Who Needs A Hug?

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • WHITE HOUSE: HILLARY REMAINS OBAMA'S 'CLOSE FRIEND' DESPITE RECENT TENSION: Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told ABC's JON KARL yesterday that Hillary Clinton "remains a close friend of the President's" and that their friendship "extends well beyond any differences or anything that is spun up in the public sphere," despite her comments to The Atlantic about Obama's approach to several foreign policy challenges, particularly Syria. Rhodes said tonight when they will both attend a private party in Martha's Vineyard "they'll have a good chance to see each other, have a laugh about this, move on." WATCH: http://abcn.ws/Y2fzdZ
  • HILLARY PLANS ON 'HUGGING IT OUT' WITH OBAMA: According to Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill, the former secretary of state looks forward to "hugging it out" with the president at tonight's party, ABC's ERIN DOOLEY notes. In an interview with The Atlantic published Monday, Clinton said, "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle." In a statement to ABC News, Merrill said, "While they've had honest differences on some issues, including aspects of the wicked challenge Syria presents, she has explained those differences. … Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night." http://abcn.ws/1q760Rs


ABC's JEFF ZELENY: President Obama may have declined the ALS ice challenge from Ethel Kennedy, but there's another frigid appointment awaiting him: A meeting tonight with Hillary Clinton on Martha's Vineyard. The former Secretary of State's criticism of the president and his foreign policy in that well-read Atlantic interview was less surprising than her attempt to apologize and clarify. If she moves forward with a presidential bid next year, she will surely have to put some distance between her and the old boss. Voters in a Democratic primary, and certainly a general election, would demand it. So even though the play-by-play commentary in the latest round of Clinton v. Obama was overplayed -like many August stories tend to be - the apology actually makes it intriguing. Not only does it show that she's still respectful and deferential to Obama, but also raises a question: Will she always be this busy cleaning up her remarks? From 'Dead broke' earlier this summer to this, the clean up aisle is getting crowded.

ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: The Republican State Leadership Committee will announce today that their group launched to woo female GOP candidates "Right Women, Right Now" has passed their recruitment goal. They have 558 new female candidates for state-level races across the country from at least 47 states, exceeding their goal of 300, the group tells ABC News. The RSLC is holding an online campaign school for all their Republican candidates this summer. "Right Women, Right Now" is part of the RSLC's Future Majority Project, chaired by Govs. Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada. This is an outreach group to try and identify candidates of Hispanic descent. RWRN also launched 14 female candidates to watch from states including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, and more. These are the races that won't make the national radar, but as Republicans try to take control of even more statehouses across the country they are critcally important for both sides of the aisle.


NEW BOOK: BEING ASSIGNED TO HILLARY CLINTON'S SECRET SERVICE DETAIL 'A FORM OF PUNISHMENT.' There's no worse assignment for a Secret Service agent than protecting Hillary Clinton, if claims in a controversial new book are to be believed. Ronald Kessler's book, "First Family Detail," is filled with salacious revelations about the secret personal lives of the nation's most high-profile political leaders. But the authenticity of those revelations has been called into question over factual inaccuracies in the book, as well as its reliance on anonymous Secret Service agents. "She is so nasty to agents that being assigned to her detail is considered a form of punishment," Kessler said of Clinton in an interview with ABC's RICK KLEIN, host of "Top Line." Clinton continues to receive Secret Service protection as a former first lady. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/1rqmxBU



ARE PRESIDENT OBAMA'S VACATIONS CURSED? For the past six years, it might seem like there has been a coordinated effort underway between Mother Nature, Vladimir Putin and House Republicans to make sure President Obama can never vacation peacefully. From the fiscal cliff (2012) to Crimea, to this year's crisis in Iraq, President Obama's vacations seem to be interrupted every time he sets out for some much-needed rest and relaxation. In reality it's simply the nature of the job - whether the president is in the Oval Office or kicking back on the beach, the news doesn't stop and emergencies, disasters and political turmoil keep coming. The man can't even have a beach day without making a statement on Iraq. ABC's SCOTT WILSON looked back at the first family's vacations over the past few years and found that, much of the time, Obama just can't catch a break: http://abcn.ws/1sPbXFC

U.S. SENDS 130-MEMBER MILITARY ASSESSMENT TEAM TO ERBIL. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced that the United States has sent a new 130 member military assessment team to Erbil in northern Iraq to determine what further assistance the U.S. can provide in easing the humanitarian crisis of thousands of Yazidis trapped at Mount Sinjar, ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ reports. For now, the United States has provided five airdrops of food and water to the Yazidis and conducted 18 airstrikes targeting ISIS fighters surrounding the mountain or who were approaching Erbil. Addressing a group of Marines during a visit to Camp Pendleton in California, Hagel said the team had arrived in northern Iraq "to take a closer look and give a more in-depth assessment of where we can continue to help the Iraqis with what they're doing and the threats that they are now dealing with." The new team is in addition to the 40 U.S. military personnel already in Erbil who for several weeks have been manning a Joint Operations Center with Kurdish military forces. http://abcn.ws/1r87mBK

BATTLE OF THE SUMMER VACATION HOMES: OBAMAS VS. CLINTONS. With the first family in tow, President Obama jetted off for a two-week vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, over the weekend. Meanwhile, Bill and Hillary Clinton decamped for their rental home in the Hamptons last week. Yes, there are political points to be scored here - Could the Clinton's pricey vacation alienate some voters in 2016 especially with Hillary Clinton's "dead broke" comment still resonating? Does the president's penchant for golf suggest he's taking his eye off pressing international and domestic matters? (Sen. Ted Cruz seems to think so). But, as long as we're in a scoring mood, here's the really important question: who's got it better this summer - the Obamas or the Clintons? Here's ABC's ERIN DOOLEY's scorecard: http://abcn.ws/1q785N6


"EXCLUSIVE: SEN. MARY LANDRIEU'S CAMPAIGN FLIGHT WAS CHARGED TO TAXPAYERS," by CNN's Chris Frates. "Sen. Mary Landrieu made headlines last November when she hitched a ride home on Air Force One with President Obama, but chose not to attend his event in New Orleans. Another lesser-known flight Landrieu took that same day mistakenly cost taxpayers more than $3,000. CNN has learned that the vulnerable Louisiana Democrat used government money to charter a private plane to travel to a campaign fundraiser, in violation of federal law. Landrieu spent more than $3,200 in taxpayer money to fly 400 miles round trip from New Orleans to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she attended a $40-per person fundraising lunch with hundreds of women, according to Senate records and Landrieu campaign information. It is illegal to spend government money campaigning. Landrieu's campaign spokesman, Fabien Levy, said in a statement that the charter company mistakenly billed Landrieu's Senate office instead of her re-election campaign. Levy said the campaign noticed the error a few weeks ago and asked the company to refund the Senate office and bill the campaign, which the company did. Levy said Landrieu's re-election campaign paid for the flight August 4, almost nine months after the November 8 trip. 'We take our finances very seriously and are glad we caught the vendor's mistake and were able to rectify the matter as soon as possible,' Levy said." http://cnn.it/1l2CPD5


@alexis_levinson: At the Iowa State Fair, Chuck Grassley pretty much gets treated like a rockstar http://atr.rollcall.com/iowa-state-fair-chuck-grassley/?dcz= … #rollcallontheroad

@jonallendc: Clinton and Paul in the Hamptons, Obama in the vineyard. Who just throws the kids in the motorcade and drives cross country anymore?

?@nationaljournal: If Democrats lose the Senate, Harry Reid deserves the blame http://bit.ly/1uOluOq

@OKnox: True Bowe Bergdahl story? Or "Swift-Boating"? My colleague @Isikoff digs into book proposal by his former comrades: http://yhoo.it/1kB74Rc

@matthewjdowd: Wonderful Wednesday to you! Let us each allow our judgments to pass and accept all for where they are today. Ns love in that moment.

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