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First Read Flash: Selling Syria

NBC News: "Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Tuesday they reached an agreement on a draft resolution to use military force in Syria,
Kerry, Hagel hearing on Syria- Aliyah Frumin - 09/3/2013
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel listens while US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on...

NBC News: "Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Tuesday they reached an agreement on a draft resolution to use military force in Syria, setting a 60-day deadline, with one 30-day extension possible for the intervention -- while also barring the involvement of ground forces in the conflict....The draft could be voted on by the panel on Wednesday. If approved, it would be sent to the full Senate for a vote once members return from recess on Sept. 9."

Washington Post: "President Obama has turned the question of whether to strike Syria into an extraordinary national sales job — seeking to convince skeptics in Congress and among the public that military action would be worth the risk. It does not seem to be selling well. That’s the takeaway from the most recent national polling and the response from voters nationwide."

Politico: "Secretary of State John Kerry was forced Tuesday to repeatedly stress that U.S. troops will not be sent to the ground in Syria after an early comment that appeared to leave that option on the table. The Obama administration has tried to assure lawmakers and the public that any mission responding to the Syrian regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons would not involve U.S. ground troops. But when asked whether the administration would accept such a ban in a revised authorization resolution, Kerry replied that it would be 'preferable not to.'"

New York Times: "President Obama won the support on Tuesday of Republican and Democratic leaders in the House for an attack on Syria, giving him a foundation to win broader approval for military action from a Congress that still harbors deep reservations. Speaker John A. Boehner, who with other Congressional leaders met Mr. Obama in the Oval Office, said afterward that he would “support the president’s call to action,” an endorsement quickly echoed by the House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia."

NBC's Carrie Dann notes that "the ongoing debate over congressional authorization for military intervention in Syria has produced an unusual and vocal coalition of Republican non-interventionists, liberal doves, war-weary rank-and-file lawmakers and mission skeptics who contend that any involvement in another country’s civil war is a no-win proposition" and breaks down the "different voices of the opposition."

AP: "As Democrats try to curtail GOP dominance in the South, the party's top recruits for 2014 elections are trying to sell themselves as problem solvers above Washington's partisan gridlock. They're casting the Republicans' anti-government mantra and emphasis on social issues like abortion and gay marriage as ideological obstacles to progress on 'bread-and-butter' issues like public education, infrastructure and health care."

CALIFORNIA: Sacramento Bee: "Former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose said Tuesday he plans to challenge freshman Democrat Ami Bera in the 7th Congressional District. The Sacramento Republican, who lost a primary bid three years ago after stepping aside from Congress in 2005, formally announced his campaign as a guest on the afternoon 'John McGinness Show' on KFBK (1530 AM) in Sacramento."

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the state's class of 14 freshmen and who "have been active and outspoken for newcomers -- but partisan gridlock means they've made few legislative marks."

DETROIT MAYOR: Detroit News: "The Board of State Canvassers unanimously voted Tuesday to certify Detroit’s primary election results and declare former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan the top vote-getter in the Aug. 6 contest....The state’s tally shows Duggan with 48,716 votes or 51.7 percent of the vote to Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon’s 28,391 votes or 30.1 percent." 

GEORGIA: "It wasn’t the best way for Superintendent John Barge to kick off his" primary campaign against Gov. Nathan Deal. "Shortly before he rolled out his campaign at Smyrna’s City Hall," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution "noticed that his team had misspelled a pretty crucial word on his website: Governor."

KENTUCKY: Politico: "Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes will tap the Hollywood money well later this month with the help of entertainment industry power broker Jeffrey Katzenberg...In a message to undisclosed recipients, Katzenberg, the DreamWorks executive and prominent Democratic political donor, urged his allies to turn out to support Grimes at events in Los Angeles on Sept. 26."

The Hill:  "Grimes, fighting to topple Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), is pressing her opponent to get specific on major issues, including US military action in Syria — but she is studiously vague on her own views. The Kentucky Democrat was known as the “closer” in mock trials at law school, but in the toughest case of her political career, she is displaying more caution than killer instinct."

MONTANA: The clearest sign yet that at-large GOP Rep. Steve Daines is moving toward a Senate bid -- Roll Call reports that former state Sen. Corey Stapleton is dropping down to the House race, clearing the field for Daines.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: WMUR's James Pindell: Former Rep. and current State Senate President Jeb Bradley won't "run for statewide office in 2014, a significant blow to state Republicans who nearly took it for granted that Bradley would run for either governor or U.S. Senate next year. Bradley said there have been some new health issues among family members and he will focus his attention there instead of running for major office."

NEW JERSEY: Bergen County Record: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie "will participate in the state’s public financing program for the general election, his campaign announced Tuesday. The move means Christie, who has traveled the country raising money for his re-election bid, can spend the remainder of the campaign reaching out to voters in New Jersey and raising money for other Republican candidates."

AP: "Christie is headlining three fundraisers in Texas for the RNC on Sept. 9. Organizers say the events include a breakfast in Dallas, a luncheon in San Antonio and a reception in Houston. Christie is a longtime fan of the Dallas Cowboys and plans to attend the Cowboys' home opener on Sept. 8 with Ray Washburne, a Dallas businessman and the RNC's finance chairman. The Cowboys kick off against the New York Giants, who play in Christie's home state."

NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: NBC New York: "If Bill de Blasio felt like he was the victim of a wrestling-style tag team in last month’s mayoral debate, Tuesday night must have felt like a battle royale.  De Blasio, the city's public advocate and the Democratic primary's latest front-runner, blocked and dodged attacks from all four of his opponents, a likely prelude to the campaign's final days."

And a new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows de Blasio could top the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff, at 43% in the latest poll. Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson is at 20%, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn takes 18% and former Rep. Anthony Weiner has 7%.

SAN DIEGO MAYOR: Washington Post: "In a victory for House Republicans’ campaign arm, former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio (R) will not run for mayor, he announced Tuesday, opting instead to continue his campaign to unseat Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), a top GOP target."

And the San Diego Tribune notes that with DeMaio's exit, Republican county Supervisor Ron Roberts and interim mayor Todd Gloria also announced "in rapid fire succession" they wouldn't run in the Nov. 19 special election to replace Bob Filner, "thinning the field and putting the focus on two major contenders — Republican City Councilman Kevin Faulconer and Democrat Nathan Fletcher."

SOUTH CAROLINA: The State notes that Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and her Democratic challenger, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, "both think marriage 'is between a man and a woman,' beliefs unaltered by a federal lawsuit filed by a gay couple challenging the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage."

VIRGINIA: "Democratic Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe recently met with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an effort to get support from the billionaire politician, two sources familiar with the meeting told POLITICO. The pair met in New York a week-and-a-half ago, according to the sources. Aides to McAuliffe declined comment, and a Bloomberg spokesman did not respond to an email asking about the meeting."

What's happened to controversial GOP lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson? Turns out that it's not just Virginia Republicans who "Have been keeping their distance," but "the feeling was mutual" with Jackson "taking his own steps to keep the Republican Party at arm’s length." The Washington Post: "The Chesapeake pastor has rebuffed the party’s suggestion that he tone down his rhetoric and steer clear of hot-button issues — much to the delight of his grassroots supporters, the frustration of some GOP loyalists and the surprise of almost no one. More unexpectedly, Jackson has refused the party’s nuts-and-bolts logistical help, choosing not to tap into resources that include the GOP’s trove of voter data and more than 40 field offices around the state, according to four Republican operatives."