First Read Flash: Syria fight moves to Congress

Updated
An image grab taken from a video shows an opposition fighter firing an rocket propelled grenade (RPG) on August 26, 2013 during clashes with regime forces...
An image grab taken from a video shows an opposition fighter firing an rocket propelled grenade (RPG) on August 26, 2013 during clashes with regime forces...
Salah Al-Ashkar/AFP/Getty Images

Washington Post: “The White House appealed Monday to two of Congress’ most powerful interests — protecting Israel and challenging Iran — as President Obama and his aides scrambled to win lawmakers’ support for a resolution authorizing punitive missile strikes in Syria. Obama led the full-throttle Labor Day lobbying campaign by dialing up congressional leaders and huddling for an hour with two Republican hawks, Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who now may prove pivotal to the president’s aims. McCain later gave a qualified endorsement, which cheered the White House.”

NBC News: ‘Secretary of State John Kerry told House Democrats during a Monday conference call that they face a ‘Munich moment’ as they weigh whether to approve striking Syria to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons….The phrase is a reference to the 1938 Munich Pact that ceded control of part of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany – a moment that history has harshly judged as an appeasement of Adolf Hitler that preceded World War II.”

“Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will testify at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday to argue the Obama administration’s case for using military force in Syria,” per NBC’s Kasie Hunt. “A Senate source confirms that Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will them at Tuesday’s hearing.”

New York Times’ Jonathan Martin: “ The Congressional vote on whether to strike Syria will offer the best insight yet on which wing of the Republican Party — the traditional hawks, or a growing bloc of noninterventionists — has the advantage in the fierce internal debates over foreign policy that have been taking place all year….To Republicans concerned about next year’s midterm elections, such a divisive public battle amounts to a distraction. They would prefer to focus on issues that voters say they are most interested in: taxes, spending, Mr. Obama’s health care law.”

Politico: “Another military conflict in the Middle East is the last thing either party wants to be talking about heading into the 2014 midterm. For lawmakers on the ballot next year, the decision whether to authorize a strike against Syria that President Barack Obama has forced on Congress looks like an all-risk, no-reward proposition, campaign strategists from both parties told POLITICO.”

The New York Times takes a look at next week’s Colorado legislative recalls and the money pouring into the state. “Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and the billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad have each donated hundreds of thousands of dollars. The National Rifle Association is buying political advertisements. New York’s junior senator sent a fund-raising e-mail. And the election has attracted news coverage from as far away as Sweden.

ARKANSAS: Talk Business: “Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R) says he will no longer be a candidate for the U.S. Congress, District 4 seat….Darr’s campaign was consumed last week after Matt Campbell with the Blue Hog Report blog reported on discrepancies and expenses in Darr’s campaign finance reports related to campaign debt from his Lt. Governor’s race.”

GEORGIA: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Gov. Nathan Deal is getting a GOP primary challenge from Superintendent John Barge, who enters the race “with a message that the state should sharpen its focus on economic development and substantially increase funding for public education” and says “he wants to make” Deal “work for a second term by forcing a runoff.” And over the weekend, “former state Sen. Connie Stokes became the first Democrat to announce a bid against the sitting governor. And the party tapped a new chairman, DuBose Porter, a former gubernatorial contender, who promises to turn up the heat on Deal.”

ILLINOIS: Chicago Tribune: “State Sen. Kwame Raoul announced Thursday that he won’t seek the Democratic governor nomination, a move that leaves Gov. Pat Quinn and former White House chief of staff Bill Daley as the major contenders in the March 2014 primary. The Hyde Park lawmaker’s decision most immediately benefits Quinn by eliminating the political threat of a popular African-American candidate winning the support of black voters in Chicago and Cook County — a significant voting bloc in statewide Democratic politics.”

IOWA: Democratic State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald won’t run for governor, per the Des Moines Register.

KENTUCKY: National Journal: “Matt Bevin, the Louisville-area businessman running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is new to politics. He’s dismissed by many in the GOP as a glorified gadfly. Still, he’s got something the veteran lawmaker lacks – a thin record that will be difficult for Democrats to pick apart. Indeed, Democrats are hoping to turn the Senate race into a referendum on an unpopular incumbent. But without McConnell on the ticket, the presumed Democratic nominee, Alison Lundergan Grimes, will face a much tougher foe in the fresh-faced Republican, some longtime Bluegrass State political watchers say.”

NEW JERSEY: Politico reports that “Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will visit his sometime rival Chris Christie’s home state of New Jersey next week to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan…Paul, who sparred sharply with Christie this summer over their divergent views on federal surveillance and intelligence-gathering programs, plans to visit Clark, N.J., on Sept. 13 to campaign with Lonegan.”

Newark Star-Ledger: “Just a few short weeks ago, Rep. Frank Pallone and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were battling each other in the Democratic primary to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.” On Saturday, “two weeks after Booker won the nomination, the two men are the closest of allies, with Pallone endorsing Booker’s 2013 run and a potential 2014 run for a full six-year Senate term.”

SAN DIEGO MAYOR: Politico reports that “California Republican Carl DeMaio is ditching his campaign for Congress to run for San Diego mayor, according to a source with direct knowledge of his plans. He is expected to make the formal announcement at a press conference Tuesday morning.” For more on how his move affects the race and the battle for the House, check our our earlier report on the race.

VIRGINIA: Washington Post: “Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s gubernatorial campaign is launching an ad Tuesday highlighting his evolving views on crime and casting the conservative Republican as a compassionate lawman who fought to clear a wrongly convicted man. The ad tells the story of Cuccinelli’s role in the case of Thomas Haynesworth, who spent 27 years in prison for rapes he did not commit. After DNA testing cleared Haynesworth in two sexual assaults, Cuccinelli and two state prosecutors championed Haynesworth’s case, pushing to obtain a “writ of actual innocence” for him even in two cases where no genetic testing was possible. “

WYOMING: Roll Call: “Republican Liz Cheney announced on Friday that she is against gay marriage and accused the National Republican Senatorial Committee of sponsoring a ‘push poll’ against her. ‘I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage,’ Cheney said in a campaign news release. She added that it is an issue that ought to be decided at the state level.” But her sister Mary Cheney, “the openly lesbian daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, posted on Facebook on Friday night that her sister, who is running for the Senate in Wyoming, is ‘dead wrong’ to oppose same-sex marriage,” the Washington Post reports.

First Read Flash: Syria fight moves to Congress

Updated