First Read Flash: At the tipping point

Updated
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, about the situation in Syria. Kerry said chemical weapons...
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, about the situation in Syria. Kerry said chemical weapons...
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

NBC News: “The diplomatic push ahead of a possible U.S.-led military strike on Syria intensified Tuesday as the White House prepared to release intelligence evidence alleging the use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad’s military. President Barack Obama held discussions with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and French President Francois Hollande on Monday – the latest in a series of phone calls to allies as the United States lays the groundwork for potential military action.”

Reuters: “Secretary of State John Kerry laid the groundwork on Monday for possible military action against the Syrian government over a chemical weapons attack, implicating President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in a ‘moral obscenity.’ In the most forceful U.S. reaction yet to last week’s gas attack outside Damascus, Kerry said President Barack Obama ‘believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.’

CNBC: “Treasury Secretary Jack Lew pressedCongress on Monday to allow the government to borrow more money, sayingthat it could default on its obligations if lawmakers do not act by mid-October. ‘Congress should act as soon as possible to protect America’s good credit by extending normal borrowing authority well before any risk of default becomes imminent,’ Lew said in a letter to congressional leaders.”

New York Times: “Behind the roiling conversation over whether President Obama might make Janet L. Yellen the first female leader of the Federal Reserve is an uncomfortable reality for the White House: the administration has named no more women to high-level executive branch posts than the Clinton administration did almost two decades ago.”

Washington Post: “A coalition of African American faith leaders is invoking the words of Martin Luther King Jr. as it tries to revive the debate over the nation’s gun laws and calls on Congress to toughen background checks for firearms purchases. In an open letter timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington, leaders of predominantly black congregations across the country wrote that they have an obligation to future generations to ‘sound the clarion call to end gun violence in our communities.’”

VIRGINIA. Richmond Times Dispatch: “Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe has picked up the endorsement of the political arm of the Virginia Association of Realtors, a trade association representing roughly 29,000 Realtors. The group is backing a Democrat for governor after throwing its support behind Republican nominees in the past two governor’s races.”

Washington Post: “Supporters of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell launched a Web site with a testimonial from Virginia’s longest-serving legislator on Monday in a bid to raise money for the governor’s mounting legal bills. Retiring Del. Lacey E. Putney (I-Bedford) e-mailed a letter that was tantamount to a political fundraising pitch on behalf of the term-limited Republican’s legal defense fund. The e-mail directed recipients to a newly created Web site for the ‘Restoration Fund.’”

SOUTH CAROLINA. The State: “In front of a tennis court-sized U.S. flag with Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ blaring on speakers, Gov. Nikki Haley strode onto the stage Monday outside the Bi-Lo Center to announce her 2014 re-election bid. Accompanied by three other Republican governors and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of North Charleston, Haley touted her record of job creation, union fighting, moving welfare recipients to jobs and passing lawsuit reform before hundreds of supporters and a few dozen protesters.” Haley: “If you think what we did in the first 2 1/2 years was great, wait until you see what we do next.”

Greenville News: “They came to offer support to Nikki Haley in her bid for a second term as governor of South Carolina – but unless she’s running against Barack Obama, Govs. Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and Rick Perry sounded like they may have had a larger goal in mind as well on Monday. The three ‘conservative rock stars,’ as they were introduced by state Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore….drew as much applause as Haley did as she made her announcement that she plans to run for re-election.”

NEW JERSEY. The Washington Post takes a look at what a Sen. Cory Booker would look like. “Booker is no stranger to Washington. His parents met here. He was born here. He spent his Christmas breaks from Oxford here. Now a political sensation and media darling with nearly 1.5 million Twitter followers, the 44-year-old seems to have been engineered in a political lab to walk the halls of Congress….He is prepping for the eventual move to the capital with a nightly audio book appointment with ‘This Town,’ the bestseller by New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich that paints an unflattering portrait of official Washington.”

NEW YORK CITY MAYOR. New York Times: ”William C. Thompson Jr. is the sole African-American among the leading candidates for mayor of New York City, and he has long counted on the support of black voters to propel him to victory in a crowded Democratic field. But two weeks from the hotly contested primary election, Mr. Thompson’s campaign is confronting an unexpected challenge: Bill de Blasio, a white candidate, has threatened Mr. Thompson’s support among blacks with his fierce denunciation of the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactics.

SAN DIEGO MAYOR. The San Diego Union Tribune has more on the likely timeline for a special election to replace Bob Filner, which “would be held Nov. 19 under a proposal the City Council will consider at a Wednesday hearing. The election must be held within 90 days of Filner’s resignation, which is scheduled to take effect at 5 p.m. Friday….The council will vote on the special election date at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Several candidates are expected to run although the only high-profile contender to make it official so far is former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who finished third in last year’s mayoral primary. If no one wins a majority of the vote, a runoff election would be held between the top two candidates within 49 days, according to the city charter.”

KENTUCKY. Louisville Courier Journal: “Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky still isn’t disclosing his political plans for 2016 — a run for the White House or a bid for a second term in the Senate? But one thing is clear: His fundraising campaign operation is on overdrive. The freshman Republican senator’s two main committees — Rand Paul for U.S. Senate 2016, and Reinventing a New Direction political action committee (RAND PAC) — raised $1.9 million during the first six months of this year, Federal Election Commission records show.”

ARIZONA. National Review: “Senate Conservatives Fund released a radio ad yesterday blasting GOP Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona for not announcing support for the strategy of defunding Obamacare in the upcoming continuing resolution for the 2014 fiscal year….Flake was endorsed by the Fund in his 2012 senate bid.” Flake shrugged off the ad in a tweet: “Oh, whatever.”

First Read Flash: At the tipping point

Updated