Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken has appeared at a White House briefing – running parallel to the state department briefing and Susan Rice speech – to make the case for strikes on Syria.
"If we don't act, the international norm against the use of chemical weapons will be weakened," he says.
Back at the state department, Harf is insisting that the idea to put chemical weapons under international control was started by the Russians, not by Kerry's "end of week" deadline in his news conference with Hague in London.
"It was rhetorical and hypothetical," Harf says of Kerry's remarks. "He didn't put it out there as a proposal.
"I think that the Russians have repeatedly used stalling tactics and then picking up this ball" is another stalling tactic, Harf says.
Rice says talk of new diplomacy is baloney:Kerry appeared to offer a proposal today in his London news conference for an alternative to military intervention. Now that it appears that Russia and Syria are making a proposal to take him up on the offer the administration is frantically claiming that he really didn't mean what he was saying.
It's just not going to happen now. Believe me, I know. I was there for all those UN debates. I lived it. It was shameful.
Three times we negotiated for weeks over the most watered-down language imaginable, and three times Russia and China double-vetoed almost meaningless resolutions.
This is not something that Russia just came up with after the London news conference. There was a report yesterday in Yetnews that exploratory talks between Russia and Syria for something along these lines was underway.
This whole thing looks like a movie titled The Keystone Kops Go To War. The various players in the Obama administration were already not enjoying much credibility on either the domestic or international stage. This performance seems like to make it sink even lower.