The Note: Vacation Ends for Obama

By CHRIS GOOD ( @c_good)


  • THE PRESIDENT RETURNS: President Obama is back at the White House after another week in Martha's Vineyard (and, as Politico described it, a "vacation from Hell"). Marine One touched down on the South Lawn just after 10:20 p.m. last night, concluding 14 days of vacation for Obama. The president arrived with the first lady and Malia in tow, pool reported last night. He'll meet with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today but has no public events (and nothing listed for the rest of the week yet, either).
  • A VACATION INTERRUPTED: The president's relaxation time was largely overcome by events. He played 9 rounds of golf and went to the beach with his family twice, by ABC's count, but he also addressed TV cameras four times and, per AP, he phoned nine foreign leaders and issued three disaster declarations to go along with one family bike ride, one hike with FLOTUS, one fundraiser headlined, and four dinners out. Obama left for Martha's Vineyard on Aug. 9, returned to D.C. late at night on Sunday, Aug. 16 for three days of meetings and a live, televised appearance to discuss Iraq and Ferguson, then went back to the Vineyard on Aug. 19 and came back late last night.
  • ICYMI: GOP ON OBAMA'S VACATION: 'OUR COUNTRY DESERVES BETTER': RNC Chairman Reince Priebus made Obama's vacation the focus of the GOP's weekly radio/YouTube address, saying, "This month, President Obama's been on vacation. He attended his 401st fundraiser. He's now played over 190 rounds of golf as president. Now, we all deserve some time off. But you have to wonder: where are his priorities? "

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING: ARIZONA DEM PRIMARY ON TUESDAY. From Fusion's Jordan Fabian: A Phoenix-area congressional race hasn't earned much attention nationally. But the contest for Arizona's 7th Congressional District has become one of the most hotly contested and acrimonious campaigns of this midterm election season. On Tuesday, voters will choose a replacement for Ed Pastor (D), the first Latino elected to Congress in Arizona. … Former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and ex-state Rep. Ruben Gallego are the frontrunners in the four-candidate primary field. They've both tapped into the Latino community for support in a district where more than six in 10 residents are Hispanic. But a campaign that started with a positive tone has devolved into mudslinging, which could be a turnoff for many constituents.

ABC/YAHOO! VIDEO: FORMER NASA LEADER: U.S. SPACE PROGRAM HELD HOSTAGE BY RUSSIA: "We're in a hostage situation; Russia can decide, if it wishes to do so, no more U.S. astronauts can ride to the International Space Station, and that's not a position that I want our nation to be in," former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin says.


ISIS INTENT ON HITTING WEST, MCCAUL BELIEVES. House Homeland Security Chair Rep. Michael McCaul said Sunday he believes that ISIS, the jihadist army that has taken control of large part of Iraq and brutally murdered American journalist James Foley, has external operations under way to hit the West, ABC's BENJAMIN BELL reports. "Their focus right now is establishing the caliphate. But don't kid yourself for a second, they [are] intent on hitting the West. And there are external operations, I believe, under way," McCaul, R-Texas, told ABC's George StephanopouloS on "This Week."

MILITARIZATION OF POLICE SHOULD BE EXAMINED, FORMER NYPD COMMISSIONER SAYS. Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Sunday that the federal programs that arm local forces with military-style equipment should be reviewed, perhaps limiting access to situations when there is "a major emergency," according to ABC's KARI REA. The issue of whether police should be using military equipment has heated up since Missouri police began patrolling the streets of Ferguson, Mo., dressed in SWAT gear and pointing automatic weapons at crowds. "I think the military equipment, the distribution of excess military equipment, has to be examined," Kelly told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week." "The optics … are not good."

THE BUZZ, with ABC'S ERIN DOOLEY ( @erindooley1 )

RICK PERRY HONORS JAMES FOLEY IN HIS NEW HAMPSHIRE HOMETOWN. Texas Gov. Rick Perry commemorated the life of James Foley, the American journalist brutally murdered by ISIS, in his New Hampshire hometown Saturday, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes. "This young man personified what courage is all about. He showed us sacrificial service. He went into dangerous parts of the world to shine a bright light into dark places," Perry said. "It is a very important job that James Foley was engaged in."

'KISSING CONGRESSMAN' MAKES BALLOT, FACES 'DUCK DYNASTY' SNUB. Louisiana's "Kissing Congressman" Vance McAllister, seeking a political rebound after he was caught on a surveillance video kissing a staffer, qualified to be on the ballot Friday, but he also got a challenge from the "Ducky Dynasty" family that helped him get elected in the first place, ABC's JORDYN PHELPS notes. After qualifying for the ballot in the morning, McAllister donned a New Orleans Saints jersey and was doused with a bucket of icy water, joining in what has become a viral campaign to raise money for research and awareness of ALS.

RICK PERRY SELLING DOUBLE-MUGSHOT T-SHIRTS. Texas Governor Rick Perry's smiling mugshot now has its own t-shirt, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. RickPAC is selling t-shirts bearing the mugshots of Perry and Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County District Attorney at the center of the governor's indictment. The front of the t-shirt features Perry's mugshot with a stamp that says "WANTED" and the words "for securing the border and defeating Democrats." And on the back- Lehmberg's mugshot says "GUILTY" for "driving will intoxicated and perversion of Justice."

ONE YEAR LATER, SYRIAN CHEMICAL ATTACK VICTIM HAUNTED BY MEMORIES. It was right after morning prayers and still dark, recalls 28-year-old Qusai Zakarya, when the alarms started to go off and rockets hit his suburban neighborhood outside Damascus last August. Though the country had been engulfed in war for over two years, this was different. "It was something we never witnessed before," Zakarya said, and since he could not see the gas he was not sure what was happening. ABC's MARYALICE PARKS has the story.

JOHN KERRY SPOTTED IN NANTUCKET. While the State Department hasn't said where John Kerry was last week - he was out of the office the department has told media, without confirming his location on the record - it appears the secretary was spotted by a handful of Twitter users and one Instagrammer vacationing in Nantucket, according to ABC's CHRIS GOOD. Kerry apparently took a break from Washington, D.C., life at the same time as his boss, President Obama, who was vacationing in Martha's Vineyard.

RICK PERRY DOESN'T 'REALLY UNDERSTAND THE DETAILS' OF HIS INDICTMENT. Texas Gov. Rick Perry returned to New Hampshire Friday for the first time since 2012, as he tries to rehab his political image after a failed presidential bid, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes. Asked about his indictment during a question-and-answer session with business leaders, Perry was a little unclear when explaining what felony charges were issued against him. "I've been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I'm not a lawyer, so I don't really understand the details here," Perry said of the grand jury that indicted him.

HARRY REID MAKES ASIAN JOKES, APOLOGIZES. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, apologized Friday for Asian-themed jokes he made while speaking to the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas on Thursday night, ABC's SCOTT WILSON reports. "My comments were in extremely poor taste and I apologize. Sometimes I say the wrong thing," Reid said in his brief statement.

ISIS THREAT FOCUS TURNS TO SYRIA. America's top military officials have acknowledged that ISIS will not be defeated without taking the fight to Syria, but the Pentagon on Friday tamped down any expectation that the U.S. could soon ramp up its help for moderate forces opposing Bashar al-Assad and fighting with ISIS in the country, ABC's DANA HUGHES reports. "I know of no plans to try to accelerate it," Department of Defense spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters, when asked if the Pentagon would speed up $500 million in funding to help moderate Syrian rebels, which it's requested for next year.


'U.S. REPUBLICANS PRESSURE OBAMA TO STEP UP ACTION AGAINST ISIS,' by David Morgan/Reuters: "Republicans on Sunday called for more aggressive U.S. action to defeat Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, accusing President Barack Obama of policies that have failed to thwart potential new threats on U.S. soil. Representative Mike Rogers, Republican chairman of the House of Representative Intelligence Committee, urged the administration to work with Arab partners on robust steps to disrupt the operations of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He said the group is drawing support from Europeans and Americans who could travel undetected to Western countries to carry out attacks. 'They are one plane ticket away from U.S. shores,' Rogers said on NBC's 'Meet the Press' program." More:

'INSIDE THE DEMOCRATS' PLAN TO SAVE ARKANSAS-AND THE SENATE,' by Molly Ball/The Atlantic: "To beat the odds, across the country Democrats have mounted an ambitious political organizing effort-the first attempt to replicate the Obama campaign's signature marriage of sophisticated technology and intensive on-the-ground engagement on a national scale without Obama on the ballot. The effort is particularly noticeable in states like Arkansas and Alaska, which have small electorates and which haven't been presidential battleground states for a decade or more." More:


@hblodget EXCLUSIVE WITH PAUL RYAN: Obama's foreign policy sucks, we need to "finish off" ISIS … @BrettLoGiurato

@powelldennis ABC's @DrRichardBesser is in Monrovia, Liberia covering the #Ebola outbreak there. Be sure to follow for updates.

@mattyglesias Burger King hatching plan to avoid taxes by becoming Canadian: …

@gabrielsherman Time Inc CEO Joe Ripp told me that print will "ultimately die." A startling comment for a guy who runs country's biggest magazine publisher

@espn Here's what happened when a fan promised free drinks for all if Michael Sam sacked Manziel and did the money sign ->

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