** 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 **
• Up in arms - Obama didn’t deliver on Syria aid
• Longshoremen put hooks in ObamaCare
• Pakistan nuke worries
• Paul on Christie’s turf
• The Worm re-turns
AFTER DELAY, OBAMA TO STEP UP SYRIA ARMS SHIPMENTS -- The WSJ reports that despite President Obama’s promise to arm Syrian rebel forces after the first use of chemical weapons in that country’s civil war in 2012, no U.S. equipment has reached the Islamist fighters backed by the administration. The reports calls into question the ability of rebels to capitalize on the limited airstrikes against government forces Obama has asked Congress to approve.
McCain says Obama will now send advanced weapons - Fresh from a huddle with Obama, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told The Daily Beast that the president promised to now ship more advanced weapons systems. McCain, a longstanding advocate of U.S. entry in the war, said that despite Obama’s public insistence that American forces would not be used to topple Syria’s government, “For the first time, we have an outline of action that could lead to the removal of Bashar al-Assad.”
[“A vote against that resolution by Congress, I think, would be catastrophic, because it would undermine the credibility of the United States of America and the president of the United States”—Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during a press conference following a 90-minute meeting with President Obama.]
The takeaway - If Obama is indeed escalating U.S. involvement ahead of scheduled congressional votes on his proposed bombing campaign, he may be able to get resistant lawmakers to yield. It’s always more appealing to back the winning team. But Obama will also increase anxiety about the U.S. being drawn into a larger conflict on the side of the Islamists.
SYRIANS BEWILDERED - NYT: “…[A]fter President Obama shocked Syrians by delaying expected American missile strikes, the country remains off balance, with the military still bracing, the rebels still hoping to capitalize on the confusion, civilians increasingly fleeing across the borders and everyone uncertain whether the attack has been called off for good.”
[Watch Fox: Capt. Chuck Nash, retired Navy Captain and FNC military analyst discusses the latest developments in Syria in the 10 a.m. ET hour]
BAIER TRACKS: DELAYED AID UNDERCUTS SYRIA CREDIBILITY…“The President is going to have trouble convincing Congress that he is fully behind the bombing of Syria considering the Wall Street Journal story that the U.S. has not even provided the small arms promised to the rebel forces deemed trustworthy. Remember, this was after Syria crossed the president's ‘red line’ the first time. What the president says matters, and if he is not providing the weapons he said he would, then lawmakers are probably justified to be skeptical about whether he will deliver a forceful response to chemical weapons the second time. It will have to be quite a selling job in coming days to get a ‘yes’ vote.” – Bret Baier.
Syria sales pitch intensifies - President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be meeting with key House and Senate committee heads this morning at the White House. Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State John Kerry are slated to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today.
Kerry evokes Hitler - The Hill: “According to reports, Kerry told 127 Democrats on a 70-minute conference call on Monday that they face a situation reminiscent to the 1938 Munich Pact between Adolf Hitler and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, which was subsequently seen as a failed act of appeasement that preceded the Second World War.”
‘Dove’ Democrats resist - WSJ reports that anti-war House Democrats showed resistance during Monday’s conference call with President Obama’s top-security chiefs. “… [L]awmakers' top two concerns: adding a ban on committing U.S. troops in Syria, and setting an expiration date for the authorization…”
[Watch Fox: Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., discusses why he feels President Obama does not need congressional authorization to strike Syria in the 11a.m. ET hour]
ISRAEL MISSILE LAUNCH - Making its regional presence and preparedness visible, “Israel said it carried out a test of a missile, used as a target in a U.S.-funded anti-missile system, in the Mediterranean on Tuesday,” Reuters reports.
COSTLY POSTURING - A senior U.S. military official familiar with the planning of a possible strike on Syria tells Fox News National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin “posturing is expensive” as costs continue to soar to fuel Air Force carriers in the Mediterranean. The official also warned of growing fatigue in morale for continually having the military in a state of readiness.
Panetta points to sequester - Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta attacks caps on federal spending in today’s WaPo: “U.S. citizens will lose trust in our system of governing, and the world will view the United States as less able to back its word with power.”
BRITAIN SHUT OUT - The Times [of London] reports that British military chiefs are no longer a part of U.S. meetings on Syria after Parliament struck down Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to join the Syrian civil war. “The role of senior British officers based at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, has been downgraded because they cannot be trusted with high-level intelligence about a conflict with which they are no longer involved, military sources say.”
SYRIA CYBER THREATS IGNORED? - Fox News has obtained a half-dozen alerts sent by the FBI, as early as July 29, warning of credible cyber threats, the most recent focuses on the Syrian Electronic Army which the feds say is “compromising high-profile media outlets” in an effort to spread “pro-regime propaganda.” The SEA was blamed for a recent attack on the US Marines website. Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge reports.
[New at Fox News Opinion: Cal Thomas, “Why should any dictator or terrorist fear America?”]
HILLARY STAYS IN SHALLOW WATERS - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to Twitter to congratulate swimmer Diana Nyad, who completed a record-setting swim from Cuba to Florida. In her first tweet since Aug. 19, Clinton remarked “Flying to 112 countries feels like a lot until you consider swimming between 2. Feels like I swim with sharks-but you actually did it! Congrats!”
LONGSHOREMEN PUT HOOKS IN OBAMACARE - Fox News: The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has cut ties with the AFL-CIO, citing in part the union’s support for ObamaCare and immigration reform. “We feel the federation has done a great disservice to the labor movement and all working people,” wrote Robert McEllrath, president of the San Francisco-based ILWU. Chief National Correspondent Jim Angle is looking at how top-notch health plans will suffer under the law.
[Allysia Finley in a WSJ column on a California labor dispute: “Within days a state mediator could impose an unwieldy labor contract that may force … [California family farms] out of business.”]
BOEHNER: TIE DEBT LIMIT TO SPENDING CUTS - House Speaker John Boehner sets his opening bargaining position on the coming debt-limit fight in a USA Today OpEd. The speaker wants to continue the practice of matching more borrowing with limits on spending: “There is no need for market-rattling showdowns or brinksmanship in the discussion this fall. The sooner President Obama starts to work with both parties to solve Washington's spending problem, the better it will be for our economy.”
BIG WORRIES ON PAKISTAN - WaPo, via former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leak on the $52.6 billion intelligence “Black Budget”: “Pakistan appears at the top of charts listing critical U.S. intelligence gaps. It is named as a target of newly formed analytic cells. And fears about the security of its nuclear program are so pervasive that a budget section on containing the spread of illicit weapons divides the world into two categories: Pakistan and everybody else.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Ellen Kampinsky in a Daily Beast piece on how, despite tough economic times, companies are catering to male Millennial employees who want more than the daily grind. “Younger men … are turned off by the soul-killing exhaustion that comes with high-pressure jobs, two-career marriages and workweeks that leave ‘no time for anything but work.”’
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.8 percent//Disapprove – 50.4 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.2 percent//Wrong Track – 62.6 percent
OFF TO THE RACES - Gun-control recall vote goes national - Breitbart reports that high-profile Democrats like DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., are raising money and campaigning for pro-gun-control Democrats targeted in Colorado’s Sept. 10 state senate recall election. They join President Obama’s permanent campaign arm, Organizing for Action, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the fight to protect lawmakers who helped enact the state’s strict gun regulations earlier this year.
Paul on Christie’s turf - Politico: “Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will visit his sometime rival Chris Christie’s home state of New Jersey next week to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan.” [Ed. note: Since Christie’s team has made it clear that the governor won’t be spending his political capital on Lonegan’s long-shot bid against Cory Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, this is a kind of double swat at Christie.]
GOP eyes Filner seat - KSWB reports California Republican, Carl DeMaio, may ditch his bid for Congress and announce today he will be running to replace disgraced former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a Democrat.
THE WORM RE-TURNS - Fox News: Former NBA star Dennis Rodman will return to North Korea today, for a five-day visit. Rodman says he’s not there to negotiate the release of imprisoned American missionary Kenneth Bae.
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…“The problem is not that he's not selling his strategy, it’s that he doesn't have a strategy, and that's the reason everybody left right and center has no idea what he’s doing. ..[H]e calls in the Congress and then he goes off and plays golf, when his Secretary of State had given a speech a day before with remarkable urgency and passion” – “Charles Krauthammer on Special Report with Bret Baier.”
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he serves as the host of "Power Play" on FoxNews.com and makes daily appearances on the network including "America Live with Megyn Kelly," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." Most recently, Stirewalt provided expert political analysis during the 2012 presidential election.