When I was in high school, I was on the Debate Team (though, surprisingly, I wasn't very good at it at the time). The chosen topic for that year was the Electoral College. Before the debate competition season commenced, debaters would research the pros and cons of the subject matter and create huge "index card" databases of arguments on either side of the question. At a debate event, each team would draw to see if they would be arguing pro or con for each match.
And that's the thing. As you squared off against your opponents, you had one position to argue. Based upon your opponents strategy, you would alter your team's strategy accordingly. The best debate teams were those who were best able to counter the opposing team's arguments. It is a really straightforward concept.
After reading what President Obama said in Stockholm yesterday at a gathering of world leaders, I am guessing that Barack has never been on a debate team. In the course of a few minutes, he argued both sides of the same issue! At one moment, he said,
It is important for us to get out of the habit of just saying we'll let the president stretch the boundaries of his authority as far as he can and Congress will sit on the sidelines and snipe.
However, in the same set of remarks, he also said,
As commander-in-chief I always preserve the right and the responsibility to act on behalf of America's national security. I do not believe that I was required to take this to Congress but I did not take this to Congress just because it's an empty exercise. I think it is important to have Congress's support.
So, on the one hand, he agrees with his critics by saying that a president shouldn't be allowed to "stretch the boundaries of his authority." On the other hand, he submits that he has the [constitutional] right to stretch those boundaries as far as he sees fit!
Obviously, quote #1 was a throwaway position, a meager attempt to satisfy those who believe in constitutional safeguards. What he really believes is contained in quote #2. Phrased a different way, he is taking this matter -- attacking Syria -- before Congress to give them the opportunity to agree with him! If they don't, then he's going to do what he believes he is empowered to do anyway.