(AP) President Barack Obama isn't saying what he would do if Congress doesn't authorize his request for a military strike against Syria.
Obama says he doesn't want to "jump the gun" and speculate about what he would do in that scenario while he and top advisers are busy working to get as much support as possible out of Congress.
Obama, however, has said he believes he has the authority to take limited military action in Syria with or without the approval of lawmakers.
Obama spoke Friday at a news conference at the close of an international economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.During that session with reporters in St. Petersburg, the president said he understand the American public's deep skepticism about launching military action against Syria. But he says he is confident he can persuade Americans that the use of chemical weapons in Syria requires a military response.
Obama says he needs to convince the nation that his plans would be "limited and proportional" and designed to uphold international norms. Obama says a chemical attack in Syria last month was carried out by President Bashar Assad's military.
Seeking congressional authority to act, Obama says the U.S. experience with Iraq and a decade of war has made the public wary, especially within his own Democratic Party.
He says, quote, "I trust my constituents want me to offer my best judgment. That's why they elected me. That's why they re-elected me.
Obama says he had a "candid and constructive conversation" with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Syria.
Obama says that he urged Putin to set aside his differences with the U.S. over the use of chemical weapons and try to help encourage a political transition in Syria.
Putin told reporters they spoke for 20 or 30 minutes Friday and focused on Syria. The Russian president says while they disagreed, the meeting was constructive.
Obama says the humanitarian situation in Syria and along its borders is "only getting worse" and stresses that the problem is "not in anyone's interest."
Obama insists that the Syrian government is responsible for chemical weapons attacks against civilians and is pushing for the United States to respond with a military strike.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner meanwhile have declined invitations to meet with a planned delegation of Russian lawmakers to discuss Syria.
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson confirmed Thursday that Reid had turned down the offer. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the speaker had also declined the offer.
"We are really disappointed by their decision not to meet with their Russian colleagues," said Maxim Abramov, spokesman for the Russian Embassy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed on Monday to send a delegation of Russian lawmakers to the United States to discuss the situation in Syria with members of Congress.
Top Russian legislators had suggested that to Putin, saying polls have shown little support among Americans for armed intervention in Syria to punish its regime for an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb.