The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, September 2, 2013

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson, Will Cantine and Jordan Mazza

SYRIA: ABC News' Jonathan Karl : "Senior House Republican: Vote in House to Authorize Strike on Syria Would Fail if Held Today" A senior House Republican tells ABC News that if the vote to authorize a military strike in Syria were held today in the House, it would fail. "He needs to make the case" the senior Republican said, adding that he believes the President can ultimately prevail but that he will need to convince a large number of Democrats to vote in favor of military action. LINK

USA Today's David Jackson and Aamer Madhani: " Obama surprised staff with decision on Syria" The president's decision to seek congressional approval for a military strike against Syria came out of the blue - none of his national security team saw it coming, according to three senior administration officials. Obama told some of his senior advisers during a National Security Council meeting last weekend that he was leaning toward taking action against Syria, but had not made a final decision, said the officials, who spoke on the condition they not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Corey Boles: "Syria Debate Allying Left, Right on Executive-Branch Limits" The Syria debate in Congress is providing a new opportunity for a recent alliance of conservative and liberal lawmakers to cement their common interest in placing limits on executive authority. Already, House members from the political right and left have come together in an attempt to rein in the National Security Agency's surveillance of telephone-call data. LINK

The Hill's Ben Geman: " Obama's call to arms on Syria is met with skepticism at Capitol" President Obama's call for military action in Syria encountered broad skepticism on Sunday as lawmakers gathered at the Capitol for a classified briefing with administration officials. Members emerged from the meeting expressing deep doubts about an assault on Syria, putting into sharp relief the challenge facing Obama as he seeks passage of a resolution authorizing the strikes. LINK

The New York Daily News' Adam Edelman and Bill Hutchinson: " Obama administration presses Congress, reveals Syria's regime used deadly, banned sarin gas on people" The Obama administration turned up the heat Sunday on Congress to green-light a military strike on Syria, revealing dictator Bashar Assad's regime used sarin gas on its own people. Secretary of State Kerry said blood and hair samples taken from victims of the Aug. 21 attack in a Damascus suburb provided further proof that Assad unleashed globally banned chemical weapons that killed 1,429 people, including 426 children. LINK

The Washington Times' David Sherfinski: " Some GOP lawmakers skeptical Congress will OK military force in Syria" Secretary of State John F. Kerry predicted Sunday that the U.S. Congress would not "turn its back" on the Syrian people and U.S. allies in the Middle East, but two leading Republicans on Capitol Hill said prospects for support for the use of military authorization are dim. Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, said he doesn't think Congress would approve such an authorization. LINK

The New York Times' Albert R. Hunt: " Obama's Red Line Comes Back To Haunt Him" President Barack Obama, though he artfully articulated the need to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, is haunted by his own actions and words, as well as those of his predecessor. With no good options, the president made a persuasive case over the weekend for taking action against the "heinous" crime of chemical warfare, and assured a war-weary nation that any military action would be "limited in duration and scope." An immediate response was ruled out when he wisely vowed to seek congressional approval for a strike, even though that is likely to entail an ugly debate involving attacks on the administration's policies and credibility from the political left and the right. LINK

The New York Times' Anne Barnard and Gerry Mullany: " In Syria, And Mockery As Obama Delays Plan" President Obama's decision to seek Congressional approval for a military strike in response to reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria drew a range of reactions from Syrians on Sunday, with rebel leaders expressing disappointment and government leaders questioning Mr. Obama's leadership. Syria's government on Sunday mocked Mr. Obama's decision, saying it was a sign of weakness. A state-run newspaper, Al Thawra, called it "the start of the historic American retreat," and said Mr. Obama had hesitated because of a "sense of implicit defeat and the disappearance of his allies," along with fears that an intervention could become "an open war." LINK

The New York Times' Michael R. Gordon and Jackie Calmes: " President Seeks To Rally Support For Syria Strike" The Obama administration began a full-press campaign on Sunday for Congressional approval of its plan to carry out a punitive strike against the Syrian government. The lobbying blitz stretched from Capitol Hill, where the administration held its first classified briefing on Syria open to all lawmakers, to Cairo, where Secretary of State John Kerry reached Arab diplomats by phone in an attempt to rally international support for a firm response to the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus. LINK

The Washington Post's Paul Kane and Ed O'Keefe: " Syria Resolution Will Be 'A Very Tough Sell' In Congress, Lawmakers Say" Leading lawmakers dealt bipartisan rejection Sunday to President Obama's request to strike Syrian military targets, saying the best hope for congressional approval would be to narrow the scope of the resolution. From the Democratic dean of the Senate to tea party Republicans in their second terms, lawmakers said the White House's initial request to use force against Syria will be rewritten in the coming days to try to shore up support in a skeptical Congress. But some veteran lawmakers expressed doubt that even the new use-of-force resolution would win approval, particularly in the House. LINK

Politico's Seung Min Kim, Mackenzie Weinger and Jonathan Allen: " Patrick Leahy: New Syria Draft Text Coming" Sen. Patrick Leahy said Sunday that Senate Democratic aides are drafting new language for an authorization of military force in Syria. The news comes after an intense holiday Sunday with the administration pressing its case with reluctant lawmakers on the Hill and to the American public on the Sunday shows, while members of Congress attended classified briefings and tried to decide what to do now that Obama has forced them to take a stand. LINK

Bloomberg's Mark Deen: " Hollande Pushed To Join U.S., U.K. In Taking Syria To Lawmakers" President Francois Hollande faces increasing pressure to give France's National Assembly a say in his Syrian policy as the U.S. Congress prepares to vote on approving a military strike against the Middle Eastern country. President Barack Obama phoned Hollande yesterday to explain his decision to seek congressional authorization to strike the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad after the alleged use of chemical weapons in that nation's civil war, a spokeswoman for the French president's office said yesterday. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO: " U.S. Prepared To Launch Syrian Military Strike Alone" LINK

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