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- The Obama admin. "searched for answers Wednesday about a reported chemical weapons attack in Syria that would mark the most flagrant violation yet of the U.S. 'red line' for potential military action," but "the possibility of intervention seemed ever smaller" after JCS Chair Martin Dempsey "offered a starkly pessimistic assessment of options" (AP).
- Pres. Obama "plans to announce a set of ambitious proposals on Thursday aimed at making colleges more accountable and affordable by rating them and ultimately linking those ratings to financial aid" (New York Times).
- The DSCC raised $3.3M in July and spent $3.4M. The cmte has $9.6M CoH and $10M in debt. (Hotline reporting).
- San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) "reached a proposed settlement agreement with his legal adversaries Wednesday that likely sets the stage for the end of his brief, scandal-plagued tenure as San Diego's 35th mayor." City Atty Jan Goldsmith "said no details" of the arrangement "would be released until after" a City Council hearing on Friday, but "political aides to potential mayoral candidates by insiders Wednesday night to expect a special election campaign to begin Saturday" (U-T San Diego).
- The NYC Dem mayoral candidates "clashed over stop-and-frisk and health care" in a televised debate Wednesday night, and it "was clear from the start" that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio "had a target on his back" (NY1). In a front-page editorial, the Daily News endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the Dem primary (New York Daily News).
- According to a new Quinnipiac Univ. poll of VA RVs, conducted 8/14-19, 61% approve of the way Sen. Mark Warner (D) is handling his job, while 25% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted 7/11-15, 61% approved of Warner, and 23% disapproved (release).
- WY SEN candidate Liz Cheney (R) "posted a $220 bond" in a Teton Co. courthouse on Monday "on a charge of making a false statement to procure a fishing license" (Jackson Hole News & Guide).
- Ex-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) "said late Wednesday he would not run" for MA GOV, "effectively sweeping a path" to the GOP nod for '10 nominee Charlie Baker (R) (Boston Globe). State Sen. Dan Wolf (D) said Thursday he would resign and suspend his GOV campaign unless the State Ethics Commission reconsiders a ruling that would require him to surrender his ownership stake in Cape Air, a small airline he helped found (release).
- House Min. Leader Nancy Pelosi "is slated" to attend a union rally with Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), around whom "an ethics probe swirls," on Friday in Beverly, MA (Boston Herald).
- Ex-Rep. Doug Ose (R) will make a comeback bid against Rep. Ami Bera (D) in CA-07 next year, according to adviser Rob Stutzman, joining '12 CA SEN nominee Elizabeth Emken (R) in the race (Hotline reporting).
- Rep. Rand Paul (R-KY) is planning "to attend the 'Faith & Freedom BBQ' hosted by" Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) in Anderson, SC, next Monday (Louisville Courier-Journal). Paul has also "met with" NJ SEN Special nominee Steve Lonegan (R) and "is weighing an endorsement" (National Review).
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Candidates often look better on paper than they would in an actual campaign. That's the case with Brown, who passed on MA GOV after earlier opting against a comeback SEN bid. Smart money is on him passing up any future political bids, including the far-fetched notion of a WH '16 run -- but keeping his options open to keep his name in the news.
• Mitch McConnell released a poll this morning showing him in comfortable shape -- for now -- against little-known Matt Bevin. But the fact the campaign felt compelled to conduct and release the poll in the first place shows they're taking the primary challenge seriously.
• Of the 4 House GOPers who got the most backing from American Action Network in the 2012 elections, 3 have endorsed a pathway to citizenship: Denham, Heck, and Webster. That's not the case for the top GOPers backed by AAN's affiliated super PAC, though, neatly representing the divide between the policy-focused side of AAN and the majority-focused side of Congressional Leadership Fund. AAN's recess ad backing House Maj. Whip Kevin McCarthy shows GOPers that opponents of immigration reform aren't the only people in the party that will spend on the issue. But CLF is also going to be there for GOPers that need it next fall, likely whether they support reform or not.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"Woman Leads Police on Unusual Chase in SE Wis." (WSAW-TV)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- DE AG Beau Biden (D) underwent "an unspecified 'successful procedure'" at a Houston cancer center earlier this week and is expected to return to DE on Thursday. VP Biden's office "would not comment about a 911 call" from his house in Greenville, DE, at 9:25 p.m. on 8/1. "A dispatcher on a police scanner that night said someone was suffering a 'possible stroke,' but did not identify Beau Biden as the source of the emergency" (Wilmington News Journal).
- "A military judge sentenced Pfc. Bradley Manning on Wednesday to 35 years in prison for providing more than" 700K gov't files to WikiLeaks, "a gigantic leak that lifted the veil on American military and diplomatic activities around the world" (New York Times). In a statement Thursday provided to NBC News, Manning "revealed he intends to live out the remainder of his life as a woman" (NBC News).
- The NSA "declassified three secret court opinions Wednesday showing how in one of its surveillance programs it scooped up as many as" 56K "emails and other communications by Americans not connected to terrorism annually over three years, revealed the error to the court -- which ruled its actions unconstitutional -- and then fixed the problem" (AP).
- According to a new Quinnipiac Univ. poll of VA RVs, conducted 8/14-19, 47% approve of the way Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is handling his job, while 39% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted 7/11-15, 46% approved of McDonnell, and 37% disapproved (release).
- New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd "says she 'screwed up' by misquoting" de Blasio wife Chirlane McCray "in her recent column and attributed the mistake to a 'noisy' coffee shop" (Politico). She also misidentified the coffee shop itself, according to a correction in Thursday's Times.
- At a town-hall meeting Wednesday in Muskogee, OK, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) "called Obama 'a personal friend of mine,' but that did not prevent him from calling" the Obama admin. "lawless and incompetent and 'getting perilously close' to the Constitutional standard for impeachment" (Tulsa World).
- Scotland, MD, waterman "John 'Willy' Dean caught two bull sharks Tuesday morning in the lower Potomac River," each weighing about 220 lbs. (Maryland Independent).
- "6 Things Losing Candidates Say" (Roll Call).
- We're off on Friday, but we'll see you right back here on Monday!
- The 22nd Amendment was second to the 27th in the amount of time it took to be ratified.
- The winner is Jay O'Callaghan, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "What county voted 96% for Harry Truman and Mitt Romney?" The 1st correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- The U.S. Is Giving Up On the Arab Spring, And Bashar al-Assad Knows It
- 5 Secrets of the March on Washington
- House GOP Plans Mega-Hearing on Climate Change
"You don't know it, but I'm a supporter of you and a supporter of law enforcement" -- TX LG David Dewhurst (R), trying to spring a woman he "identified as his 'step-niece-in-law'" from Allen, TX, police earlier this month after she had been arrested for shoplifting (WFAA-TV).
"I'm Moe Green. I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!" -- "Moe Greene" ("The Godfather").
Josh Kraushaar, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard, Executive Editor