The word is not enough. That was the message from the United States to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who pledged reforms in a speech at Damascus University.

“What’s important now is action, not words,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

White House spokesman Jay Carney concurred: “President Assad needs to either lead that transition or get out of the way … I’m not saying the words are meaningless, but he needs to act on them … But first, he needs to stop the violence.”

The White House also announced Vice President Joe Biden and lawmakers will meet three days this week — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — to see if they can move any closer to an agreement on the budget deficit and debt limit.

We’re guessing a week is not enough to lock up a deal. But will the talks be more meaningful than just three days of the meander? (OK so we stretched for a rhyme with condor for movie buffs).