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• Putin: Obama = Bush
• Fretting details in Geneva
• ObamaCare delays by the numbers
• ‘Thousands of organic, grass-fed bombs…’
PUTIN: OBAMA = BUSH - Russian President Vladimir Putin returns to the Soviet-era playbook with an appeal to American liberals on foreign policy in the New York Times today. The 21st century update? A riff on the Iraq war so despised by President Obama’s base: “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us.’”
White House says Putin owns Syria solution - A senior White House official tells Fox News: “President Putin has invested his credibility in transferring Assad's chemical weapons to international control, and ultimately destroying them. The world will note whether Russia can follow through on that commitment.”
Comrade Vlad lectures Obama -“I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.’ It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
The takeaway - As Russia pumps up its clout in the Middle East and Putin takes to publicly scolding the American president, Moscow’s lifeline to Obama will look less attractive. Putin’s plan appeals to the White House because it gets Obama out of a domestic political jam of his own making, but will the deal be worth eating this much borscht? With no chance of getting a war resolution through Congress, Obama may not have any choice.
Chemical weapons “declaration” an early test of credibility - Talks begin today in Geneva between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. At issue: the details of a Russian plan to secure Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen, traveling with Kerry, reports from Switzerland that senior U.S. officials will be watching closely as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime reveals details on its weapons programs. The completeness of the inventory will be an early indication of how serious Assad is about complying.
Devil in the details - Rosen reports that Kerry and Lavrov “…will be joined by teams of technical experts whose goal will be to assess swiftly whether the Russians can present a credible and verifiable plan for bringing the Syrian chemical weapons program under international monitoring and control.”
UN report to blame Assad, but ‘no game changer’ - Foreign Policy: “U.N. inspectors have collected a ‘wealth’ of evidence on the use of nerve agents that points to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons against his own people, according to a senior Western official. Today’s report will not directly accuse Assad but is expected to provide a strong circumstantial case that links him to an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack.”
Baier Tracks: A long way to get there… “With now so much riding on the ‘escape hatch’ offered in the Russian proposal – despite open speculation that the U.S. is being played – now it's again up to Secretary of State John Kerry to deliver. Kerry, in Geneva today for negotiations, seems to be in the spotlight on Syria almost more than the president.
An aside - Thanks to the hardworking Amtrak crews who fixed the track and got my train moving. I can't say that the seven-and-a-half-hour trip from D.C. to New York was enjoyable, but I got there and was in the chair at 6 p.m.” – Bret Baier.
[Watch Fox: Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee discusses Russia’s Syria proposal in the 11 a.m. ET hour]
Escalating anyway - WaPo: “The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria … promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear.”
[Watch Fox: Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee discusses Syria in the 9 a.m. ET hour.]
Kerry’s Syria source bounced over padded resume - Elizabeth O'Bagy, who wrote a WSJ editorial that Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., cited as evidence that the Syrian opposition had not been heavily infiltrated by al Qaeda, lost her post Wednesday at the Institute for the Study of War for lying about holding a doctorate from Georgetown University. O’Bagy, who made a media circuit that included Fox News, was a staunch proponent of U.S. strikes. She was previously found to have failed to disclose her ties to Syrian rebel groups.
[Michael Gerson - In full retreat on Syria: “… the president prefers to address a single problem he regards as solvable instead of presenting and defending a regional strategy. He wants to improve his prospects by narrowing his focus. Foreign policy challenges can't be chosen in this way.”]
White House huddle with freshman Republicans - An administration official says a group of freshman Republicans has been invited to the White House to meet with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough this afternoon.
[New Today on Fox News Opinion - Cal Thomas: America, we've been played on Syria ]
Dem on Dem on Dem violence - Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz offered a curt response to former President Jimmy Carter’s opposition to President Obama’s call for air strikes in Syria. The Florida congresswoman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “I think President Carter speaks from experience about diminished stature in an international crisis.”
CAMPAIGN CARL CAMERON: IS IT REALLY TIME FOR ANOTHER RECESS?“Will the meltdown on the budget and confusion over Syria policy make it impossible for lawmakers to do anything more complicated than naming a bridges and libraries until next year's midterms?
At this point, immigration reform feels forgotten. Government funds run out in 18 days; the House put off a stopgap funding vote this week; the automatic sequester spending reductions are supposed to go from $85 billion to over $100 billion next year, but nobody’s talking about it. Uncle Sam hits the debt limit and must borrow billions more next month. But Dems won't negotiate. And, oh yeah, Dems want to re-legislate the Voting Rights Act.
None of it is moving, but the House is taking the last week of September off and both chambers plan a one-week break in October. They shouldn't count on it. But we shouldn't expect much if they stick around, either.” – Carl Cameron
LOOMING BUDGET BATTLES - Party leaders square off - Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi meet today to discuss ways to avoid a government shutdown as a mid-October deadline for a debt-limit hike approaches.
McConnell’s maneuvers for ObamaCare delay - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., filed an amendment Wednesday that would delay ObamaCare’s individual mandate for a year, as well as reinforcing the White House’s one-year delay of the employer mandate. McConnell tacked the plan to a Democratic measure on energy efficiency. McConnell will take to the floor this morning to discuss the amendment.
Cruz rips Cantor’s ‘procedural chicanery’ - TheDaily Caller reports on the plan by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for “…trading the end of sequester cuts and a debt ceiling raise in exchange for a one year delay of Obamacare ... Sen. Ted Cruz… called it ‘procedural chicanery.’”
Sauerkraut! White House cancels congressional picnic again - The White House has again cancelled a picnic for members of Congress and their families, originally scheduled for June, according to a White House memo to members.
OBAMACARE DELAYS, BY THE NUMBERS -President Obama has signed 14 laws that amend, rescind or change parts of ObamaCare, and taken five independent steps to delay its implementation, according to a new report from the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service.
ObamaCare rules for Hill staff may be delayed - The White House Office of Personal Management released a memo to Hill staffers warning, “… it will not be possible to confirm plan options, costs, benefits, or which House staff will be affected until OPM issues final regulations, which could very well be after the exchanges have already opened.”
AFL-CIO makes its ObamaCare demand - Washington Examiner: The nation’s largest labor union, the AFL-CIO, approved a resolution calling for major changes to ObamaCare: “[The Affordable Care Act] should be administered in a manner that preserves the high-quality health coverage multi-employer plans have provided to union families for decades and, if this is not possible, we will demand [the law] be amended by Congress.”
Two Buck Chuck[ed] - Fox Business looks at how employers like Trader Joe’s are shedding employee hours and coverage ahead of the next phase of ObamaCare implementation. Read it here.
SILVER SPANKS PPP - StatisticianNate Silver, who crunches numbers for Disney properties ESPN and ABC News, blasted Democratic survey firm Public Policy Polling over its decision to not release polling results for the Colorado state senate recall election that showed Democrats trailing. The polls turned out to be predictive, but PPP defended withholding the results that might have further harmed Democratic fortunes, citing polling anomalies. Silver tweeted: “VERY bad and unscientific practice for @ppppolls to suppress a polling result they didn't believe/didn't like.” PPP shot back “Not releasing a poll we never announced we were conducting is not ‘putting our finger on the scale.’”
CHICAGO TANGLED UP ON GUNS - Chicago Sun-Times: “The City Council moved Wednesday to both comply with — and undermine Illinois’ new concealed carry law. The end-run around concealed carry came when aldermen imposed a requirement that Chicago restaurants that serve liquor ban firearms or lose their city licenses.”
EXCLUSIVE - PERRY TARGETS TAXES IN MARYLAND - Texas Gov. Rick Perry is taking aim at business in Maryland, one of the most heavily taxed states in the nation, in his bid to lure employers to low-tax Texas. Governor Martin O’Malley and his rain tax are just the latest in his job poaching campaign: California, New York, Connecticut, Illinois and Missouri were already targeted. Thirty-second ads are rolling out on cable, broadcast and radio for Baltimore and Washington. Maryland Democrats are not amused.
The TV script - “When you grow tired of Maryland taxes squeezing every dime out of your business - think Texas. Where we’ve created more jobs than all other states combined. Where you’ll find limited government, low taxes and a fair legal system. That’s why Forbes Magazine says Texas is home to 7 out of the 10 top cities in America to do business. Maybe it’s time to move your business to Texas. Visit TexasWideOpenForBusiness.com and learn why more businesses are moving to Texas.”
Radio spots call out O’Malley - Perry makes it personal with Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley: “Unfortunately your governor has made Maryland the ‘Tax and Fee State,’ where businesses and families are paying some of the highest taxes in America. Since taking office in 2007, he’s approved 40 new and increased taxes and fees, projected to cost you $9.5 billion through 2014. That’s a job killer. He’s even passed a rain tax on some property - a tax even New York doesn’t have.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...National Review’s Kevin Williamson considers how tax policies could cause France to lose its top sports stars and how New York could suffer a similar fate if Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is elected mayor, as expected: “It is indicative of the times in which we live that it takes the possible loss of sports stars to make France see that, and that nothing seems likely to sober up New York’s would-be class warriors.”
POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.6 percent//Disapprove – 51.0 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 28.0 percent//Wrong Track – 60.8 percent
HILLARY’S HELPERS IN HOT WATER - Troy White, a New York marketing executive, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, when he received $608,000 from D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson. From the WaPo: “[White launched an] …independent effort to reach urban voters on behalf of Clinton in Texas and at least three other states during the 2008 Democratic primaries.” Thompson, a longtime Clinton donor, has not been charged but he remains the focus of a grand jury investigation of Washington Mayor Vincent Gray’s campaign finances.
FIRST LADY HUNTS WEST COAST CASH - First lady Michelle Obama will join House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Oct. 13 in San Francisco to raise money for the Democratic National Committee, according to the LAT.
CUCCINELLI MAY AIR IT OUT - Politico reports that Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is considering airing 30-minute advertisements in the weeks leading up to the commonwealth’s Nov. 5 election.
THOUSANDS OF ORGANIC, GRASS-FED BOMBS…Chicago-based comedy group Second City is winning the Internet this week with an OFA spoof video urging Americans to join a Kickstarter campaign to help President Obama attack Syria. In the video, the group calls itself, “The Americans for Whatever Barack Obama Wants… Did You Know He's Friends With Jay-Z?”