Red line broken. The Obama administration announced Thursday they had determined that Syrian troops, under President Bashar al-Assad, have used chemical weapons against rebel forces in the country's ongoing civil war, resulting in the deaths of as many as 150 people. In response, the White House will begin supplying the rebels for the first time with small arms and ammunition. The shift comes just ahead of next week's G8 summit, and on a conference call with reporters, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said that the "Assad regime should know that its actions have already led us to increase both the scope and scale of the assistance that we're providing to the opposition ... And we will continue to increase these efforts... We will be providing this assessment to Congress, and we will also be consulting with them about our assessments on chemical weapons and our policy response. The President will also be consulting with his G8 partners in the United Kingdom beginning next week."
Just an average girl. Hillary Clinton, just another citizen? Hardly. NBC News looks at the former Secretary of State's re-emergence into public life at the Clinton Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Chicago on Thursday. "[W]ith the world hanging on every tweet, and Republicans already marshaling against her, it's obvious that three years out from the 2016 presidential election, she's anything but another face in a crowded field. It's simply clear there's no one else like her -- and that this time around, she has a personal brand that outshines even her famous ex-president spouse."
Ya gotta have faith. "Four Republican senators – including two who might run for president in 2016 – addressed a gathering of social conservatives on Thursday, touting their pet issues and outlining their goals and accomplishments. But they also urged the activists in attendance not to give up the fight, despite many inside the party calling for change on how the party talks about its values." NBC News has more on Thursday's speeches at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majorit" Conference from Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). The conference continues Friday and this weekend with speeches from former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), RNC Chair Reince Priebus, and others.