U.S. Moves Closer to Syria Strikes; Debt Default Looms in Oct.; Haley Declares Reelection Bid

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  • Pres. Obama "is weighing a military strike against Syria that would be of limited scope and duration, designed to serve as punishment for Syria's use of chemical weapons and as a deterrent, while keeping the United States out of deeper involvement in that country's civil war," according to senior admin. officials (Washington Post). A strike could come "within days, according to sources who attended a meeting" between Western envoys and the Syrian opposition in Istanbul (Reuters).

  • In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Treas. Sec. Jacob Lew on Monday projected that Treasury's "extraordinary measures" currently being undertaken to avoid default on the nation's debt will be "exhausted in the middle of October" (National Journal).

  • NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D) released a new TV ad Monday, highlighting endorsements from the New York Times, Daily News and New York Post in the 9/10 NYC mayoral Dem primary (release).

  • In VA GOV '13, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY "are all planning stops" in VA to support AG Ken Cuccinelli (R) (TheRun2016.com).

  • A U.S. district judge "has agreed to" move next year's GA primaries to 5/20, and officials expect "higher turnouts" as a result. The race "most immediately affected by the decision is likely" GA SEN, "which includes five high-profile candidates" among seven GOP challengers "who are likely to split a primary vote and face an extended runoff race" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

  • Senate Conservatives Fund "is launching a radio ad" in KY "challenging" Senate Min. Leader Mitch McConnell (R) for refusing to lead the fight to defund the '10 health care law. From the ad: "The Obamacare bill stinks, and holding your nose won't make it any better" (AP).

  • "In front of a tennis court-sized U.S. flag with Tom Petty's 'American Girl' blaring on speakers" and flanked by LA Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), TX Gov. Rick Perry (R) and WI Gov. Scott Walker (R), SC Gov. Nikki Haley (R) "strode onto the stage Monday outside the Bi-Lo Center" in Greenville, SC, to announce her reelection bid (Columbia State).

  • Boehner appeared at a fundraising lunch for Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) in Boise on Monday, at which Simpson, who is being challenged in a GOP primary, raised "more than" $95K (Idaho Statesman).

  • Ex-Baucus state dir. John Lewis (D) "has filed paperwork to run" for MT-AL, though he "had also been viewed as potential candidate" for MT SEN (Washington Post).

  • Omaha City Council Pres. Pete Festersen (D), who "had been considered" one of the Dems' "hottest prospects" in NE-02, announced Monday he wouldn't run against Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) (Omaha World-Herald).

  • SCF also "released a radio ad" on Sunday "blasting" Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) "for not announcing support for the strategy of defunding" the '10 health care law "in the upcoming continuing resolution." Flake, who isn't up until '18, "shrugged off the criticism" with a tweet: "Oh, whatever..." (National Review).


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day

• Obama is preparing for limited airstrikes against Syria, but don't expect him to receive widespread Cong. support. Congress has taken an isolationist turn since Bush's presidency. One illustration: Rep. Chris Gibson, a GOP Iraq war veteran in a swing NY district, is among the more outspoken Syria doves. And he's not from the Rand Paul wing of the party.

• The NRSC got a bit of good news after a district judge officially moved GA's primary to May 20. Moving it up from the summer means there will be a larger, less conservative electorate. It makes the path to the runoff harder for Paul Broun, the least electable Republican.

• In calmer years past, the $95K that Boehner raised for Simpson would have represented an average haul for the whole quarter. That's no longer the case for Simpson, who's stepped up fundraising ahead of a primary battle with Bryan Smith (R) and the Club for Growth.

• You'd be forgiven for thinking Haley's reelection announcement had more to do with nat'l politics than a GOV race. Haley's approval ratings in SC aren't great, but Monday's event with Walker, Jindal and Perry was a big clue that she'll be focusing on Obama more than Vincent Sheheen. Hey, it worked for Mark Sanford.



  • "The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity" -- Sec/State John Kerry, on Syria (New York Times).

  • "Supporters" of VA Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) on Monday "launched a Web site with a testimonial" from Del. Lacey Putney (I), the commonwealth's "longest-serving legislator," in "a bid to raise money" for McDonnell's "mounting legal bills" (Washington Post).

  • The MI state Senate could vote Tuesday "on whether to approve a plan that would provide health care insurance coverage to an additional" 470K low-income Michiganders by expanding Medicaid. "The vote will ultimately come down to whether" GOPers "can muster the additional seven or eight votes needed to pass the legislation," favored by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) (Detroit Free Press).

  • TX Dept. of Public Safety "documents show troopers seized no jars of urine or feces from Capitol visitors the day of debate of controversial abortion bill" last month (AP).

  • "Who you calling an idiot, fatso?" -- The "wood" of Tuesday's New York Daily News, one day after NJ Gov. Chris Christie (R) called the Daily News Jets beat writer Manish Mehta "a complete idiot."

  • Ex-OH Gov. John Gilligan (D), the father of HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius "whose creation of the state income tax was his most lasting accomplishment and also the undoing of his political career, died Monday" at the age of 92 (AP).

  • "Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven't signed up for that yet?. ... And people who think I'm gay, some part of me thinks it's wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I'm gay, and I say, 'So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I'm straight'" -- Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), discussing bachelorhood (Washington Post).

  • A federal judge in Sacramento on Monday "allowed the release" of Gerald Ford's videotaped testimony in the trial of attempted assassin/Manson Family member Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme (Sacramento Bee).

  • Items discovered last Friday in "an ornately decored safe" in the MA state House "the size of a small car" included "Confederate money from 1864; a weathered ledgerbook, dated 1896-1899, outlining pay for 'Massachusetts volunteer militia service in Spanish-American War'; World War I savings bonds; boxes of old checkbooks; and metal stamps with the engraved signatures of former treasurers," including ex-Gov. Foster Furcolo (D). Reporters were "not allowed inside" as "two professional safecrackers" opened the vault because "no one wanted to disclose too many details of how to crack a safe" (Boston Globe).

  • Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter "said he could be interested in buying the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune for the right price (Reuters).


  • Charles Carroll "of Carrolton" was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence.

  • The winner is Mike Amery, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "What was the tallest manmade structure in the world in 1920?" The 5th correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"People are always trying to draw simplistic dialectics that can capture things. Putting aside the fact that there is a difference between popularity and purpose and celebrity and significance, the most important thing to say is first, you've just got to confess that I don't know" -- Booker, asked, if he wins the NJ SEN Special, whether "he plans to be a workhorse or a show horse" in the Senate (Washington Post).


"What do you want more than anything in the world? You want the big, blue ribbon? Uh huh, that's what you want. You want red? Noooo, you don't want red. You want yellow? No, you don't want yellow. You want to go home with the blue. What do you see in front of me? What do you see in front of me? You see a big, blue ribbon. It's right here in front of you. You want it? You come and you grab it! You get it!" -- "Hamilton Swan" ("Best in Show").

Josh Kraushaar, Editor-in-Chief

Steven Shepard, Executive Editor

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