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• Taking the war pitch international
• Obama campaign team selling Syria
• Bubba stumps for ObamaCare
• Bloomberg in for McAuliffe?
• Kanye chills with dictator
OBAMA GOES GLOBAL WITH WAR PITCH - President Obama appears in a joint press conference this morning in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, marking the first time Obama has faced questions since submitting to Congress his request for authorization to attack Syria. While there’s some irony for a president whose most famous previous trip to Scandinavia was to collect a Nobel Peace Prize, he will surely find friends as he meets with Nordic leaders who have joined in U.S. calls for U.N. action against Syria.
Putin unpleasant on purpose - It’s tomorrow when things will get really testy as Obama arrives in St. Petersburg, Russia for a meeting of the G20, ostensibly on economic issues. The summit is taking place on the soil of Syria’s most powerful protector. It also takes place as traditional U.S. allies, like Britain and Germany, are spurning Obama’s pleas for an attack. In an interview with the Associated Press, Russian President Vladimir Putin embraced his role as Obama’s chief international rival. “President Obama hasn't been elected by the American people with the purpose of being pleasant to Russia,” Putin said. “And your humble servant hasn't been elected by the people of Russia to be pleasant to anyone.”
The takeaway - Obama’s Swedish stopover is designed to show the president on the side of liberal humanitarians with his Syria strike plan. Putin will be trying to cast the proposed strike on Russia’s traditional Middle East ally as a re-emergence of Cold War-era proxy conflicts.
OBAMA CAMPAIGN TEAM HUDDLED TO SELL SYRIA - Fox News: Key members of President Obama’s political team, including David Axelrod, Anita Dunn, and Stephanie Cutter gathered at the White House Tuesday to come up with a plan to gain support for attacking Syria, Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry reports.
BAIER TRACKS: BOOTS ON THE GROUND…“The draft resolution being drawn up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee contains this line: ‘The authority granted in section 2 does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Syria for the purpose of combat operations.’ Note the use of the term ‘combat operations.’
The resolution limits the scope and duration of any action the administration would take against Syria. What is interesting is what Secretary of State John Kerry let slip out in testimony Tuesday. He was asked what happens if the cruise missiles DO turn the tide and lead to the Assad regime crumbling? And then what happens if the chemical weapons depots are abandoned and left vulnerable to fall into Al Qaeda's hands? Who would secure those chemical weapons? You get two guesses, and it's not the French. Bottom line: The resolution may pin the hands of the president if something catastrophic occurs. And that’s why the administration STILL faces an uphill battle to get votes on Capitol Hill. While it may not be technically ‘combat operations’ if Special Ops forces are securing chemical weapons from terrorists, it certainly would be ‘boots on the ground.’” – Bret Baier.
OBAMA’S SYRIA LOOPHOLE - The proposed Senate resolution authorizing an attack on Syria says “the President has authority under the Constitution to use force” for U.S. national security, reaffirming a White House talking point that Obama could still act unilaterally. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee could vote today on a resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria for up to 90 days. No action is expected in the House before next week.
“By not acting, by leaking this, by hoping somebody else would support his action, now what he's done is he's really backed America into a corner. He's really backed himself into a corner...”—Sen. Ron Johnson R-Wis., on the president’s Syria policy, “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren”
POLITICS OF WAR - McConnell’s Syria straddle - Roll Call reports Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,. is the only member of congressional leadership to be “on the fence” about launching a punitive strike against Syria.
[Watch FOX: Matt Bevin, challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary, appears on “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt” 11:30 a.m. ET at live.foxnews.com]
Syria strike plans alter Senate races - Washington Examiner: “[T]he policy issue is fast becoming a political one in some of the country’s most competitive Senate races.”
Cotton backs Obama - Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor next year, joins fellow House conservative Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., to make the case for why the GOP should support President Obama on Syria in a WaPo OpEd: “The day the United States fails to act against Assad is likely the day Iran’s supreme leader spins his uranium centrifuges into overdrive.”
[Watch FOX: Sen. John Barrasso , R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee gives a breakdown of the Senate Syria briefings in the 11 a.m. ET hour]
HILLARY BLESSES BOMBING - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has indicated to the White House that she supports President Obama’s effort to enlist Congress’ backing for Syria attacks, Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry reports.
Flashback: Earlier this year, Reuters reported the White House had axed a proposal by Clinton and former CIA Director David Petraeus to provide arms to Syrian rebels. The administration worried the arms could end up in the wrong hands and could ensnare the U.S. into another Mideast conflict.
[Dowd: “It's a bewildering time here. Nancy Pelosi is the hawk urging military action. Britain refuses to be our poodle. The French are being less supercilious and more supportive militarily. Republicans are squeamish about launching an attack. Top generals are going pacifist.”]
POLLS: LITTLE SUPPORT FOR SYRIA STRIKES - Pew: “By a 48% to 29% margin, more Americans oppose than support conducting military airstrikes against Syria … Just 29% of Democrats favor conducting airstrikes against Syria while 48% are opposed. Opinion among independents is similar (29% favor, 50% oppose). Republicans are more divided, with 35% favoring airstrikes and 40% opposed.”
ABC/WaPo: “59 percent in the national survey … oppose U.S. missile strikes, far more than the 36 percent who support them…”
“...The polls are not good and the President of the United States has to go on national television from the Oval Office and explain to the American people what's at stake here because they are war weary.” -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. on “The O’Reilly Factor”
TOP BRASS CONTINUE CONGRESSIONAL SALES PITCH - Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will join Secretary of StateJohn Kerry in a classified hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, while Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, will brief the Senate Armed Services Committee. Kerry, Hagel and Dempsey will also testify at an open hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
[Watch Fox: Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Wis., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee appears in the 10 a.m. ET hour. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee appears in the 12 p.m. ET hour]
AIPAC BACKS OBAMA - The American Israel Public Affairs Committee issued a statement urging Congress to authorize the use of force against the Assad regime. The group’s statement adds, “Simply put, barbarism on a mass scale must not be given a free pass.”
[Watch Fox: Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations appears in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
BUBBA GOES TO BAT FOR OBAMACARE - Former President Bill Clinton is pitching in on the White House effort to sell President Obama’s 2010 health law ahead of the next phase of implementation on Oct. 1. Clinton will make an argument today for the unpopular new entitlement program from his presidential library in Little Rock, Ark.
[Correspondent Shannon Bream reports that the Supreme Court may soon hear arguments related to ObamaCare’s requirement that employers, including some religious organizations, offer coverage for birth control.]
Rubio rips ObamaCare ads - Fox News: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is blasting a proposed $8.7 million government ad campaign to promote ObamaCare. In a letter to Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Rubio wrote “… it is unconscionable to spend taxpayer dollars to promote and advertise ObamaCare plans that have yet to be finalized.”
BENGHAZI BOTCH - An internal report reveals the State Department failed to protect America’s high-risk embassies ahead of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya. Al Jazeera America reports the agency had no matrix for determining problematic posts other than “experience and intuition,” and had no intelligence analyst on staff at the five high-risk facilities. The report confirms that survivors were never debriefed by security officials as to what went wrong.
AL QAEDA DRONE DEFENSE - WaPo details how documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal how Al Qaeda engineers are searching for “…ways to shoot down, jam or remotely hijack U.S. drones, hoping to exploit the technological vulnerabilities of a weapons system that has inflicted huge losses upon the terrorist network.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE... Jonah Goldberg challenges Republicans to have better narratives: “Better Storytellers, Better GOP”: “Many historians will tell you that the secret of Reagan’s political success was his gift for storytelling. By all means, Republicans, be more like Reagan — but don’t tell his stories, tell your own”
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.6 percent//Disapprove – 50.4 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.2 percent//Wrong Track – 62.6 percent
Blasio blasts past 40 percent- A new Quinnipiac poll shows 43 percent of likely voters will support New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in the Big Apple’s Democratic mayoral primary, potentially avoiding a runoff election.
OFF TO THE RACES - McAuliffe seeking Bloomberg’s backing? - Politico reports Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe recently met with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the nation’s leading proponent of gun control. It is not clear whether McAuliffe was seeking an endorsement or financial backing. Observers note a Bloomberg endorsement could actually help Republican Ken Cuccinelli given Virginia’s traditional support for gun rights.
Hollywood lines up against McConnell - Breitbart reports that Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of Dreamworks Animation, is providing every ounce of financial backing he can to Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.
KANYE RAPS FOR DICTATOR - The Daily Caller reports Kanye West is under fire after accepting $3 million to sing for Kazakhstan dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev. Back in 2011, Sting allegedly turned down an offer to perform in the country because of Nazarbayev’s oppressive regime.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The worry that a lot of people have is -- given the bumbling, the hesitation, the zigzags of Obama’s policy up until now, which is entirely incoherent -- Do you trust him to be the one who will respond adequately, wisely, if and when the response happens? …The assumption we do it, we go home, nothing happens could be true, but is unlikely to be true.” – “Charles Krauthammer on Special Report with Bret Baier.” Watch Here