Brasilia, Brazil (CNN) - President Obama defended his decision to authorize U.S. involvement in the military action in Libya by casting himself as a reluctant warrior, saying he and other key U.S. allies had no choice but to act because of fears that Moammar Gadhafi was planning to kill more of his own people.
"I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice and it's not a choice that I make lightly," said Obama. "But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities like Benghazi and Misurata, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government."
Obama added pointedly: "Actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced. That is the cause of this coalition."
BRASILIA, Brazil (CNN) – President Obama is getting up-to-the-minute briefings on the start of military action in Libya during his tour of Latin America. In Brazil on Saturday he declared that an international coalition is ready "to act and act with urgency" to stop Moammar Gadhafi from continuing to attack civilians.
"The people of Libya must be protected," said Obama. "And in the absence of an immediate end to the violence against civilians, our coalition is prepared to act, and act with urgency."
Obama spoke at an event here with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and said he would be briefing her on "the steps that we are taking" with other nations like the United Kingdom and France to put ever more pressure on Gadhafi.
BRASILIA, Brazil – In Brasilia, Brazil, President Obama spoke about the United States joining an international coalition to enforce UN Security Council resolutions in Libya:
"I want to briefly mention the situation in Libya, because this is something that I’ve discussed with the President. Yesterday, the international community demanded an immediate cease-fire in Libya, including an end to all attacks against civilians. Today Secretary Clinton joined an international coalition of our European and Arab partners in Paris to discuss how we will enforce U.S. Security Council Resolution 1973.
Our consensus was strong and our resolve is clear: The people of Libya must be protected. And in the absence of an immediate end to the violence against civilians, our coalition is prepared to act, and act with urgency. And I am briefing President Rousseff on the steps that we are taking."
BRASILIA, Brazil (CNN) - After recent tension over President Obama breaking with tradition by hosting world leaders at the White House but not taking any questions from the media during those sessions, administration officials were eager to boast that he would be holding several news conferences on his three-nation trip to Latin America.
"So I'd just note for your planning purposes, we'll be having three press conferences with each of the leaders," said Ben Rhodes, the White House's deputy national security advisor for strategic communications. "So there will be that opportunity."
Well actually that opportunity has already started to close on Day One of Obama's trip.