A Very Long Engagement

VIDEO: US Airstrikes in Iraq Destroy ISIS Targets, Push Militant Group Back

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • ' I DON'T THINK WE'RE GOING TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM IN WEEKS': President Obama warned Americans this weekend to prepare for a prolonged military fight over the skies of Iraq, striking a defensive and defiant tone over the need to reengage in a war he tried ending nearly three years ago, notes ABC's JEFF ZELENY. "I don't think we're going to solve this problem in weeks," Obama said, speaking at the White House moments before leaving for a summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard on Saturday. "This is going to be a long-term project." The president renewed his promise to keep American ground forces out of the conflict, declaring: "We should have learned a lesson from our long and immensely costly incursion in Iraq." But he forcefully pushed back against criticism that his decision to withdraw combat troops in 2012 contributed to Iraq's latest collapse. "That entire analysis is bogus and is wrong," Obama said. http://abcn.ws/1nD1s3y
  • THE POLITICAL SITUATION: Secretary of State John Kerry is in Sydney, Australia where he made brief comments today on the Iraqi political situation, warning Prime Minister Maliki of interfering with the constitutional process of picking a new prime minister. "There should be no use of force, no introduction of troops or militias into this moment of democracy," Kerry said, according to ABC's ALI WEINBERG. He added that the U.S. backs Iraqi President Massoum as the person responsible for carrying out the constitution and that Maliki should abandon his hopes of a third term: "Among the Shia, it is very, very evident that they have three candidates or so for prime minister, none of whom are Mr. Maliki."
  • HOW EFFECTIVE HAVE U.S. AIR DROPS BEEN? On Friday in New Delhi, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was asked about how much of the 72 airdropped bundles of aid had reached Yazidis trapped on Mt. Sinjar. He said reliable info showed more than 60 had gotten to them, ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ notes: "On the efficiency of those air drops, we have pretty solid information - verifiable information that of the 72 bundles that were dropped from the three aircraft, more than 60 got to those who we wanted it to get to and the people who were trapped up there," Hagel said.


BERNIE SANDERS SAYS HE HAS A 'DAMN GOOD PLATFORM' TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Sen. Bernie Sanders isn't afraid to be called a socialist. In fact, the Vermont Independent proudly labels himself a Democratic socialist. "Do you hear me cringing? Do you hear me running under the table?" Sanders said rhetorically when asked if Democratic socialist is an accurate description. Sanders is so delighted with his brand of politics that he said in an interview with ABC's JEFF ZELENY, host of "The Fine Print," that it would be a "damn good platform" on which to run for president. "If the American people understand what goes on in countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and other countries, they will say, 'Whoa, I didn't know that!'" Sanders said, pointing out that health care is considered a right, "R-I-G-H-T," among even the most conservative politicians in places like Denmark. Sanders described his credo as a fight to protect America's working class from what he sees as the threat of an approaching "oligarchic form of society." WATCH: http://yhoo.it/1oClT5U



RET. GENERAL CARTER HAM CALLS OBAMA'S IRAQ GOALS 'VERY DIFFICULT' TO ACCOMPLISH. Retired Gen. Carter Ham, who served as commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Mosul, Iraq, from 2004-2005, told ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ on "This Week" yesterday that initial U.S. airstrikes against ISIS forces advancing toward the city of Erbil have "given pause" to the terrorist group, but that much more will need to be done to halt their progress. "It will be very difficult without U.S. ground forces or ground forces of others," Ham said when asked if airstrikes will accomplish the President Obama's goals to protect Americans in the region, stop the humanitarian crisis, eliminate ISIS safe havens, and protect Iraqi infrastructure, reports ABC's ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN. While President Obama has insisted that ground forces will not be deployed, he did acknowledge that the threat of ISIS will not be solved in a matter of days or weeks. "This is going to be a long-term project," he said Saturday on the White House lawn before leaving for his Martha's Vineyard vacation. http://abcn.ws/1oTHhmR

NOTED: DOES AN OBAMA ENDORSEMENT MEAN WHAT IT USED TO? Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie was trounced in this weekend's Democratic primary despite having one very big Hawaiian endorsement: Barack Obama, ABC's JONATHAN KARL notes. In fact, Obama did a radio ad for Abercrombie, saying, "He knew my parents before I was a twinkle in their eye, and he was one of the first people anywhere to step up and support me for president. So you could say that Gov. Abercrombie has had my back since before I was born." Obama and Abercrombie go way back. He was a friend of Obama's mother and father when they went to school together in Hawaii in the 1960s. When birthers first starts questioning Obama's citizenship, Abercrombie was able to say he there when the future president was born.

TED CRUZ: OBAMA SHOULD 'SPEND LESS TIME ON THE GOLF COURSE'. DES MOINES, Iowa-While President Obama was on the golf course in Martha's Vineyard this weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was at the Iowa State Fair criticizing the president's foreign policy and saying he should "spend less time on the golf course," according to ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ. Asked whether he thought Obama should be vacationing in Martha's Vineyard right now, Cruz accused Obama of being "an absentee president," noting that he did not visit the border last month when he was in the state of Texas. "I think the president should actually stand up and do his job as commander in chief, should spend less time on the golf course and more time doing the job to which he was elected," Cruz told reporters after his speech at the Des Moines Register soapbox. Cruz said airstrikes could be effective in Iraq, but said Obama has yet to detail a strategy for combating ISIS. "Airstrikes could well make sense to degrade the lethality of ISIS if they are directed towards accomplishing a concrete defined military objective that furthers U.S. national security interests," Cruz said. http://abcn.ws/XR5iRI

JONI ERNST HOPES FUTURE POLITICIANS WILL WANT TO BE MORE LIKE HER. DES MOINES-Joni Ernst is not striving to be the next Ted Cruz. But if she reaches the Senate, she hopes aspiring senators want to be the next Joni Ernst, note ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ and JEFF ZELENY. "I hope that after a couple of years, people are going to say, 'I want to model myself after Joni Ernst,'" she told ABC News Friday. Ernst, a state senator who has become one of the Republican Party's most promising recruits of the midterm election season, acknowledged that she feels pressure as one of the key pieces in the GOP effort to try and pick up six seats to win control of the Senate in November. "It is such a phenomenally positive pressure," Ernst said. "I have gone from being a very little known state senator from southwest Iowa to now being someone that can really make a difference for Iowa in our federal legislature." http://abcn.ws/1yey3Tr


"THE 'SUPER PAC TO END SUPER PACS' BACKS 3 NEW CANDIDATES," by Time Magazine's Denver Nicks. "Mayday PAC, the political action committee determined to spearhead a revolution in the way elections are funded in America, announces Monday three candidates it's supporting in 2014, plus the news that the Super PAC will deploy resources in three additional races. 'The picture of diversity we saw when we put these three together was cutting across the spectrum,' Mayday PAC co-founder Lawrence Lessig told TIME. 'Willing to take on Democrats, willing to support Republicans, and obviously eager to support more people pushing for reform.' Mayday PAC will publicly unveil support for three candidates Monday; incumbents Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), and Ruben Gallego, a Democrat running for his party's nomination in Arizona's 7th congressional district. None of the candidates was consulted before being selected by the PAC, nor were they informed of their selection before the public announcement." http://ti.me/1oC4SZy


@stuartpstevens: Simple question: what would HRC be saying on foreign policy if POTUS was at 55 fav not 40? @maggiepolitico: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/hillary-clinton-takes-president-barack-obama-109887.html?hp=f1 …

@jmartNYT: Great @adamnagourney read on the state legislative landscape and how many more states could soon have 1-party rule http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/11/us/politics/midterms-give-parties-chance-for-sweeping-control-of-states.html?wpisrc=nl_rdin&wpmm=1&_r=0&referrer= …

@zengerle: My latest for @tnr: a #longread abt the plight of black politicians-and, by extension, black people-in the South http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119019/civil-rights-movement-going-reverse-alabama …

@WaPoSean: Why the artist behind Obama's 'Hope' poster is helping a fake candidate: http://wapo.st/1r512Lj

@CoryBooker: Give the respect you want to receive; embody the grace you hope to encounter; and help others with no expectations whatsoever.

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