The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday, September 3, 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' Will Cantine, Jayce Henderson and Jordan Mazza

SYRIA ABC News' Shushannah Walshe and Arlette Saenz: " Obama Meets With Former Foe John McCain At The White House" Emerging from a White House meeting with President Obama on Monday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said it would be "catastrophic" for Congress to reject the president's request to take military action against Syria's use of chemical weapons, but that the administration needs to outline a stronger case to the American people. "If the Congress were to reject a resolution like this after the President of the United States has already committed to action, the consequences would be catastrophic in that the credibility of this country, with friends and adversaries alike, would be shredded and there would be not only implications for this presidency, but for future presidencies as well," McCain told reporters shortly after meeting with the president in the Oval Office. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib: " Obama's Road Map To Get Congressional Backing On Syria" In deciding he will ask Congress to authorize a military strike in Syria, President Barack Obama is gambling his presidency on the proposition that he can achieve the very goal that has proved most elusive to him for more than four years: a bipartisan consensus in a bitterly divided Congress. The formula for legislative victory starts not with the opposition Republicans but with his own Democrats, runs through the still-powerful pro-Israel caucus and ends with a band of Republican hawks who have been far more eager for action in Syria than has the president now seeking their help. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Kathleen Hennessey and Paul Richter: " Obama Steps Up Campaign For Congress' Support For Syria Strikes" The White House appealed Monday to two of Congress' most powerful interests - protecting Israel and challenging Iran - as President Obama and his aides scrambled to win lawmakers' support for a resolution authorizing punitive missile strikes in Syria. Obama led the full-throttle Labor Day lobbying campaign by dialing up congressional leaders and huddling for an hour with two Republican hawks, Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who now may prove pivotal to the president's aims. McCain later gave a qualified endorsement, which cheered the White House. LINK

The Washington Times' David R. Sands: " McCain: Rejection Of Syria War Resolution Would Be 'Catastrophic'" Emerging from a private briefing with President Obama at the White House on Monday, Sen. John McCain warned it would be "catastrophic" if Congress rejected a resolution authorizing Mr. Obama to take military action against Syria over its suspected use of chemical weapons. Mr. McCain, of Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, two of the leading Republican voices in the Senate on defense matters, met with Mr. Obama as part of a series of briefings with top lawmakers of both parties ahead of expected votes on possible military action against Syria next week. LINK

The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin: " McCain Says Rejecting Syria Resolution Would be 'Catastrophic'" Emerging from a closed-door session with President Obama, Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) said Congress needed to authorize the use of force to address the Syrian crisis or risk undermining the credibility of the president and the United States. "If the Congress were to reject a resolution like this, after the president of the United States has already committed to action, the consequences would be catastrophic, in that the credibility of this country with friends and adversaries alike would be shredded," McCain told reporters. LINK

The Hill's Justin Sink: " White House Open To Changing Draft Language On Syria": A senior administration official said Monday that the White House was "open to working with Congress" on changes to language proposed for the authorization to use military force in Syria, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle suggested changes were necessary to garner their votes. The concession comes one day after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy indicated that he planned to rewrite and narrow the president's request, which gives Obama permission to use "necessary and appropriate" force. LINK

The New York Daily News' Bill Hutchinson: " Russia Seeks To Stop U.S. Strike Against Syria, Slams Chemical Weapons Evidence" The Russians were scheming Monday to go to Washington and throw a wrench into President Barack Obama's plan to get congressional backing for a punitive strike against Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin supports an idea floated by two top Russian lawmakers to send a delegation to lobby Congress to vote against U.S. military intervention in Syria. Putin's meddling came days after the Obama administration attempted to prove its allegation that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's regime launched a sarin gas attack in the Damascus suburbs Aug. 21 - killing 1,429 people, including 426 children. LINK

USA Today's Susan Davis and Aamer Madhani: " The Six Key Players In Congress' Syria Debate" A week ago, it seemed the question of whether to take military action against Syria rested solely on the shoulders of President Obama. But he has turned to Congress to authorize military airstrikes against Syria for using chemical weapons, setting up the most consequential foreign policy vote since the 2002 authorization of the Iraq War. LINK

The New York Times' Jackie Calmes, Michael R. Gordon, and Eric Schmitt: " President Gains McCain's Backing on Syria Attack" The White House's aggressive push for Congressional approval of an attack on Syria appeared to have won the tentative support of one of President Obama's most hawkish critics, Senator John McCain, who said Monday that he would back a limited strike if the president did more to arm the Syrian rebels and the attack was punishing enough to weaken the Syrian military. In an hourlong meeting at the White House, said Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, Mr. Obama gave general support to doing more for the Syrian rebels, although no specifics were agreed upon. LINK

Politico's John Bresnahan: " New Senate Syria Plan Limits Barack Obama" Senate leaders are working on a revised resolution authorizing U.S. strikes in Syria that puts President Barack Obama on a short leash in responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad's forces, sources said Monday. But whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) can find the 60 votes he will need to overcome an expected filibuster of the new Syria proposal is still far from clear. LINK

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