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• Dems in disarray
• Where’s OFA?
• GOP worries on rebels grow
• Miracle Baby
DEMS IN DISARRAY OVER SYRIA
While President Obama is plenty busy in Russia today trying to build international support for his call to strike Syria, he’s been doing some long distance diplomacy back home as members of his own party recoil from his call to arms. Obama called senators to drum up support for military action. The White House has also ditched a scheduled presidential trip to Los Angeles next week in order to keep selling in Washington. Obama heads home today, but Secretary of State John Kerry picks up the ball overseas, departing for Lithuania this morning for coalition building after a series of confrontations with Congress. With Republicans uneasy about the overall strategy, a crumbling Democratic coalition poses problems for the president’s plan.
[Watch Fox: President Obama holds a press conference at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
Start the clock - Obama will arrive in Washington with the clock running on an authorization vote in the Senate set for next week. And while the administration is starting to increase its outreach effort (the White House has launched an Internet site in support), hawks are growing increasingly concerned that Obama cannot deliver his own party at the critical moment. The administration has also enlisted Vice President Joe Biden to make the sale with restive Democrats.
[WaPo is tracking where Congress stands on the issue. The current whip count for authorizing a strike in the Senate: 24 against, 23 in favor, 53 undecided. In the House: 105 against, 24 in favor, 142 undecided.]
“…[W]hip counts are overwhelmingly against already, there's no reason to try to use any procedure. The House doesn't want it, the American people don't want it.” – Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla. talking to reporters after a closed-door briefing on Syria
Congressional Black Caucus head tells members not to discuss Syria - Chairwoman Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, has asked members to “limit public discussion on the issue.” Caucus members seem to so far be obliging.
[WSJ’s Kimberly Strassel: “The press is obsessed with the Republican reaction to Mr. Obama's resolution. But the party facing the biggest split over the vote -- and whose actions will have the greatest ramifications for the presidency -- is Mr. Obama's.]
Moderate Dems call for delay - Sens. Joe Manchin D-W.Va., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., have proposed a resolution delaying the immediate use of force compelling the president to build more international and domestic support. “Given the case that has been presented to me, I believe that a military strike against Syria at this time is the wrong course of action,” Manchin said in a statement.
Obama pushing gay rights in Russia - “[President Obama] is rhetorically waving the gay-rights flag on his visit to Russia,” the Daily Caller reports, “…even as he is working to soften or bypass opposition from Russia’s president to a strike on Syria…[Obama will] take time to meet with Russian gay rights groups.” [Ed. note: It may not play in St. Petersburg, but the president’s gay-rights stand will help with the liberal base at home.]
[Noonan: “A great nation cannot go to war—and that's what a strike on Syria, a sovereign nation, is, an act of war—without some rough unity as to the rightness of the decision. Widespread public opposition is in itself reason not to go forward.]
BAIER TRACKS: ORGANIZING FOR INACTION ON SYRIA…
“It appears the administration is more worried about losing liberals than conservatives on the Syria vote (although initial head counts don't look great on either side). Thursday night, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on Chris Hayes' show on MSNBC making the case. Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, will speak at the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank started by John Podesta.
There are already rumors on Capitol Hill that the administration isn't too fond of the broad language amended into the resolution by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Chris Coons, D-Del., -- so much so that administration officials may try to get that language dropped with further amendments brought up by supporters. Looking at all of that, you could easily come to the conclusion that the administration is making a full-court press to shore up liberal votes, correct?
Well, you could read it that way. But strangely, President Obama’s former campaign, Organizing for Action, is missing in action. The group has been mobilized to defend the president’s health law as well as his tax plans, his proposed immigration overhaul and other agenda items. But on arguably the biggest issue for this president -- one where his second term agenda may hang in the balance -- nada, zilch, zip from OFA.
According to a transcript obtained by Fox News, in his weekly call with grassroots supporters, OFA Executive Director Jon Carson said of Syria, ‘We don't always actively organize around every issue and the debate in Congress over the Syria vote is not one that OFA is planning on organizing around.’
So, if you hear more pundits questioning the administration's commitment to get this vote across the goal line - ‘OFA on the bench’ is one of the reasons why.” – Bret Baier.
REPUBLICANS UNEASY ON REBELS
National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports the Obama administration is considering deploying U.S. military trainers to aid the Syrian rebels, likely at training camps in Jordan. But an official said obstacles exist in vetting trustworthy groups. Griffin also reports that military planners have been asked to revise their plans 50 times since President Obama began considering a “limited” strike.
[Watch Fox: Gen. Salim Idris, chief of staff, Supreme Military Council Syria discusses the war in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
What vetting? - Washington Examiner’s Byron York catalogues growing unease about the radical elements among Syrian rebel forces: “In Washington, use of the word ‘vetting’ is usually confined to unknown political candidates and cabinet nominees. So what is this vetting in Syria everyone is talking about? Is the U.S. government requiring opposition fighters to fill out questionnaires? Show photo ID? Hand over bank statements and tax returns?”
Vote of no confidence - “I am still and always will be in my heart a United States Marine. There is nothing I want more than to support my commander-in-chief when he draws a red line. … But since he drew that line, since [Secretary of State John Kerry] came out, he has done nothing but mess this up, and he has lost my confidence.”—Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” Click here for Gretawire.
[Watch Fox: Rep. Michael Grimm,, R-N.Y, discusses Syria in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
Syria shadows in Virginia race - Virginia Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli announced his opposition to a U.S. strike on Syria. Cuccinelli’s announcement came after Democrat Terry McAuliffe told reporters he does not have a position on whether Congress should authorize strikes.
[New at Fox News Opinion: Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Pete Hoekstra’s We cannot strike Syria with the best of intentions and no long-term strategy]
INTERCEPTED: IRAN’S REVENGE INTENTIONS
WSJ: “The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to Shiite militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria. … U.S. officials said they are on alert for Iran's fleet of small, fast boats in the Persian Gulf, where American warships are positioned. U.S. officials also fear Hezbollah could attack the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.”
[Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen is examining how President Obama’s response to Syria could complicate efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions .]
BBC - 'No decision' in Egypt on dissolving Muslim Brotherhood: “Egypt's government has denied state media reports that it has decided to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood. A social solidarity ministry spokesman was quoted as saying it would revoke the Islamist group's non-governmental organisation status ‘within days.’ But a prime ministerial aide, Sherif Shawki, told the BBC the solidarity minister had not issued any decision.”
[WaPo: “Not just Syria but Egypt requires a ‘shot across the bow’; Mr. Obama should take it before it is too late.”]
FOX NEWS SUNDAY PREVIEW
Chris Wallace will question White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on the administration’s war effort and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., about the growing opposition in Congress. Check local listings for airtimes in your area.
Howard Kurtz’s “MediaBuzz” will launch at 11 a.m. ET Sunday on the Fox News Channel. Kurtz will be talking to media types and commentators about coverage choices, bias and the news about the news. The show will also encourage viewers sound off via Bing Pulse. [Ed. note: Very pleased to be on the first show. Thanks Howie!]
OBAMACARE’S MULTI MILLION DOLLAR AD BUY
Politico reports the administration plans to spend $12 million to promote ObamaCare in states with Republican governors or legislatures. Beginning Sept. 30, the Department of Health and Human Services will begin airing advertisements to promote the health law in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana and Michigan.
NSA SKIRTS ENCRYPTION
WSJ reports how the National Security Agency is bypassing encryption to gain access to global commerce, banking systems, trade secrets, medical records and other sensitive data according to newly disclosed documents.
Americans fear Facebook more than NSA - Breitbart: “According to… [A Pew Poll].. that was released on Thursday, 33% of Internet users ‘wish to avoid hackers, or criminals,’ and 28% want to avoid advertisers. Only 5% ‘reported they wanted to avoid government observation.”’]
JINDAL JABS BACK ON EDUCATION PLAN
Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., has filed a motion to delay Attorney General Eric Holder’s court bid to end Louisiana’s school voucher program. Jindal blasts the administration in a statement, “President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are trying to legally jam the state in an ultimate attempt to force children from low-income families back into failing schools.” In a WaPo OpEd, Jindal writes, “Shame on all of us for standing by and watching generations of children stay in failing schools that may have led them to lives of poverty.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
The WSJ considers the outrage over ObamaCare’s navigators in Navigating ObamaCare Outrage: “All of this outrage is part of the liberal alibi that Republicans are responsible if ObamaCare stumbles. But if the handsomely financed navigators can't spare an hour or two to comply with a congressional investigation, then the law must be in bigger trouble than Democrats care to admit.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.4 percent//Disapprove – 50.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.3 percent//Wrong Track – 62.0 percent
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler , R-Wash., and her husband, Daniel, will share the remarkable story of their daughter, Abigail, today with Correspondent Molly Henneberg. Abigail was diagnosed with Potter’s syndrome, a typically fatal condition, before she was born. The diagnosis often results with doctors recommending abortion. The Beutlers and Abigail’s medical team will share, for the first time, how she continues to beat the odds.
On this date in 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s 56-year-old record for most consecutive games played. Ripken would go on to beat Gehrig’s total by another 532 games. Ripen retired in 1998 after 2,632 consecutive games played for the Baltimore Orioles. At six feet, four inches, Ripken remains the tallest short-stop in Major League history.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“So we have to make a determination: Do we have a preference among the combatants in Syria? Where is the national interest? And the speech by [Samantha Power] our ambassador at the U.N., was a nice speech, you know, that you give in a debating society. But unfortunately the world is a tough place, and we have to make a decision not in decrying the heartlessness of the rest of the world.” – Charles Krauthammer, on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here
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.