** Always wanted Fox’s political must-reads? Now you can have them. Each weekday morning, our DC team, led by Chris Stirewalt, delivers the FOX NEWS FIRST political newsletter. Sign up here **
• Will Obama wait for UN on Syria strike?
• President’s former advisers cashing in on ObamaCare
• Colorado gets redder
• Time’s up for Action August
• A-Rod: In bad taste
PRESSURES MOUNT ON OBAMA’S SYRIA WAITING GAME - As U.N. weapons inspectors try to make their way through sniper fire to the scene of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, the pressure for and against an American military strike against Syrian government forces is intensifying. Russia, China and others are still lined up against any intervention while America’s European allies are pushing President Obama harder for an attack, saying Western powers may need to circumvent the U.N., as they did in Libya to depose that country’s former government.
Ed Henry wants to know: “One year and six days after drawing the red line, how does the man who first ran against a ‘dumb war’ in Iraq now make the case for military intervention in Syria?”
Past troubles inform current quandary - Given not only Obama’s massive criticism of his predecessor for not allowing weapons inspectors and the U.N. process more time to work against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime, but also the unhappy outcome of the NATO intervention in Libya, the president has been in a bind on Syria. His hope that secret arms shipments to Islamist rebels would bring down the Syrian regime before the slaughter worsened or the war spilled over Syria’s boarders seems to have fallen short. So now what?
Foreign warnings - Fox News:Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned the United States not to take military action against his country. In comments published Monday in the Russian newspaper Izvestia: “Failure awaits the United States as in all previous wars it has unleashed”. Russia's foreign ministry, an ally of Assad's, released a statement saying that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had urged restraint to Secretary of State John Kerry when the two spoke by phone Sunday.
[Watch FOX: Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee discusses whether or not President Obama will take military action in Syria in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
Baier Tracks: Next Steps On Syria… - “If the movements inside the Pentagon, according to sources, are any indication - the U.S. is preparing to do SOMETHING in Syria. How much or how little? The next few days are critical. A special guest on ‘Special Report’ will lay out the details on the Syrian rebels like you've never seen them.” – Bret Baier.
Time limits on air strike effectiveness - Elliot Cohen, who helped plan the air campaign for the first Gulf War, writes on the use and limitations of air power for the WaPo:“Not to act is to decide, and to decide for an even worse outcome than the one that awaits us.”
[Watch FOX: Fox News contributor Richard Grenell, formerly of President George W. Bush’s U.N. team discusses the latest developments in Syria in the 12 p.m. ET hour]
EGYPTIANS WONDER: U.S. IN CAHOOTS WITH MUSLIM BROS? - NYT: “As patrons of [Cairo’s] Red Apple Cafe ignored the new 9 p.m. curfew, the presence of an American elicited bountiful conspiracy theories, all of them involving America’s plan to destroy Egypt through its paid Brotherhood confederates…. ‘Americans are with the Muslim Brotherhood,’ Farouq stated in a tone suggesting that it was common knowledge. ‘O.K., you did something good when you killed Osama bin Laden, but now you are with Al Qaeda. You support the terrorists.’”
Firsthand accounts - Fox News: Egyptians are increasingly blaming the Muslim Brotherhood, despite attempts by the Islamist group to scapegoat Christians and the military, according to several sources who spoke to Fox News from Cairo. “I am Muslim and I am against terrorism…” said one Cairo resident.
OBAMA TWEETS FOR OBAMACARE -“Thanks for spreading the word. #ROAR.” – Tweet from President Obama thanking singer Katy Perry for urging her fans to sign up for Obama’s new government insurance program. The hashtag ROAR is the president’s reference to Perry’s latest single.
OBAMACARE ARCHITECTS MAKE BIG BUCKS LOBBYING UNDER LAW - The Hill: “More than 30 former administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staffers who worked on the healthcare law have set up shop on K Street since 2010. … Experts say that those able to fetch the highest salaries have come from the Department of Health and Human Services or committees with oversight power over healthcare.”
[Ed. note: As complaints grow over special treatment for big business and large insurers, scrutiny of insiders peddling access will surely grow.]
Public pensions pay private lobbyists - Hundreds of lobbyists in at least 20 states are receiving public pensions because they represent associations of counties, cities and school boards, an Associated Press review found. Legislatures granted them access decades ago on the premise that they serve governments and the public. In many cases, such access also includes state health care benefits.
Cruz: ObamaCare defund plan needs “tsunami” - Washington Examiner: “Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, conceded Sunday that his strategy to leverage a government shutdown as a way to defund ObamaCare would fail unless Republicans are able to convince voters that President Obama is to blame for cutting off federal programs.”
“It’s going to take a tsunami and I’m going to do everything I can to encourage that tsunami”—Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, CNN “State of the Union”
OKLAHOMA GOV. WANTS OBAMA TO WEIGH IN ON SHOOTING - As prosecutors opted against prosecuting the racially charged killing of Australian Christopher Lane in Duncan, Okla., earlier this month as a hate crime, the state’s governor is urging President Obama to give the homicide the same attention he paid to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. “I think it would be a nice gesture for him to do that, especially since the country of Australia has expressed its sentiments as to the murder itself,” Gov. Mary Fallon, a Republican, said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”
PUNDIT: VOTER ID LAWS ‘EVIL’ -“What’s going on about voting rights is downright evil because it is something that really needs to keep going forward not backward.” – ABC News commentator Cokie Roberts on “This Week.”
GOP commemorates March on Washington - Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will host a luncheon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Priebus will be joined by several black GOP leaders including Sen. Tim Scott, R- S.C., former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., and Elbert Guilroy, the Louisiana state senator that recently switched parties, among others.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” - Former Bob Dole aide Douglas MacKinnon, in a LA Times OpEd: “[Hillary Clinton] might want to ask Howard Dean, John Kerry, John McCain and Mitt Romney how their presidential ‘coronations’ worked out for them.”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.2 percent//Disapprove – 50.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.6 percent Right Track//Wrong Track – 62 percent
Q Poll: Colorado getting redder - A new Quinnipiac poll shows a tight race between former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. The poll shows a virtual tie with Hickenlooper ahead by 1 point. And in two hypothetical 2016 matchups from the same survey by Quinnipiac, Republicans show strength. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bests Vice President Joe Biden by 7 points and finished in a statistical tie with Hillary Clinton, beating her by 1 point. In the same poll, Clinton only beats Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, by 3 points.
LAST WEEK FOR AN ACTIVE AUGUST? - We heard from Organizing for America, Heritage Action and other groups about how August was going to be hot for issue activism. But so far, things have been pretty cool. This would be the last week to make a splash. Gun control is tops on the agenda for OFA and defunding ObamaCare is the focus of former Sen. Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation. Liberals and conservatives have both tried to recreate the energy of the 2009 town halls that foreshadowed an incumbent wipeout in the next year’s midterms. But so far, there’s been nothing close. It’s the last week to get something going, or at least start working up the letter to donors claiming great success and blaming the press for ignoring it.
WHAT THE READERS ARE SAYING -“Baier Tracks and Word from Charles are wonderful!!! Great job!”-- K. Kollmeyer - Irving, Texas, via FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM [Ed. note: Bret and Charles are indispensible to Fox News, and now to Fox News First.]
SALUTING THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE - Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter is set to receive the Medal of Honor at 2:10 pm ET today from President Obama for Carter’s gallantry during a fierce ambush in Afghanistan. Correspondent Dan Springer will share Carter’s heroic story with viewers. “I would never tell any soldier or service member, 'Hey, go out and get the Medal of Honor', because of the amount of pain and loss and tears that has to be shed in order to receive it,” Carter told NPR Morning Edition host Renee Montagne. Read the official narrative from the Army.
FOUND: TOMB OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT? - Daily Mail: “Archaeologists have uncovered what could be the grave of Alexander the Great at a site near ancient Amphipolis…. archaeologists have partly excavated a mound that has yielded a 'very remarkable' marble-faced wall from the late 4th century BC.”
WALLACE WISDOM - “Come to us for the real news: fact-checked, carefully-edited and with some perspective to help you make your own informed opinion.” – “Fox News Sunday” Host Chris Wallace accepting the Radio Television Digital News Association’s Paul White Award, the association’s highest honor.
A-ROD = FRANKENFOOD? -UPI: A New York bodega named after embattled New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez will be getting a name change. Owner Ricardo Rodriguez, [no relation] is apparently fed up of being asked if he is selling genetically modified foods.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.