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- "U.S.-Russia talks over eliminating Syria's chemical weapons began" in Geneva on Thursday "on a wary and stilted note," as Sec/State John Kerry "said U.S. military forces remain poised to attack Syria if a credible agreement is not rapidly reached and implemented" (Washington Post).
- Pres. Obama will announce Friday that he has chosen ex-acting OMB Dir. Jeffrey Zients to succeed Gene Sperling as dir. of the Nat'l Economic Council (New York Times).
- "After meeting with supporters Thursday night," '09 nominee Bill Thompson (D) "said he is not going anywhere" and will pursue a runoff in the NYC Mayor Dem primary (NY1). Meanwhile, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D) and ex-MTA Chair Joe Lhota (R) "embraced the role of fierce rivals on Thursday, displaying the testy tenor and deep ideological divide of a general election matchup" (New York Times). Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) announced Friday morning "that he will not endorse in the race" (Capital New York).
- VA AG Ken Cuccinelli's (R) GOV camp has shaken up some staff responsibilities "in a move that insiders say was made to reinvigorate" Cuccinelli's campaign (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). A new Cuccinelli ad released on Friday takes aim at ex-DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe's (D) "checkered business record" (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot).
- AK Natural Resources Commis. Dan Sullivan (R), who "has been the topic of much speculation" about a AK SEN bid, resigned on Thursday, just as LG Mead Treadwell (R) "was about to take the podium for the Anchorage launch" of his own AK SEN campaign (Anchorage Daily News). "A source close to Sullivan confirmed that he will formally announce his campaign later this month" (Politico).
- Senate Maj. Leader Harry Reid "will hold" a luncheon fundraiser for KY SEN candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) next month in Las Vegas (cn|2).
- Milton Wolf (R), Obama's "second cousin once removed, is laying the groundwork" for a potential primary challenge against Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). Roberts "said he knows Wolf ... but was not aware that he was seriously considering a bid and has not had direct contact with him about the race" (Politico).
- The AL-01 Special pre-primary reports were due to the FEC by midnight. '10 GOV candidate Bradley Byrne (R) raised $242K from 7/1-9/4 and has $184K CoH. Conservative columnist Quin Hillyer (R) raised $106K and has $50K CoH. Ex-RNC dep. CoS Wells Griffith (R) raised $162K and has $88K CoH (Hotline reporting).
- IL Gov. Pat Quinn (D) "believes he has enough support among the 38 members" of the Dem State Central Cmte to capture the state party's endorsement for his reelection campaign, but ex-WH CoS Bill Daley (D) will "reach out to members ... to urge them to support an open primary in which no endorsement is made" (Chicago Tribune).
- MD AG Doug Gansler's (D) MD GOV campaign "will officially begin" on 9/24, kicking off "a six-day, 17-stop series of announcements beginning in Rockville" (Baltimore Sun).
- "A person familiar with" her planning said MA AG Martha Coakley (D) "is in the final decision stages" on a MA GOV run and "could make an announcement first thing next week" (Boston Globe).
- PA Gov. Tom Corbett (R) "intends to announce he will accept federal funds" for a version of Medicaid expansion "designed to provide federally funded health care coverage to uninsured adults and children" (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal).
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Republicans hoping for an electable nominee in AK SEN aren't worried that Sullivan's decision to run will give '10 nominee Joe Miller (R) an opening. Sullivan and Treadwell will both appeal to the various elements of the state's GOP establishment, but Miller is still working off damage from his last run that may make getting over the one-third mark difficult. One thing to watch for: Folks who know both Treadwell and Sullivan say they don't disagree on much, which begs the question of how they will campaign against each other -- and whether that will lead to a nasty, personal-focused end of the race, as sometimes happens in this situation. That could jangle the calculus of a three-way race, though the two men start this contest as friends.
• If Elbert Guillory's name doesn't ring a bell, jot it down. The LA state sen. switched parties earlier this year, becoming the first black GOPer in the chamber since Reconstruction. And his video explaining the switch went viral, catching the eye of conservatives working to expand their reach in the African-American community. He's already teamed up with Allen West to help elect more black conservatives and earned an invite to speak at CPAC this fall. Whether or not he runs for LA SEN next year, Guillory is one to watch.
HAIR OF THE DOG
MA state sens. "are being urged to end their practice of keeping candy in their desks after mice searching for the treats also chewed the senators' microphone wires" (AP).
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- In a response to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Senate Dems "are weighing whether to force a Senate vote on a plan that would" deny "federal contributions to help pay for lawmakers' health care coverage ... if there is 'probable cause' they solicited prostitutes" (Politico).
- MT LG John Walsh (D), who's been mentioned as a possible MT SEN candidate, is either "dangerously clumsy" with Facebook's iPhone app, or "he recently let the world know how much he appreciates breasts" (Buzzfeed).
- Heritage Foundation Pres./ex-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) wasn't the Heritage board's "original choice for the post" (Washington Examiner).
- "Inside the Obama campaign: The plot against Stephanie Cutter" (MSNBC).
- "Strategists working with candidates in Boston's crowded mayor's race profess unusual levels of uncertainty about the outcome" of the 9/24 preliminary election, "saying that a historic collision of factors has made this contest much more difficult to predict" (Boston Globe).
- "He was tired of paying their salaries" -- Brandon Gesicki, a friend of ex-CA LG Abel Maldonado (R) and former adviser to him, who said Maldonado let chief strategist John Weaver and media consultant Fred Davis go from his CA GOV camp "because they were charging an exorbitant amount and failing to perform" (Sacramento Bee).
- "I'm going to say something outrageous. ... I think I understand the Senate better than any man or women who's ever served in there, and I think I understand the House" -- VP Biden (Washington Post).
- "The other day, when [Obama] came to lunch, [he said] that we're not facing very many direct threats in this world to the United States ... and so you're going to have to be involved in much more ambiguous situations. I'm guessing he wouldn't use that term in public but that's the term he used with us" -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), on Obama's lunch with Senate GOPers on Tuesday (Buzzfeed).
- "I have more of an immediate responsibility because Rand Paul is in my party" -- Rep. Peter King (R-NY), on why he's exploring a WH '16 run (Politico).
- "NBC Announces a Face-Lift, and One New Face, for 'Today'" (New York Times).
- The Denver Broncos, led by QB Peyton Manning, beat the defending champion Baltimore Ravens by 22 points last week.
- The winner is Mark Siegel, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "According to JFK, how many Catholics died at the Alamo?" The 1st correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- How It Can Still Go Wrong for Obama
- Why Democrats Have Reason to Fear
- Can Obama Recover?
- Republicans, Independents Unite on Syria Opposition
- The Case Against Larry Summers
"Breasts.Proof men can multitask2" -- The name of the page Walsh "liked" on Facebook (Buzzfeed).
"You're supposed to just take a peek after a poke" ("Seinfeld").
Josh Kraushaar, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard, Executive Editor
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