The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday September 10, 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' Carrie Halperin, Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and Will Cantine

SYRIA ABC News' Abby Phillip: " Obama: Strike 'Absolutely' on Hold if Syria Abandons Chemical Weapons" If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives up his chemical weapons, a military strike would "absolutely" be on pause, President Obama said today. "I consider this a modestly positive development," Obama told ABC News' Diane Sawyer in an interview at the White House when asked whether Syria's apparent willingness to relinquish control of its chemical weapons would prevent a U.S. strike. "Let's see if we can come up with language that avoids a strike but accomplishes our key goals to make sure that these chemical weapons are not used," the president said. LINK

ABC News' John Parkinson: " House Lawmakers Harden Opposition to Syria Strikes" After listening to a classified briefing from five senior administration officials this evening, two more lawmakers came out in opposition to strikes against Syria, one went from undecided to leaning against, while another dozen hardened their positions from "lean against" to opposed. At this point, even undecided members acknowledge that the vote on authorization stands virtually no chance of passing the House. But it might be a moot point considering the optimism some lawmakers expressed at Russia's proposal that it take over policing responsibilities of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles. LINK

The Hill's Julian Pecquet: " Obama and lawmakers seize on Russian offer on Syrian weapons" A possible deal to avoid a U.S. military strike on Syria emerged unexpectedly Monday when Russia, seizing on comments by Secretary of State John Kerry, called on President Bashar Assad to hand over his chemical weapons. The dramatic development added to uncertainty over congressional votes on President Obama's request for authorization of air strikes against Syria, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers saying Russia's plan was a way to avoid military action and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) delaying a planned procedural vote in the Senate on Wednesday. LINK

USA Today's David Jackson: " Obama undecided on Syria strike if Congress says no" Taking his case against Syria to the nation's airwaves, President Obama said Monday he doesn't yet know if he will order military strikes even if the House or Senate reject the idea. "It's fair to say I haven't decided," Obama told NBC News, one of six television interviews conducted at the White House. Obama also told network anchors he is aware of public opposition, isn't confident he has the support of Congress right now, and that final Senate and House votes could be delayed. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Carol Lee and Janet Hook: " Obama Push to Hit Syria Takes Detour" President Barack Obama's campaign for an attack on Syria took an unexpected turn as his administration inadvertently gave the Assad regime a potential way out that spawned second thoughts on Capitol Hill and enthusiasm among international opponents of a military strike. After Secretary of State John Kerry suggested in off-the-cuff comments that President Bashar al-Assad could avert an attack by promptly handing his chemical weapons to the international community, Russia declared its support and quickly got Damascus on board. LINK

Bloomberg's Henry Meyer, Nicole Gaouette and David Lerman: " Russia Seizes on Kerry Comment on Syria Giving Up Weapons" Russia seized on a casual comment by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to urge that Syria turn over its arsenal of chemical weapons to international control to avert an American military strike. "If the establishment of international control of chemical weapons in the country will help avoid military strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after meeting with his Syrian counterpart in Moscow. LINK

The Washington Times' Ben Wolfgang and Dave Boyer: " Bombing on hold: Obama open to Russian proposal for Syrian crisis" Backing away from a proposed military attack, President Obama said Monday night he will pursue a Russian proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons stockpile under international control. "We will pursue this diplomatic track," Mr. Obama said in an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace. LINK

Politico's Jake Sherman: " Joe Biden To Meet With House Republicans" A group of House Republicans are meeting with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday morning, according to a number of senior House GOP sources. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) - a member of Republican leadership - will be one attendee at the White House meeting with Biden. The meeting will be at 9:30 a.m., in the middle of the House Republican Conference's first meeting back after a five-week recess. Jenkins has firmly said she'll vote against military action in Syria. Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides have come to grips with the fact that the House will be hard-pressed to pass a resolution to give President Barack Obama authority to attack Syria. LINK

Politico's Josh Gerstein: " Obama's Accidental Diplomacy" President Barack Obama has stumbled into a possible resolution of the Syria showdown, after an act of apparently accidental U.S. diplomacy seemed to deliver a potential way to wriggle out of his political predicament . Secretary of State John Kerry suggested at a London news conference Monday morning that the crisis could be defused if Syrian President Bashar Assad surrendered his chemical weapons to an international force. The Russians jumped on the idea and Monday evening Obama was sounding open to the proposal. LINK

The Washington Post's Paul Kane and Ed O'Keefe: " Obama's Push For Syria Action Runs Into Growing Opposition" Congressional support for President Obama's push for a military strike against Syria continued to erode Monday as key lawmakers in both parties announced their opposition, while others began searching for alternatives to the proposed cruise-missile attacks. As the opposition piled up, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) pulled back his plan for a test vote Wednesday on the use-of-force resolution, delaying by at least a day that first hurdle. This will allow Obama to make his case to both Senate caucuses at Tuesday's weekly policy luncheons, as well to the nation in a televised address Tuesday night. LINK

The Washington Post's Zachery A Goldfarb: "Obama Administration's Message On Syria Is Muddled" Speaking Monday in London, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that a U.S. military strike on Syria would constitute an "unbelievably small, limited kind of effort." Later at the White House, President Obama insisted that any such action would be significant. "The U.S. does not do pinpricks," he told an NBC News interviewer. "Our military is the greatest the world has ever known." LINK

The New York Times' Mark Landler and Megan Thee-Burman: " Survey Reveals Backing For Syria Strike" A broad majority of Americans, exhausted by nearly a dozen years of war and fearful of tripping into another one, are opposed to a military strike on Syria, even though most say they think Syrian forces used chemical weapons against civilians, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Those findings illustrate the depth of the challenge facing President Obama as he tries to win support for a limited strike from a deeply reluctant Congress and an American public that has become steadily more skeptical of foreign engagement. LINK

NY MAYORAL RACE The New York Daily News' Erin Durkin , Reuven Blau and Jennifer Fermino: " TO THE BITTER END: Bill de Blasio bids to hold lead as Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson call in big celebrity backers" Bill Thompson swept through nine black churches. Christine Quinn targeted women and Latinos. Bill de Blasio returned to his political base in Brooklyn.And celebrity supporters - from Harry Belafonte to Lorraine Bracco of "Sopranos" fame - were everywhere. LINK

IMMIGRATION Politico's Seung Min Kim: " Nancy Pelosi Hosts Immigration Talk" House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is hosting a dinner at her home Monday for a slew of House Democrats for a conversation focused on immigration, according to several sources. Lawmakers scheduled to attend the get-together span a wide spectrum of the House Democratic ranks, including those who sit on the Steering and Policy Committee, the party's progressive members, and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Obama: Strike 'Absolutely' on Hold if Syria Abandons Chemical Weapons" LINK " The Accident Diplomat: John Kerry's Decent Proposal" LINK " John Kerry Describes 'Unbelievably Small' Military Effort in Syria" LINK

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