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Putin shoves back on Syria

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Aug. 26, 2013: Russian President Vladimir Putin heads a meeting in the city of Kemerovo Western Siberia.AP

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Buzz Cut:
Putin shoves back on Syria
• Lew starts debt derby
• Rubio in for Cuccinelli
• New Fox poll: Republican workaholics
• Record-setting birthday

PUTIN PUSHES BACK AS OBAMA EDGES TOWARD SYRIA STRIKE - As America edges closer to a retaliatory strike against Syrian government forces in the wake of a deadly chemical attack, Russia is digging in against international intervention. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been increasingly dismissive of President Obama’s policy demands -- offering asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden and brushing off Obama’s insistence that gay athletes be included in the 2014 Winter Olympics set for Sochi, Russia. Putin’s government agrees that chemical weapons were used in Syria, but not with the U.S. assessment that they were deployed by government forces rather than Islamist rebels. News that the Obama administration scrapped plans to meet with Russian diplomats on Syria options reaffirms the new chill in the already icy U.S.-Russia relationship.

Coalition of the unwilling - Obama has yet to reach out himself to House Speaker John Boehner to secure congressional support for U.S. intervention, but domestic politics are the least of his concern. With U.N. weapons inspectors bogged down, an expected Security Council vote will be further delayed. And with Russia expected to block any strike, will probably be a dead end. The call for a NATO-led attack like the one that helped Libyan Islamists topple their government is also dimming as British Prime Minister David Cameron, faces new pressure to win approval from Parliament before proceeding with any military plan. Cameron talked with Putin late Monday, and his office’s readout of the call showed Putin far from obliging.

“Our concern should be those chemical weapons, preventing them from falling into hands of Hezbollah, that should be guiding our action, not expressing moral outrage from university faculty lounges” -- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on “Hannity”

Obama doctrine on the line - The Navy has four warships ready to strike Syria at a moment’s notice, but the political game looks far from over. Obama’s past promises of extensive dialogue and coalition-building before action create one obstacle, but so too do the other American-backed Islamists in the region. The collapse of Egypt’s government and the rising power of Muslim militias in Libya (as well as the deadly 2012 raid in Benghazi) have led to public frustrations with Obama’s Middle East doctrine. The concurrent collapse in Russian relations adds just one more complication to Obama’s Syria bind.

Editorial agreement on Syria strike- WaPo: “It remains in the United States’ interest now as two years ago to see more moderate forces prevail. This can’t be achieved with one or two volleys of cruise missiles.”// WSJ: “The worst response would be lobbing in a few cruise missiles from a standoff distance.”//NYT: “Presidents should not make a habit of drawing red lines in public, but if they do, they had best follow through.”

Baier Tracks: Understanding Syria… “As the president makes his decision about a strike in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, experts are hoping that whatever it is has strategic importance on the ground and can help turn the tide in that country’s civil war. If you missed “Special Report” last night, watch military analyst Elizabeth O'Bagy explain the composition rebel opposition here. We will have another expert tutorial tonight.” – Bret Baier. [Watch “Special Report with Bret Baier,” 6 p.m. ET.]

UN Aid linked to Assad - Fox News Exclusive: While United Nations inspectors are struggling to reach areas of Syria where the Assad regime allegedly has used chemical weapons, U.N. humanitarian officials are renewing calls for aid to be donated to their domestic Syrian operations, which are run under the close control of the same brutal regime.

LEW SETS DEBT DEADLINE - Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told lawmakers that the federal government is set to exceed its debt limit in mid-October. In a letter, Lew urged Congress to act quickly when it returns to find a way to allow more borrowing. This starts the clock on what are expected to be bitter negotiations between the Republican House and President Obama on debt and spending. By setting the deadline after the start of the federal fiscal year on Oct. 1, however, Lew has increased the chances for a full-year deal on debt, taxes and spending rather than the short-term patches that have characterized the past two years.

[Watch FOX: Fox Business Correspondent Rich Edson looks at the upcoming budget fight and what will happens when the debt limit is reached.]

KEYSTONE PIPELINE DECISION DELAY-Washington Examiner: “The State Department’s decision on the proposed Keystone XL … pipeline is in danger of being bumped to next year, as the agency’s internal watchdog says it needs more time to finish an ongoing investigation of the project.”

CRUZ, PAUL TEAM UP FOR ANTI-OBAMACARE RALLY - Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, plus Mike Lee of Utah,  plan to hold an “Exempt America from ObamaCare” event Sept. 10. The event is being organized by Tea Party Patriots, ForAmerica, and other conservative groups. The Senators have been at the forefront of a campaign to defund the healthcare bill.

“We can't treat ourselves as a separate governing class. We're supposed to be serving the American people.  So I'm going to file legislation when we get back to basically stop that.” - Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” discussing the congressional ObamaCare exemption. 

ObamaCare death spiral? - According to a new study from the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research, nearly 3 million Americans will save $1,000 by forgoing ObamaCare’s exchanges, another 3 million will save close to $500. The study finds such a trend could put the federal program in “a death spiral.”

[Watch FOX : Mark Carter, father Of Medal Of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Ty Carter shares about his son’s remarkable heroism in the 9 a.m. ET hour]

CHAFFETZ WANTS ANSWERS ON ASYLUM REQUEST SPIKE -  Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel reports Rep. Jason Chaffetz R-Utah, wrote Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano concerning potential abuses of the department’s asylum program. In the letter, Chaffetz questions the 400 percent increase in asylum requests from Latin American countries and whether or not they are being coached to falsely seek sanctuary in the U.S..

HOLDER’S BID TO BLOCK SCHOOL VOUCHERS BLASTED - The WSJ editorial board offers harsh criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder for seeking to block a Louisiana plan that would offer school vouchers to minority students on the grounds that it will decrease diversity in underperforming schools: “A black Attorney General ought to be applauding this attempt to fulfill MLK's dream of equal educational opportunity.”

UP IN SMOKE: OBAMA’S PRE-K PLAN - The Daily Caller reports President Obama’s plan to fund universal pre-k education through increased cigarette taxes may not be economically feasible in the long-term, experts estimate, due to decreasing smoking rates.

DEMS WANT TAX ON GUNS, AMMO - Fox News-  The “Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act,” sponsored by William Pascrell, D-N.J., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., would nearly double the current 11 percent tax on handguns, while raising the levy on bullets and cartridges from 11 percent to 50 percent.

BLACK CONSERVATIVE: WE’VE TAKEN A BACK SEAT TO GAYS, IMMIGRANTS - WaPo: At a luncheon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” GOP leaders discussed the struggles currently facing the black community. Bob Woodson, the head of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprises charged that black Americans have taken a back seat to gays and immigrants.

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Juan Williams compares modern day hip-hop culture to the popular culture of 50 years ago when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. From Williams’ WSJ OpEd: “..words celebrating tattooed thugs and sexually indiscriminate women as icons of ‘keeping it real’—is a sad reminder of how long it has been since the world heard the sweet music of the March on Washington.”

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages

Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.0 percent//Disapprove – 50.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.6 percent//Wrong Track – 62 percent 

OFF TO THE RACES
Biden, Cruz to address American Legion -
Vice President Joe Biden will address the 95th American Legion Convention today in Houston, Texas. Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. will address the gathering on Wednesday.

GOP hopefuls to converge for N.Y. fundraiser - Politico: “Six of the Republican Party’s stars and potential 2016 nominees — including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — will jointly headline a fundraiser for the Republican National Committee in New York next month.”

Rubio to stump for Cuccinelli - Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will stump next month for Virginian Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. A campaign spokeswoman told the WaPo that details are still being worked out. Polls show Cuccinelli slightly behind in the November election.

Realtors back McAuliffe - After supporting Republicans in the previous two contests, the Virginia Association of Realtors has endorsed Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor.

Liz Cheney untangles fishing snag - Wyoming Senate hopeful Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and a former State Department official, will appear in court in the Cowboy State today over making a false statement to procure a fishing license. She claimed in-state residency before she was eligible. Officials concluded it was an honest mistake, but the charges have proven fodder for Republicans skeptical of the lifelong Virginian’s sudden adoption of her parents’ native state ahead of announcing her primary challenge of Republican Sen. Mike Enzi.

[Trending today: House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman, Fred Upton R-Mich., outlines the Republican vision and proposals for Health Care Reform on Fox News Opinion.]

REPUBLICAN WORKAHOLICS - A Fox News poll out this morning shows Americans divided on how to deal with work email while on vacation. But one thing is for sure: Getaways aren’t what they used to be. From Fox polling maven Dana Blanton: “Some 18 percent say they check in ‘a few times a week.’ The number touching base with the office at least daily during their vacation is up 10 percentage points from 14 percent in 2005. Republicans (16 percent) are nearly twice as likely as Democrats (9 percent) to check in with their office ‘several times a day.’” See the full poll here.

TALK ABOUT A DOCUMENT DUMP - The U.S government’s Office of Surface Mining has announced that it lost 18,000 documents sought by coal miners as part of a suit to block new federal restrictions on mining. Environment and Energy has the story (subscription only).

RAISE A GLASS FOR GUINNESS - “The Guinness book of World Records” was first published on this date in 1955 by twin editors Norris and Ross McWhirter. It is now the world’s fourth best-selling book. Guinness Brewery Managing Director Sir Hugh Beaver came up with the idea as a promotional tool, one that has settled and spurred an untold number of bar bets since. The Telegraph features some of the more unique editions in 2013, including the world’s youngest drummer and the world’s oldest gymnast.

AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…“Is the biggest issue in African-American life today the voter I.D. law?  Is that going to alter the course of society, black America, the inner cities, the terrible standard in the schools, the breakdown of the family, and all of that?  It's nostalgia of a movement that's intellectually bankrupt.” - Charles Krauthammer, on “Special Report with Bret Baier

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here. To catch Chris live online daily at 11:30 a.m. ET, click here

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.