WASHINGTON (AP) — The Barack Obama who made the case to the nation for military action in Syria appeared more confident, perhaps even more relieved than the president who confronted the press corps during last week's trip to Sweden and Russia.

Then Obama was defensive, arguing that the world, not he, had set a red line against Syria's use of chemical weapons and maintaining it was not his credibility at stake if the U.S. did not respond to the breach of that red line.

On Tuesday, Obama still made a case for striking at Bashar Assad's regime, but the tenuous diplomatic path that Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have opened to secure Syria's chemical weapons bought time.

What was to be a final pitch became the beginning of a different one.