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Bachmann questions president on Libya

WASHINGTON -- A tea party-backed conservative congresswoman said Wednesday that President Barack Obama has failed to demonstrate a vital U.S. national security interest for going into Libya.

Rep. Michele Bachmann also said "I would not have gone in" to the strife-torn North African country where strongman Moammar Gadhafi is fighting to cling to power against a resistance force.

The Minnesota Republican is considering whether to seek her party's 2012 presidential nomination. She told NBC's "Today" show she doesn't support intervening regularly in humanitarian crises.

Later, House Republicans briefed on the U.S. military intervention in Libya voiced anger that Obama didn't consult with Congress before beginning the aerial attack on Gadhafi's defenses.

During the closed-door briefing, House Republicans disputed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's contention that Obama had the legal authority to start the bombing campaign without consulting Congress, several lawmakers said. The president informed congressional leaders of his plans.

Republican lawmakers said Congress should be consulted before any decision by Obama to arm Libyan rebels. White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement later that "no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya."

"Every congressman in that room, almost without exception, feels they should have been contacted and notified and given some reason to go in there," Indiana Republican Dan Burton, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters after the briefing.

Burton said the briefing conducted by Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates left unanswered many questions about the cost of the operation, which he predicted would total "billions of dollars" before finished.

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