First Read Flash: Comforter-in-chief, yet again

President Barack Obama comforts an unidentifed woman sitting in the family section at a memorial service for the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting...
President Barack Obama comforts an unidentifed woman sitting in the family section at a memorial service for the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting...
Charles Dharapak/AP

New York Times: “President Obama on Sunday eulogized the 12 victims of the Navy Yard shooting and lamented what he called a ‘creeping resignation’ in America about the inevitability of gun violence….Obama vowed that he would not accept inaction after the latest in a string of mass shootings during his presidency. But the president appeared exasperated with the political system that he leads, admitting that changes in the nation’s gun laws ‘will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington.’ He acknowledged that his previous effort to pass new gun laws had failed, but he did not specifically call for a new political battle, saying change would come only when Americans decide they have had enough.”

Los Angeles Times: “Obama reminded mourners that in his less than five years as president he had grieved with four other communities struck by mass violence: Ft. Hood, Texas; Tucson; Aurora, Colo.; and Newtown, Conn.”

NBC News: “Three large explosions were heard at a shopping mall in Kenya’s capital early Monday as a hostage standoff involving al Qaeda-linked terrorists which left at least 68 people dead entered its third day. The blasts occurred shortly after 6 a.m. ET. Black smoke was also seen billowing from the complex. Heavy bursts of gunfire had been heard early Monday.

NBC News: “ The eyes of the world will be fixed on a six-block patch of New York City this week as dignitaries and envoys gather at United Nations Headquarters for one of the most pivotal General Assembly meetings in recent history. Leaders from nearly 200 member states from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe are slated to convene Monday for a high-stakes conference fraught with equal parts promise and peril. The crisis in Syria casts a large shadow over the plenary, as the U.S. and Russia press for a diplomatic disarmament deal even as Washington and Moscow remain deeply divided over how to make sure President Bashar Assad keeps his end of the bargain.

Roll Call: “Lawmakers have just a week to find out who will blink in the big shutdown showdown over Obamacare, although that’s not the only issue on the agenda. House Republicans will push through a debt ceiling increase tied to an assortment of GOP wish list items including another attempt to delay Obamacare, approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and spending cuts, while Senate Democrats will again try to pass an energy efficiency bill. But those are sidelines to the main event: whether the government will shut down come Oct. 1.”

Los Angeles Times: “With one week left before a possible government shutdown, congressional debate has exposed deep divisions within the Republican Party, pitting tea-party-backed conservatives against their colleagues.”

GQ profiles the man at the center of the shutdown push, Texas freshman Sen. Ted Cruz: “Cruz, 42, arrived in Washington in January as the ultimate conservative purist, a hero to both salt-of-the-earth Tea Partiers and clubby GOP think-tankers, and since then he has come to the reluctant but unavoidable conclusion that he is simply more intelligent, more principled, more right—in both senses of the word—than pretty much everyone else in our nation’s capital.”

Hillary Clinton gave her first post-State Department interview to New York Magazine, published over the weekend: “There’s a weightlessness about Hillary Clinton these days. She’s in midair, launched from the State Department toward … what? For the first time since 1992, unencumbered by the demands of a national political campaign or public office, she is saddled only with expectations about what she’s going to do next. And she is clearly enjoying it…..Relaxing, for a Clinton, especially one who, should she decide to run, is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in 2016, does not seem exactly restful.”

ALABAMA: The New York Times looks at Tuesday’s GOP primary in Alabama’s 1st District to succeed former Rep. Jo Bonner through a larger lens: “But while the Republicans running to represent Alabama’s First Congressional District are in agreement on the core message, their styles vary, in some ways jarringly. And the outcome of Tuesday’s primary, though likely to be a function of turnout here, may provide some hints on how much further the Republican shift to the right might go.”

FLORIDA: Tampa Bay Times: “After months of flirting with another campaign for governor — and trashing likely Democratic front-runner Charlie Crist — Alex Sink has decided to stay on the sidelines…Sink’s decision not to run was widely expected in Florida political circles, as she showed little sign of putting together a campaign and was up front about her ambivalence and her family’s opposition. But until Friday, the former Bank of America leader and former state chief financial officer continued to keep the door open and several times pushed back her deadline for announcing a decision.”

IOWA: Des Moines Register: “Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, 80, said” Friday “that he will run again” in 2016, “which likely means at least one of Iowa’s U.S. Senate seats will remain in Republican hands” The “news was a political bombshell, just as U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s surprise decision to retire in January 2015 caught activists and political operatives off guard.”

National Journal: “Iowa Republicans have a once-in-a-generation shot at capturing an open U.S. Senate seat but first they’ll have to stop fighting among themselves. A nasty and personal civil war has broken within the ranks of the Republican Party of Iowa, replete with charges of mismanagement, backroom conspiracies, and eliminated Facebook friendships. Already, two members of the party’s central committee have called on the GOP chairman to resign. And forces faithful to Republican Gov. Terry Branstad are mobilizing loyalists to take back power next year.”

MARYLAND: NBC4: “U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski is endorsing Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown to be the next governor of Maryland. At a campaign rally Sunday in Silver Spring, Md.„ Mikulski announced her support for Brown, a Democrat, and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman for lieutenant governor.”

NEW YORK: Albany Times Union: “After several months of quiet groundwork, Democrat Sean Eldridge formally announced late Sunday that he will run for Congress next year. The race will be instantly competitive because of Eldridge’s personal wealth: Eldridge married Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes last year, and has already invested $215,000 in his campaign.”

TEXAS: Politico: “The Texas governor’s race is shaping up to be a bloody and expensive contest between a high-profile Democrat who fires up the party and a well-funded, well-established Republican. Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis last week sent the clearest signal yet that she’s eyeing a gubernatorial run, telling supporters in an email blast that she will announce her next steps in early October. Attorney General Greg Abbott is the presumptive GOP nominee and, by all accounts, the clear front-runner in the race to succeed Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

VIRGINIA: The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Democrats Terry McAuliffe was listed in a recent confidential memorandum to prospective investors as GreenTech Automotive’s ‘chairman emeritus.’ The 70-page document includes photographs and references to McAuliffe’s close ties to former president Bill Clinton….The prospectus, along with other documents reviewed by The Post, shows how GreenTech fits into a pattern of investments in which McAuliffe has used government programs, political connections and access to wealthy investors of both parties in pursuit of big profits for himself.”

And a blistering editorial from the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “When it comes to raking together piles of cash, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is without peer. On questions of actual governance, though, his troubling lack of mastery and odd flippancy combine to paint a portrait of a deeply unserious candidate.”

Bristol Herald Courier: “Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office is distancing itself from the staffer who in a series of emails appears to have advised energy company lawyers in their defense of an ongoing lawsuit over natural gas royalties in Southwest Virginia.”

Also from the Post: “Wealthy donors and advocacy groups are using the Virginia governor’s race as a testing ground for next year’s midterm elections and for the 2016 presidential campaign, flooding the state with unprecedented levels of out-of-state spending. Campaign contributions from Virginia residents and local businesses have been swamped by donations from individuals, corporations and interest groups based elsewhere, who are vying to influence the only competitive gubernatorial contest in the country this year.”

First Read Flash: Comforter-in-chief, yet again