By CHRIS GOOD ( @c_good )
THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, discusses the latest on the threat from ISIS and the execution of American journalist James Foley. Plus, the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week's politics, with Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Maryland, ABC News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, and ABC News contributor and former Obama White House senior adviser David Plouffe. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. Tune in Sunday: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek
ABC's RICK KLEIN: There's little special anymore about a Mitt Romney speech, or a Paul Ryan event, at this stage. But Romney and Ryan together? Maybe they're on to something… Last night's joint appearance in Chicago - their first since 2012 - was a reminder that for all of the flaws of the GOP's 2012 presidential campaign, the ticket itself wasn't one of them. Democrats quickly portrayed the pairing as a flashback to the past. But it's a past that polls suggest the public would be ready to revisit. Ryan's (re-)endorsement of Romney isn't particularly helpful, since Romney won't run a third time and knows he looks better from afar than up close. Yet joint appearances by Romney and Ryan serve the purpose Ryan has been talking about: the need to offer alternatives, not just opposition. Maybe it's not impossible to get this band back together for a while.
ABC/YAHOO! VIDEO: VACATIONER IN CHIEF? In the latest installment of "Top Line," ABC's Rick Klein and Olivier Knox point out that, aside from his many rounds of golf, President Obama's Martha's Vineyard vacation was more notable for its crises and interruptions. Now that he's preparing to return, the president might want a vacation from his vacation. Watch: http://yhoo.it/1BJKXxc
MONITORING: OBAMA'S FRONTS
THE BUZZ, with ABC'S SCOTT WILSON ( @sfwilso )
EX GOV. MCDONNELL TAKES STAND, REVEALS BLEAK MARRIAGE IN CORRUPTION TRIAL. Facing corruption charges, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell characterized his marriage in stunningly bleak terms, taking the witness stand for a second consecutive day to discuss a marriage that, as he describes it, was filled with yelling, unpleasantness, and distance, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. McDonnell is on trial in Virginia over gifts his family received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, who has testified that he believes he was granted access and a platform at the governor's mansion to promote a nutritional supplement, in exchange for gifts that included a $20,000 shopping spree for Maureen McDonnell, the governor's wife, and $15,000 for the wedding catering of the McDonnell's daughter, Cailin. The total amount of lavish gifts, vacations, and cash loans is at least $165,000. A deteriorated marriage and evidence of emotional distance is a key to McDonnell's defense, which has contended that Bob and Maureen McDonnell were too far separated by marital differences to have collaborated on a quid pro quo for Williams in exchange for his gifts. http://abcn.ws/1BHITWA
WHY CONTROL OF THE SENATE MAY NOT BE KNOWN UNTIL DECEMBER. ABC's Jordyn Phelps reports: It could all come down to Louisiana, where Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing Rep. Bill Cassidy in one of the nation's most competitive races. Louisiana has what's referred to informally as a "jungle primary," where all qualified candidates run at once on Nov. 4, and if no one candidate wins over 51 percent of the vote, the election will proceed to a Dec. 6 runoff between the two candidates with the most votes. Increasing the chances of a runoff is the presence of tea-party favorite Col. Rob Maness, who could draw enough votes to extend the race for an extra month. http://abcn.ws/1ADxEgj
ICE-BUCKET BUZZKILL: LAWMAKERS, TOP GOV'T OFFICIALS CAN'T PARTICIPATE. Government officials may soon find themselves in hot water if they continue to insist on dumping buckets of ice on their heads, notes ABC's SCOTT WILSON. Participation in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has swept the country in recent weeks-and has even reached the halls of Congress. From Sen. Ted Cruz's theatrical ice bucket dumping to Sen. Lisa Murkowski's plunge into the frigid Alaskan waters, politicians across the United States are seizing the opportunity to get drenched for charity. Even Vice President Biden tweeted about the ALS Challenge-though he opted out of the ice water. But unfortunately for our nation's charity-loving federal officials-it appears that promoting a private charity through official communications might be against the law. Thursday the Associated Press obtained a State Department cable telling high-ranking officials that they are not permitted to participate in the ALS Challenge, because it violate ethics regulations. "There are firmly established rules preventing the use of public office, such as our ambassadors, for private gain, no matter how worthy a cause," the cable said. http://abcn.ws/1pjwEus
IN THE NOTE'S INBOX
REP. HULTGREN: WHAT I SAW IN ISRAEL: In a Sun-Times op-ed, the Illinois Republican recounts a recent trip to Jerusalem and concludes: "Israeli leaders are forced every day to make hard choices about what needs to be done to protect their citizens and their way of life. …There are no easy answers here. But across the political spectrum of the leaders we met, all are united in their belief that they have a right to exist and thrive. In Israel, I learned that this tiny nation isn't looking to expand - just to survive. And they have been helped along by the friendship of the United States." http://bit.ly/VHJHtI
@ThePlumLineGS Nice catch by @samsteinhp: Rand Paul, who hopes to make GOP more inclusive, comes out for deporting the DREAMers http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/21/rand-paul-daca_n_5698503.html …
@jamesgibney Eisenhower golfed his way thru Cold War, civil rights disturbances, etc. (800 times) - let's give Obama a Mulligan on this one and move on.