Moammar Khadafy sent President Obama a rambling three-page letter Wednesday asking him to quit bombing Libya.
In the letter, Khadafy begs Obama to halt what he called an "unjust war against a small people of a developing country."
Khadafy said Libya had been hurt more morally than physically by the NATO air campaign and repeated his claim that the rebels trying to depose him are all terrorist members of al-Qaeda.
The Associated Press, which first reported on the letter, said Khadafy addresses Obama as "our son" in the missive and expresses hopes that he will be re-elected.
The White House rebuffed the overture, saying Khadafy would be judged on his actions, not his words.
Meanwhile, ex-Rep. Curt Weldon, a Pennsylvania Republican who has close ties to Khadafy, arrived in Tripoli Wednesday on the invitation of the embattled despot.
Weldon said he was on a private mission to urge Khadafy to quit but had informed the White House of his trip.
Khadafy's search for a face-saving way out has been growing.
His sons have proposed deposing their father and taking control of Libya themselves, but the rebels predictably nixed that notion.
Since the Arab Spring spread to Libya in early March and revolutionaries seemed poised to oust Khadafy, the regime's forces battled back to hold rebels to a stalemate - and in some cases they are winning key fights.
But air strikes begun by the US and now led by NATO have exacted a major economic toll on the regime.
NATO charged Wednesday that Libyan government forces were using civilians as human shields - slowing down NATO attacks, which are primarily designed to protect civilians.
"Libyan government forces have increasingly shifted to non-conventional tactics, blending in with road traffic and using civilian life as a shield for their advance," said Rear Admiral Russell Harding, deputy commander of Libya operations.
"NATO forces have been particularly careful to avoid injury to civilians who are in close proximity to the fighting, often precisely because of the tactics of government forces."