shifted his focus to Congress to get political cover for the military strikes he argues are necessary to maintain the credibility of international conventions and treaties against weapons of mass destruction.
Since Obama returned from the G20 summit in Russia last week, the lobbying has intensified. His weekly message to the nation focused on the Syria issue, and he joined Vice President Joe Biden for a family style Italian dinner on Sunday night with a handful of prominent Republican senators.
Monday brought the president's interviews with the major television networks, while the House and Senate returned from summer recess to begin debating the matter.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough met with House Democrats, and Obama himself spent an hour in a meeting that Rice had with generally anti-war Black Congressional Caucus.
Later, top officials including Rice, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper gave a closed intelligence briefing to House members.
On Tuesday, Obama was scheduled to meet separately with Senate Democrats and Republicans before his nationally televised speech in the evening.