First Read Flash: The coming strike?

Updated
United Nations chemical weapons experts, escorted by Free Syrian Army fighters, meet with residents at one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack...
United Nations chemical weapons experts, escorted by Free Syrian Army fighters, meet with residents at one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack...
Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

Syria: Making the case

New York Times: “The evidence of a massacre is undeniable: the bodies of the dead lined up on hospital floors, those of the living convulsing and writhing in pain and a declaration from a respected international aid group that thousands of Syrians were gassed with chemical weapons last week…..And yet the White House faces steep hurdles as it prepares to make the most important public intelligence presentation since February 2003, when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell made a dramatic and detailed case for war to the United Nations Security Council using intelligence — later discredited — about Iraq’s weapons programs.”

NBC’s Michael O’Brien & Tom Curry: “A growing minority of lawmakers in both parties are demanding that President Barack Obama seek approval from Congress before launching an attack against Syria. Most senior leaders in Congress appear content with the administration’s efforts to keep lawmakers abreast of what appears to be a fast-approaching military response to Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against opponents in that country’s protracted civil war.  But ahead of any possible military action, a chorus of voices is calling for at least a Congressional debate, if not an explicit vote authorizing the use of force.”

New York Times: “Lawmakers stepped up their call on Wednesday for President Obama to consult with Congress before ordering a military strike on Syria, with more than 100 House members signing a letter pressing the president to seek a vote before taking action.”

March on Washington: Republicans pass on invites

MBNSC: “President Barack Obama marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington by honoring the work not just of the civil rights leader, but of the everyday footsoldiers who fought for their rights. ‘Because they kept marching, America changed,’ Obama said Wednesday at the Lincoln Memorial where King had delivered his speech. ‘Because they marched, the city councils changed, and state legislatures changed, and Congress changed, and, yes, eventually the White House changed.’ The president went on to say that this generation of Americans owed a debt to the porters, maids, and secretaries who ‘kept on keeping on’ for equal rights.’”

Roll Call: “Speaker John A. Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the House’s two most senior Republicans, were invited to speak at the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington — but declined….According to Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel, the Ohio Republican ‘was invited, but spoke at the Congressional ceremony instead, as did Sens. Reid and McConnell, and Rep. Pelosi.’”

Congress: RSC kicks out Heritage

National Journal: “According to several sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the Republican Study Committee—a group of 172 conservative House members—has barred Heritage Foundation employees from attending its weekly meeting in the Capitol. The conservative think tank has been a presence at RSC meetings for decades and enjoys a close working relationship with the committee and its members. But that relationship is now stretched thin, sources say, due to a series of policy disputes that culminated with a blowup over last month’s vote on the the farm bill.”

Politico: “Women’s groups are intensifying their opposition to the possible nomination of Larry Summers to lead the Federal Reserve in an effort to pressure President Barack Obama to choose Janet Yellen for the job. If that doesn’t work, they hope to set the stage for a tense confirmation battle this fall that would put many Democratic senators in the uncomfortable position of facing political heat from a usually friendly part of their base.”

At the Races: Could de Blasio avoid a runoff?

ARKANSAS: The Hill: “Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) won’t attend President Clinton’s speech on ObamaCare in his home state, a sign of how problematic the law is for the embattled senator. ‘Sen. Pryor has a previously scheduled engagement out of town that day, so he won’t be able to attend the event at the Clinton Presidential Library,’ Pryor campaign spokeswoman Amy Schlesing tells The Hill via email.”

HAWAII: Politico:A GOP operative traveled to Hawaii this spring in an effort to make the Senate race there competitive….National Republicans hope to capitalize on a Democratic primary between freshman Sen. Brian Schatz — who was appointed in December to replace the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye — and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.”

NEW JERSEY: Newark Star-Ledger: “ The controversial “Stronger Than the Storm” commercials featuring Gov. Chris Christie are apparently set to stop airing…Democrats blasted Christie for appearing in the ad campaign — funded with federal disaster money — during his re-election bid, saying it unfairly gives him more media exposure.”

NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Reuters: “Public advocate Bill de Blasio has taken a strong lead among Democrats in the race to be New York City’s next mayor, just two weeks before the September 10 Democratic primary, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday. De Blasio has the backing of 36 percent of likely voters - just shy of the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff - the poll found. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has dominated the race for much of the campaign, is next with 21 percent, while former City Comptroller William Thompson, who lost to Mayor Michael Bloomberg four years ago, is a close third with 20 percent.”

VIRGINIA: The Washington Post dives into Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s “relationship with the fathers’ rights movement, a loose national network of activists who think the legal system is stacked against men in divorce and custody cases. As a state senator, Cuccinelli introduced legislation on divorce law backed by national fathers’ rights groups, which have urged members to get out the vote for him. Cuccinelli’s support for aspects of the groups’ agenda illustrates how his personal and religious views have helped shape his political career and continue to affect it as he runs for governor against businessman Terry McAuliffe (D).”

WISCONSIN: AP: “The Wisconsin Democratic Party’s chairman threw his support behind former Trek executive and potential gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke on Wednesday, saying she would be the clear front-runner in a party primary. Burke, Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout all are mulling whether to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker next year…Many see Burke as the most viable candidate because she can use her personal wealth to fuel her campaign and combat Walker’s fundraising prowess.”

First Read Flash: The coming strike?

Updated