Obama Walking Syria Tightrope; Times Endorses Quinn, Lhota; ICYMI: Hotline's Senate Rankings

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  • In a CNN interview that aired last Friday, Pres. Obama "defended" his admin.'s decision "to not intervene militarily" in Syria so far but "predicted that American focus on the country's strife would be necessary for the fighting to come to an end" (CNN).

  • Obama "has no plans to campaign on behalf of" NJ GOV nominee Barbara Buono (D) in her "uphill battle" against NJ Gov. Chris Christie (R) and "is weighing how much help to give his party's scandal-enmeshed candidate" for VA GOV, ex-DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe (D), where Dems "are more bullish about winning" (AP).

  • McAuliffe launched a new TV ad last Thursday "based on an ongoing legal dispute between energy companies and property owners" in SW VA (Richmond Times Dispatch). AG Ken Cuccinelli (R) also launched a new TV ad, calling McAuliffe the only candidate who is "under investigation" (release).

  • The Obama admin. sued the state of TX on Thursday "to block the state's new voter ID law." The admin. "also intervened in a redistricting lawsuit, claiming the new maps would disenfranchise minorities" (San Antonio Express-News).

  • In the NYC mayoral race, the New York Times endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D) and ex-MTA Chair Joe Lhota (R) in their respective primaries on Sunday (New York Times). The New York Post also endorsed Quinn and Lhota in a front-page editorial on Monday (New York Post). Lhota released a new TV ad on Saturday featuring a direct-to-camera appeal from ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) (release). Lhota's ad was a response to ads from billionaire John Catsimatidis (R) critical of his record (New York Times). '09 nominee Bill Thompson (D) released a new TV ad on Sunday, accusing Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D) of incorrectly characterizing Thompson's position on the policing tactic known as "stop-and-frisk" (release).

  • "After six weeks of civic turmoil over his treatment of women," San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) "submitted his resignation Friday," effective 8/30, and the City Council approved a deal to pay for some of his expenses from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former aide. In an emotional and defiant address to the council after the vote was announced, Filner apologized to his victims and supporters but also said he had been victimized by 'the hysteria of the lynch mob' caused by politicians and the media once the allegations by some 18 women became public" (Los Angeles Times).

  • In the coming San Diego mayor special election, '12 GOP-turned-indie candidate Nathan Fletcher (D), who "ran third" a year ago, became "the first candidate to announce formation" of an exploratory cmte (U-T San Diego). '12 candidate Carl DeMaio (R) "remained noncommittal about whether he'll suspend" his CA-52 campaign against Rep. Scott Peters (D) to run for mayor. City Councilor Kevin Faulconer (R) and San Diego Co. Supervisor Ron Roberts (R) are "also in the discussions." On the Dem side, other "potential candidates include City Council Pres. Todd Gloria (D) and ex-state Sen. Christine Kehoe (D) (U-T San Diego).

  • According to a new Quinnipiac Univ. poll of CO RVs, conducted 8/15-21, 44% feel that Sen. Mark Udall (D) deserves to be reelected, while 36% feel he does not deserve to be reelected. In the previous poll, conducted 6/5-10, 40% believed Udall deserved to be reelected, and 33% did not (release).

  • A new Quinnipiac Univ. poll of CO RVs, conducted 8/15-21, shows Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) leading state Sen. Greg Brophy (R), 47-40%; Sec/State Scott Gessler (R), 47-42%; and ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), 46-45%. In the previous poll, conducted 6/5-10, Hickenlooper led Brophy, 43-37%; Gessler, 42-40%; and Tancredo, 42-41% (release).

  • In GA SEN, EMILY's List endorsed philanthropist Michelle Nunn (D) on Monday (Politico).

  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "on Friday declined to back" Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) reelection bid, "saying that he will probably steer clear of all races in which incumbents face primary challengers" (Washington Post).

  • MA GOV candidate/state Treas. Steve Grossman (D) "has disclosed that he could personally owe more than" $500K in back taxes, "after an apparent error in completing a tax-free exchange of his life insurance policies" (Springfield Republican).

  • Millionaire cattle rancher Chuck Herbster (R) "bowed out" of the NE GOV race on Friday, but "several more" GOPers "are either pondering a bid or gearing up for a run in what is expected to be a free-for-all campaign" (Omaha World-Herald).

  • AR LG/AR-04 candidate Mark Darr (R) "filed an ethics complaint against himself on Friday over hundreds of dollars his campaign spent at gas stations and restaurants shortly after he took office that were classified as fundraising expenses" (AP).

  • Ex-NH state House Speaker Bill O'Brien (R) announced Friday "that he will no longer explore a run" against Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), which "leaves Kuster without an opponent" in NH-02 (WMUR-TV).


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day

• Politics isn't far from Obama's mind when it comes to American involvement in Syria. In last week's CNN interview, he voluntarily cited American war weariness in Afghanistan as one roadblock to intervention. He's clearly worried about the consequences, both short-term and to his legacy, of getting bogged down in a protracted conflict with no end in sight.

• Ex-Sen. George Allen (R-VA) was a heralded potential WH '08 candidate before he lost reelection and fell off the map in '06. The large field of possible '16 aspirants probably includes at least one pol destined for a similar fate. Early on, two guvs catch the eye: Has John Hickenlooper (D-CO) permanently lost his bipartisan popularity, or can he recover before Nov. '14? And could a deep-pocketed businesswoman give Scott Walker (R-WI) trouble next year?

• CO is shaping up to be ground zero for gun rights supporters, with recalls on tap against two state senators who voted for Hickenlooper's gun laws. Since passing new gun regulations, Hickenlooper has seen his approval ratings dip; he now faces a competitive reelection. Meanwhile, GOPers are close to landing a well-regarded recruit in Gessler.



  • "Tens of thousands of people marched to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and down the National Mall on Saturday, commemorating the 50th anniversary of King's famous speech and pledging that his dream includes equality for gays, Latinos, the poor and the disabled" (AP).

  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg "vowed in an interview" on Friday "to stay on" the SCOTUS "as long as her health and intellect remained strong, saying she was fully engaged in her work as the leader of the liberal opposition on what she called 'one of the most activist courts in history'" (New York Times).

  • Rasmussen Reports (IVR) founder Scott Rasmussen "left the organization in July," but a news release last Thursday "gave no indication of the reason for the departure" (Roll Call).

  • "I just want you all to know, since so many of you have asked me about my son, things are -- it's not only good to be here, but things are good at home in Delaware. My son Beau is fine" -- VP Biden, addressing DE AG Beau Biden's (D) latest health scare (Wilmington News Journal).

  • "As a going-away gift" after then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's (D) '00 NY SEN campaign, "staff members poked fun" at de Blasio's "plodding, contemplative style" as campaign mgr. "with a T-shirt" that quoted Gen. George S. Patton on the back but also included "a classic de Blasio hedge" on the front (New York Times).

  • Energy exec. Christine Toretti, one of the GOP's "most prominent female donors ... is striking out on her own in an effort to steer more of the GOP's ample financial resources to conservative women running for office," creating the new super PAC "Women Lead" (Politico).

  • "Conservative billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch are no longer interested in buying the Chicago Tribune or other Tribune newspapers" (Chicago Sun-Times).

  • "The National Zoo's female giant panda gave birth to a cub Friday as hordes of people in this panda-obsessed realm halted work to watch the royal arrival in intimate high-definition on the zoo's new public panda cams" (Washington Post). Sadly, a second cub was stillborn, but on "Sunday, the zoo released photos of the surviving cub, which showed a small, palm-size animal with pink skin that is already covered in short, white fur" (Washington Post).


  • King Co., TX, voted 96% for Harry Truman and Mitt Romney.

  • The winner is Danny O'Driscoll, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Who was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, and what did he write on the document next to his name?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"I think they've treated him awfully. It seems like they're determined ... and I think this new general manager [John Idzik] is just determined to play the guy that he drafted [Geno Smith]" -- Christie, guest hosting on WFAN-AM Monday morning, suggesting that the NY Jets have undermined QB Mark Sanchez (WFAN-AM).


"Report: President Obama has no plans to stump for underdog Buono" (Newark Star-Ledger).

Josh Kraushaar, Editor-in-Chief

Steven Shepard, Executive Editor

CORRECTION: Last Thursday's Wake-Up Call! misstated July fundraising totals for both the DSCC and the NRSC. The DSCC raised $3.3M in July, while the NRSC raised $2.7M.