President Obama addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in New York.
Credit Timothy Clary / AFP/Getty Images
While conceding that nations will disagree about when and how to step in as "tyrants ... commit wanton murder," President Obama told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that "we must get better" at preventing atrocities.
The president again laid out his case for strong international action to hold Syrian President Bashar Assad accountable for his regime's alleged use of chemical weapons. Then Obama told world leaders that:
On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Ari Shapiro on what President Obama will tell the U.N.
Update at 3:07 p.m. ET. Leaders Will Not Meet:
After intense speculation that the United States and Iran were on the verge of making history today by coordinating a meeting between President Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, there came word this afternoon that the two would not meet during the ceremonies surrounding the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly.
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive at last year's congressional picnic on the South Lawn of the White House. This year, the picnic — seen as a chance for lawmakers to socialize beyond party lines — was canceled.
President Obama isn't known as a schmoozer like Bill Clinton or a back-slapper like George W. Bush. But he does know that a personal touch can woo allies and soften adversaries.
Right now, domestic and international crises are looming on all sides of the president. Although a little tenderness might come in handy, Obama is repeatedly passing up opportunities to wage a charm offensive.