Grappling With A Gruesome Video

Aug 20, 2014 8:52am

By ARLETTE SAENZ (@arlettesaenz) 

NOTABLES

  • A HORRIFYING VIDEO: The U.S. intelligence community is working to authenticate a chilling video appearing to show the beheading of American journalist James Foley by a militant identifying himself as part of the Islamic State.  ABC’s JONATHAN KARL reports a senior U.S. official says ISIS had recently threatened to kill Foley to avenge U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, and the administration was aware of the threats before the video of the execution went online.  President Obama was briefed on the video aboard Air Force One last night as he traveled from Washington, D.C. to Martha’s Vineyard to resume his August vacation. http://abcn.ws/1w8AvPz
  • AMERICANS SUPPORT AIRSTRIKES: After splitting evenly two months ago, a majority of Americans now support U.S. air strikes in Iraq – but without additional credit to Barack Obama for ordering them, ABC’s GREG HOLYK reports.  Support for the military action against Sunni insurgents in Iraq is up by 9 percentage points since June, from 45 to 54 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, while opposition is down by 7 points, to 39 percent. Yet views on Obama’s handling of the situation are essentially unchanged – 42 percent approve, while 51 percent disapprove. http://abcn.ws/YyKBKy
  • HOLDER IN FERGUSON: Attorney General Eric Holder heads to Ferguson, Mo. today just as authorities say the torn community has reached a “turning point.” Holder will meet with local officials, the FBI and other officials conducting a federal investigation into the death of 18 year-old Michael Brown.  Holder’s visit, which he previewed in an op-ed in the St. Louis Dispatch, aims to offer the community an affirmation that the federal government is committed to carrying out a thorough investigation into the shooting that killed Brown. “Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent,” Holder wrote. “And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders, and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding — and robust action — aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve.” http://bit.ly/1yZVX5m

 

THE ROUNDTABLE

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: It would have been a strange scene even if it wasn’t competing for screen time with the beheading of an American by terrorists and tear-gassing on the streets of an American city. But Gov. Rick Perry’s embrace of a defiant tone at his booking – a boisterous rally awaiting him at the courthouse, a proud smile in a mug shot, an ice cream cone his post-booking snack of choice – will be remembered as either brilliance or hubris, with little room in between. There’s still a better than average chance the prosecution collapses early and completely, and Perry can wear the indictment as a badge of GOP honor. But if it doesn’t, that badge will be remembered more than the House-member pin in Tom DeLay’s beatific mug shot. Tuesday afternoon’s bizarre scene will play prominently into either storyline.

ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: All smiles and ice cream.  That sums up Texas Governor Rick Perry on the day he turned himself into authorities and took what might be considered the best political mugshot in history, topping it off with an ice cream cone at a local eatery. The scene at the Travis County Courthouse Tuesday was political theater at its finest, with a grinning Perry beaming as supporters chanted their well wishes for the Texas governor whose indictment has become a cause célèbre for conservatives.  Defiant as ever, Perry clearly was basking in the limelight  as he and his team turned the word “indictment” into a rallying call for Republicans to stand for what he calls the “rule of law.”  But Democrats are still hopeful the indictment has validity and that a court will find the Texas governor and presidential hopeful broke the law – something no amount of ice cream will be able to fix.

 

MIDTERM MINUTE

SULLIVAN WINS ALASKA GOP PRIMARY. Former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan won the Republican Senate primary in Alaska early Wednesday morning, another big win for the GOP establishment who went all in on Sullivan, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes.  But it wasn’t just a win for the establishment as Sullivan was backed by groups like the Club for Growth.  Sullivan outspent Sarah Palin-backed candidate Joe Miller $4 million to $328,000 in the primary, but Democrats have already spent big against Sullivan perceiving him as the most difficult opponent for Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Begich.  This race is expected to become even more about Alaska roots than it already has. The Associated Press has the full results of the Alaska primary. http://abcn.ws/1qphU9k

 

BUZZ

With ABC’s SCOTT WILSON

PERRY POSES FOR MUGSHOT, TREATS HIMSELF TO ICE CREAM CONE. Texas Governor Rick Perry turned himself in to authorities in Austin Tuesday evening, posing for a mug shot just days after an indictment was issued against him for two felony charges, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ reports. Perry stood in front of a light blue background at the Travis County courthouse as he had his mugshot taken, removing his glasses and smiling ever so slightly, with no teeth showing. Afterwards, the Texas governor didn’t seem all that bothered by the booking, deciding to treat himself to an ice cream cone. Perry’s booking comes just four days after he was first indicted on two felony counts – abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official.  The charges originate from Perry threatening to veto $7.5 million in funding for the state’s public integrity unit unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned following a DWI conviction in 2013. “I’m going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being.  And we will prevail.  And we’ll prevail because we’re standing for the rule of law,” Perry told reporters Tuesday. http://abcn.ws/1tjudrU

MEET THE 5 MOST INTERESTING REPUBLICAN HOUSE CANDIDATES. Republicans have admitted the GOP needs to change the perception of being a party of “stuffy old men,” and this year’s crop of congressional candidates could help with that makeover – from a Minnesotan whose hair has earned him the nickname “The Republican Brad Pitt” to a former female fighter pilot. ABC’S NOAH WEILAND has a look at five of the most interesting Republican Congressional candidates this fall. 1. The Gay, Pro-Choice Republican: Carl DeMaio 2. The GOP’s Top Gun: Martha McSally 3. The Republican ‘Brad Pitt’: Stewart Mills 4. The Republican Party’s Freshest Face: Elise Stefanik 5. The Sightless State Senator Who’s Never Lost An Election: Torrey Westrom: http://abcn.ws/1mkdfEP

PAUL RYAN IMPLORES GOP TO OFFER A ‘MEANINGFUL CHOICE’ IN 2016. For Rep. Paul Ryan, the lesson of the Republican loss in the 2012 presidential election was the need for the GOP to offer Americans “a meaningful choice” on Election Day, even if he isn’t the next Republican presidential candidate, notes ABC’s BENJAMIN SIEGEL. “This isn’t just a ‘me’ book about me, this is an ‘us’ book about how America needs to tackle its challenges,” Ryan told ABC’s ANN COMPTON in an interview to promote his new book, “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.” “Regardless of who runs for what in 2016, this book is meant to offer the country a meaningful choice and an alternative to the path we are on,” said Ryan, who has not ruled out a future presidential bid. The new book, he said, articulates “full-spectrum conservatism” though a mix of step-by- step policy proposals and memoir. “It’s not enough to just to be critical and criticize the president or the left as a conservative,” Ryan said. “Show them your ideas. Show them how you would do things different.” http://abcn.ws/1uShG1t

US REJECTS INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM OF FERGUSON POLICE. A State Department spokeswoman pushed back against countries like Egypt, Iran and China that have chided U.S. law enforcement for its handling of protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown, according to ABC’s ALI WEINBERG. Marie Harf said such countries, which, at best, have mixed records on human rights and free speech, should avoid comparing themselves to the United States. “We here in the United States will put our record for confronting our problems transparently and honestly and openly up against any other countries in the world,” Harf said. “When we have problems and issues in this country, we deal with them openly and honestly. We think that’s important, and I would encourage the countries you named particularly to do the same thing.” The Egyptian Foreign Ministry Tuesday urged authorities to use “restraint” against protestors, mimicking a similarly worded statement released by the White House in July 2013 when the United States advised Egypt to use discretion when dealing with supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. http://abcn.ws/YvGgrz

ALASKA SENATE GOP PRIMARY: 10 QUESTIONS FOR MEAD TREADWELL. Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell wants to unseat Alaska’s Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in November. But first, he needs to survive a tough GOP primary. Treadwell, a figure in Alaskan politics for nearly 40 years, faces Dan Sullivan, a Marine and former Bush administration official, and Joe Miller, a Sarah Palin-supported tea party candidate who challenged Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2010. The three-way race for the GOP nomination is not only the most expensive in Alaska’s history -it’s also considered to be one of the most negative, as the Republicans have attacked each other as well as the incumbent. While Treadwell, 58, has been outspent by Sullivan and his supporters in the national GOP establishment, he remains optimistic heading into into the final stretch of a race still considered competitive. ABC’s BENJAMIN SIEGEL spoke with Treadwell about Republican infighting, personal ties to Alaska and what it means to be endorsed by an astronaut: http://abcn.ws/1uTwGfB

 

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

THE COYOTAJE EXPRESS: ONE EL SALVADORIAN TEEN TELLS HIS STORY OF COMING TO THE U.S. ILLEGALLY. When 15-year-old William risked his life at the hands of illegal traffickers to make a harrowing journey from his home in El Salvador to the United States eight months ago, he did so because he believed the danger of staying in Central America outweighed the risk of the journey. “You risk your life,” William said about the situation in El Salvador in a recent interview with ABC’s JIM AVILA. “Because of the gangs, you can’t live in peace. They want money or they will endanger your family,” he said through his translator. http://yhoo.it/1oQEhsY

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@longhornderek: Just saw the front page of the New York Post. They should be ashamed. Remember a man for how he lived, not how he died.

@elisefoley: George W. Bush does the ice bucket challenge http://on.fb.me/VEvA8m 

@nielslesniewski: How am I starting my last morning of #rollcallontheroad NH? Sitting outside drinking Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Of course.

@ktumulty: Looking like a man who just remembered the name of that third cabinet department pic.twitter.com/TqsKI0Crd3

@chezcateylou: I just read that there might be a @NutellaUSA shortage! Let’s all go stock up!!! #nutella

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