First Read Flash: Crisis in Syria

Updated
Syrian activists inspect the bodies of people they say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013.
Syrian activists inspect the bodies of people they say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013.
Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

NBC News: “A draft resolution authorizing “necessary measures” in Syria will be presented to the U.N. Security Council within hours, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Wednesday. The move came as the U.S. and its allies lay the diplomatic groundwork for military strikes, which officials in Washington said could begin as early as Thursday night.”

New York Times: “The leaders of the Arab world on Tuesday blamed the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people last week, but declined to back a retaliatory military strike, leaving President Obama without the broad regional support he had for his last military intervention in the Middle East, in Libya in 2011. While the Obama administration has robust European backing and more muted Arab support for a strike on Syria, the position of the Arab League and the unlikelihood of securing authorization from the United Nations Security Council complicate the legal and diplomatic case for the White House.”

MARCH ON WASHINGTON 

NBC’s Carrie Dann: “As he stands – literally – in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday to commemorate the movement that paved the way to his presidency, President Barack Obama faces the unique challenge of paying tribute to King’s vision without the urgent focus on racial discrimination that motivated the original March on Washington….Obama’s presidency – after five years and two decisive elections – is a self-evident tribute to the realization of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. But his job title also means that he’s charged with separating his own identity from the task of improving the lives of all Americans, creating a balancing act as he prepares to deliver an anticipated address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial marking the anniversary of the march.”

New York Times: “For Mr. Obama, Dr. King has been an idol, role model and burden since he assumed the presidency. He keeps a bust of the civil rights leader in the Oval Office along with a framed program from the 1963 march, and some of his favorite lines have been adopted from Dr. King. But as the nation’s first black president, Mr. Obama has found that no matter how much supporters may want to compare them, he cannot be a latter-day Dr. King.”

CONGRESS

Politico: “Immigration reform advocates have a new enemy: the congressional calendar. Fall’s fiscal fights have lined up in a way that could delay immigration reform until 2014, multiple senior House Republican leadership aides tell POLITICO, imperiling the effort’s prospects before the midterm elections.The mid-October debt ceiling deadline — an earlier-than-expected target laid out Monday by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew — is changing the House GOP leadership’s plans to pass immigration bills that month.

New York Times: “Speaker John A. Boehner says he is gearing up for ’ whale of a fight’ with President Obama over raising the federal debt ceiling, even though Mr. Obama has repeatedly said he has no plans to negotiate with Congressional Republicans over the nation’s debt limit and wants it lifted without a political showdown. At an Idaho fund-raiser on Monday for Representative Mike Simpson, a Republican and a close ally, Mr. Boehner said he planned to use the need to raise the debt ceiling to gain political leverage and demand ‘cuts and reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit.’”

AT THE RACES

ILLINOIS: Chicago Tribune: “Pat Brady, who was forced out as chairman of the state Republican Party after backing gay marriage legislation, said Tuesday he has been retained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois to lobby GOP state legislators to back the bill.”

MICHIGAN: Detroit News: “Gov. Rick Snyder overcame stiff opposition Tuesday from fellow Republicans as the GOP-controlled Senate approved his highest legislative priority — the expansion of Michigan’s Medicaid program. It capped a day of intra-party strife as most Republican senators questioned whether Michigan should expand its involvement with the federal government health insurance program for the poor. The Senate initially voted 19-18 for the proposal, as the abstention of one GOP senator left the legislation one vote short of the number needed for approval.”

SOUTH CAROLINA: Charleston Post & Courier: “The only thing missing from the anti-Lindsey Graham rally was the senator himself. But there was a Graham cardboard cutout for people to get their picture taken with — and to direct their political anger.More than 14 months before the election, some Republicans are making it clear they are not happy with the state’s senior senator, calling him too easy to compromise with the Obama White House. And though their numbers might be small and their event Tuesday night high on theatrics, the dislike for Graham among the 100-plus people at the FreedomWorks town hall rally in North Charleston was apparent. “

Greenville News: “Republicans and Democrats are at odds over how many people showed up at the re-election announcement of Gov. Nikki Haley in Greenville on Monday and what those numbers mean. Haley’s campaign estimates that almost 300 people attended the event outside the BI-LO Center that featured Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, while Democrats argue the number is between 75 and 100.”

VIRGINIA: ABC takes a look at the “complicated legal back story” of GreenTech. “For an upstart electric-car company with big ambitions, its ties to Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe have been both a blessing and a curse. The company, GreenTech, is now front and center in Virginia’s 2013 race for governor, and its critics are raising questions about political favoritism, national-security risks, and the government’s role in foreign investments—unwelcome attention for the struggling firm.”

National Journal: “Down in the polls and outraised by his opponent, Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is increasingly relying on the national party to come to his rescue. In the last two months, the Republican Governors Association has spent $3.6 million on television ads in the state, on top of the $2 million doled out to the campaign earlier this year. Three of the GOP’s biggest stars, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are all expected to campaign for Cuccinelli this fall, with Rubio scheduled to come to Virginia next month.”

Washington Post: “Suzanne Patrick, who served as deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial policy under President George W. Bush, launched her campaign for Virginia’s veteran-heavy 2nd Congressional District on Tuesday. Painting herself as a ‘centrist Democrat,’ the former Navy commander will take on the two-term Republican incumbent, Scott Rigell, next year.”

First Read Flash: Crisis in Syria

Updated