By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
with ABC's SCOTT WILSON
OOPS: STATE DEPARTMENT FORGETS ABOUT IRAQ IN INTERNAL NEWSLETTER. A weekly State Department bulletin that gets emailed to Capitol Hill staffers is striking some as tone deaf. During a week in which Iraq is quickly descending into another war, most of Secretary of State John Kerry's work highlighted in the newsletter has nothing to do with that country - or any of the other diplomatic hot spots around the world, ABC's ALI WEINBERG notes. The one-page "State Department On The Hill" features a photo of Kerry at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence next to a stock image of colorful fish swimming in bright blue water, meant to highlight Kerry's two-day "Our Oceans" summit. It also contains a notice about a Web chat on the importance of study-abroad programs and a link to a blog post about how the U.S. mission to Brazil is using the World Cup to further its sports diplomacy efforts. The only reference to Iraq is a quote from Kerry's interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric earlier in the week. Another hotbed of conflict, Russia, is mentioned solely in a link to a recent alert for U.S. citizens traveling there. http://abcn.ws/1jBEGYZ
NOTED: Yesterday Secretary of State Kerry reiterated, as announced by President Obama earlier in the day, that he'd be traveling to Europe and the Middle East next week: "Over the past 10 days I have been consistently on the phone with a number of our allies and partners inside Iraq, in the region and across Europe as part of a diplomatic effort to resolve this crisis, because we know there is no single military answer. At the president's request, I will take the next step in that diplomatic effort, traveling to Europe and the Middle East next week to consult with our partners face to face."
MCCARTHY, SCALISE WIN GOP LEADERSHIP POSTS. House Republicans have elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as their new Majority Leader, replacing Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., who announced last week he was stepping down from the top leadership post after suffering an embarrassing primary defeat at the hands of a Tea Party challenger, according to ABC's JEFF ZELENY AND JOHN PARKINSON. "I'll make one promise," McCarthy told reporters after the vote. "I will work every single day to make sure this conference has the courage to lead with the wisdom to listen. And we'll turn this country around." Republicans gathered behind closed doors for the balloting, but a vote total will not be disclosed because it's a secret ballot. Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana was elected Majority Whip (the post McCarthy is leaving). He was elected on the first ballot, fending off a challenge from two other Republicans: Peter Roskam of Illinois and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana. http://abcn.ws/1lFcMiU
9 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was elected by his colleagues yesterday as majority leader in the House of Representatives. The House Republican Conference voted to replace current Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who lost in a stunning upset to tea party-backed candidate Dave Brat in a primary election in Virginia. McCarthy may be a familiar face on Capitol Hill, but now that he's taking on a much more high-profile role, here are a few things you might not know about the new Majority Leader, courtesy of ABC's SCOTT WILSON: http://abcn.ws/1l86OYj
YOU'VE GOT A CHEERLEADER IN THE WHITE HOUSE, CLASS OF 2014. First Lady Michelle Obama got real with the Class of 2014 in a DC commencement speech last night. Her first message: life is a struggle and the struggle never stops. But she told the college graduates, members of the DC College Access Program, a college assistance program, that it's that struggle that put her family in the White House, ABC's JAKE LEFFERMAN reports. "Take my husband for example. You know the guy," Mrs. Obama joked. "He struggled for years to make it to the White House and then once he got there he struggled even harder" to achieve his policy agendas, she said. It's a lesson that she said these students have been learning for their entire lives. The DC non-profit aids high school students to graduate and succeed in college through counseling, application assistance and financial aid guidance. More than 600 college graduates attended the ceremony. The First Lady's next lesson was to never, ever listen to doubters. She urged the graduates to channel insecurity and anxiety to get better and work harder. "Because trust me, in the end, success is always the best revenge," said Mrs. Obama. Her last lesson was to invest in yourself no matter what is going on in your life.
OBAMA AWARDS MEDAL OF HONOR TO MARINE WHO DOVE ON GRENADE. Shortly after outlining his plans for Iraq, President Obama turned to awarding the nation's highest military honor to a veteran of the Afghanistan war, according to ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ. President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Corp. William "Kyle" Carpenter, a Marine who dove in front of a grenade to protect his best friend and comrade in Helmand Province in 2010. "We are here because this man, this United States Marine, faced down that terrible explosive power, that unforgiving force, with his own body, willingly and deliberately, to protect a fellow Marine," President Obama said. "When that grenade exploded, Kyle Carpenter's body took the brunt of the blast. His injuries were called catastrophic." Carpenter, now 24 and retired from the Marine Corps, recovered for some time at Walter Reed Medical Center and underwent nearly 40 surgeries, which included receiving a "new prosthetic eye, a new jaw, new teeth, and one hell of a smile." http://abcn.ws/1ipc2zb
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
BRETT FAVRE'S 'HAIL MARY' AD FOR THAD COCHRAN NFL veteran Brett Favre is going all in for endangered Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, a Republican incumbent who is in the re-election fight of his life. In a new television ad sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Favre, a native of Gulfport, Mississippi, urges voters to support Cochran who faces a challenging runoff next Tuesday against Tea Party insurgent Chris McDaniel, a state senator. "I've learned through football that strong leadership makes the difference between winning and losing. And when it comes to our state's future, trust me: Mississippi can win - and win big with Thad Cochran as our strong voice in Washington," Favre says in the 30-second ad. "Thad Cochran always delivers, just like he did during Katrina." Favre calls Cochran a "proven and respected leader." WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: http://abcn.ws/1kRosL2
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
'THE CASE AGAINST 8': HOW THE FIGHT FOR LGBT MARRIAGE RIGHTS IN CALIFORNIA WAS WON. The movement to legalize gay marriage has gained national momentum nationwide in a way almost unthinkable just a few years ago - but one of its heroes says there was no feeling of inevitability about her Supreme Court victory that toppled California's Proposition 8. "We didn't know we were going to win until we won," former plaintiff Kris Perry told "Top Line" during a discussion of a new HBO documentary that gives viewers a front-row seat for her five-year legal battle. Perry and a co-director of "The Case Against 8," Ben Cotner, talked about the moment when the nation's highest court effectively declared unconstitutional Prop. 8, a 2008 ballot initiative that said only heterosexual marriages would be recognized in California. http://yhoo.it/1uJvBCA
@MikeCzin: Hey look - Gov Walker's scandal made the front page of the NY Times! http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/hr.asp?fpVname=NY_NYT&ref_pge=lst …
@ByronYork: Bottom line: 'Obamacare looks to be on its way to creating a chronically uninsured class," says Laszewski. http://ow.ly/yg1FM
@TheFix: Congress is making a lot of history! (By being so unpopular). http://ow.ly/yg11E
@brianbeutler: Would Republicans really shut down the government over climate change? In October? Of an election year? I examine http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118264/republican-government-shutdown-climate-change-threat-can-wait-til-2015 …