The Note: Obama Prepares NATO Pitch

By John R. Parkinson ( jparkABC)


  • OBAMA JETS TO ESTONIA: President Obama heads to Europe today, first stopping off in Estonia where the president there wants to establish a permanent NATO base. This week, Obama will to try to build an international coalition in the fight against ISIS, but those aren't the only leaders he'll need to persuade if he decides to expand airstrikes into Syria, ABC's JEFF ZELENY reports. Congress remains skeptical and divided, but they speak in unison about one thing: the president must seek Congressional approval before going forward. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, says it boils down to this: "The question is not whether these are bad guys. The question is whether the side effects of long-term engagement is worse for the United States than the cure we're seeking."
  • FOUR THINGS TO WATCH ON OBAMA'S TRIP Can the Obama Doctrine neutralize the Putin Doctrine? Can it quash the terror threat from radical Islamic extremism? The answers may well depend on President Obama's trip this week to Russia-bordering Estonia and a summit of NATO allies in Wales, perhaps the group's most consequential meeting since the Cold War, ABC's DEVIN DWYER notes.
  • PRESIDENT OBAMA NOTIFIES CONGRESS OF AMIRLI BOMBING, AIRDROP CAMPAIGN: President Obama notified Congress of his authorization of an expanded bombing and humanitarian airdrop campaign to help Shiite Turkmen surrounded by Sunni militants fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL or ISIS, in the town of Amirli, Iraq, according to a letter released by the White House Monday, ABC's CHRIS GOOD notes. "These additional operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli," Obama wrote in his letter to Congress.


ABC's RICK KLEIN: Vice President Joe Biden figures to be quite the draw for Democrats this fall, behind perhaps only a few people named Clinton, and maybe one named Warren, as the Democrat other Democrats want alongside them to help them in closely contested elections. To that end, Biden's rousing Labor Day speech in Detroit is worth paying attention to. "It's time to take back America," said the man who's been vice president of the United States for almost six years. Amid his calls for middle-class ownership opportunities and a "fair wage" came this: "I know I'm out of sync here, because I continue to believe middle class is not a number … it's a value set." Biden went on to deride "what the pollsters tell me now" about the middle class. On the presumption that Biden is talking to Democratic pollsters, possibly even pollsters employed by the White House, this is an admission with deep implications for the midterm year. The kinds of Democrats Biden was exhorting to vote aren't likely to do so this year, at least not for Democrats. As much as the midterms will make judgments about President Obama's vision for the nation, the Biden vision is worth measuring against election realities, too.

ABC's TOM SHINE: It is so new it doesn't even have a name yet, but it does have a price: $7 a day, $2500 a year per patient to treat millions who suffer from chronic heart failure. It would replace far less effective drugs that cost only $4 a month, according to the New York Times' Andrew Pollack . Then there's that $1,000 a pill, $84,000 Hepatitis C cure which some private and federal programs are already rationing. And apparently there are a slew of other promising miracle drugs in the pipeline. So much hope for millions of Americans who are real sick! But who will get these pricey drugs? And more importantly who will play God in making that decision? Or as Jason Millman, Oregon's drug buyer put it: "How far should society go to make sure the poor get the best treatment available?"

THE BUZZ with ABC's ERIN DOOLEY ( @erindooley1)

Cruz Invites Obama to Border, Calls for Bombing ISIS 'Back to the Stone Age.' Sen. Ted Cruz Saturday invited President Obama to accompany him to a golf course on the Texas-Mexico border, telling conservatives at an Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas he thought that was "the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come" to the region, ABC's CHRIS GOOD reports. The Texas Republican and potential 2016 presidential contender also heavily criticized the president's foreign policies and suggested that the U.S. should bomb ISIS "back to the stone age."

Rep. Tom Cole: Be 'Smart About What We Do' on ISIS. While some Republicans have criticized President Obama for not acting quickly enough to combat the growing threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said on "This Week" that the U.S. has to be "smart about what we do" and not rush to act, ABC's IMTIYAZ DELAWALA notes. "I think frankly there's way too much emphasis on acting now and doing something immediately instead of being smart about what we do," Cole said.

Richard Clarke Calls Obama 'Wrong' on World's Dangers. President Obama is "wrong" to downplay the dangers facing the United States, longtime counterterrorism official and ABC News contributor Richard Clarke said in response to the president's attempts to calm concern over the escalating threat from ISIS and turmoil in the Middle East, according to ABC's ADAM TEICHOLZ and KARI REA. Obama told an audience at a Democratic fundraiser in New York Friday that the "world has always been messy" but added, "I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago." Clarke, appearing Sunday Morning on "This Week," said simply, "I think he's wrong."

3 Million Refugees Have Fled Syria, UN Agency Says. More than 3 million people have sought refuge from the fighting in Syria, the United Nations' refugee agency announced Friday, according to ABC's ALI WEINBERG. That means the Syrian crisis, which has persisted since a civilian uprising began in 2011, is the biggest refugee operation in the UNHCR's 64-year history, the agency said.

President Obama: 'Every Gray Hair Is Worth It.' Fired up and in campaign form, President Obama delivered what appeared to be a pre-midterm stump speech on Monday to labor activists in Wisconsin, the state that became the labor movement's political epicenter in 2011, ABC's CHRIS GOOD notes. "Every gray hair is worth it," he told the crowd, pressing for economic policies such as a higher minimum wage in the face of GOP resistance. "The American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office."

Sen. Mary Landrieu's Newest Fight Is Over Her Louisiana Residency. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is the latest Washington veteran being forced to fend off a challenge to her reelection that alleges she is no longer a resident of her home state, but lives in DC, according to ABC's JORDYN PHELPS and CHRIS GOOD. A similar challenge succeeded in knocking off former Indiana senator Richard Lugar in 2012, despite - or because of - his 35 years in Congress.

Mississippi Judge Rejects Bid To Overturn Gop Runoff Results. A Mississippi judge on Friday tossed out a lawsuit filed by Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, who was seeking to overturn Republican incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran's narrow victory in their June primary runoff, ABC's NOAH WEILAND and SHUSHANNAH WALSHE note. Judge Hollis McGehee ruled that McDaniel failed to file the challenge within the 20-day period required by Mississippi law.

ABC/Fusion Investigation: Military Guns Missing From Police Agencies. The guns-drawn streets of Ferguson jolted America awake to the militarization of the nation's police. Local cops, often untrained in military tactics, may be carrying assault rifles used by our Marines and even Special Forces, commanding American boulevards from atop armored personnel carriers - all using surplus weaponry donated by the Pentagon in a program designed to better equip civilian police against terrorists and heavily armed criminals, ABC's JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL and Fusion's DANIEL RIVERO report. However, some police forces are not keeping track of these high-powered weapons, an ABC News/Fusion investigation revealed.



POWER PLAYERS: ON THE FRONT LINES WITH A U.S. BORDER PATROL AGENT: For border patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border, intercepting migrants is daily business, ABC's JIM AVILA reports.


CANTOR LANDS JOB ON WALL STREET: National Journal's Marina Koren explains how former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who resigned from office August 18, landed a job on Wall Street, where the former House Majority Leader will join the investment bank Moelis & Co. as vice chairman and board member.


DAVE BRAT PICKS UP ANOTHER ENDORSEMENT: Dave Brat, this election year's ultimate spoiler who knocked off former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in June, has received the support of another key conservative group in his bid to represent Virginia's 7 th Congressional District. "Dave's recent primary victory demonstrated that grassroots candidates can take on powerful incumbents and win against all odds," Senate Conservatives Fund President and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli stated in a release this morning.

VETERANS GROUP DINGS MCCONNELL: The veterans group is launching a $300,000 broadcast and cable ad buy across Kentucky, hitting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for blocking a $21 billion Democrat veterans bill last February. VoteVets says McConnell's "bullheadedness against funding veterans care into raw perspective" as the ad features a veteran expressing his frustrations to the 30-year incumbent.

NRCC TARGETS BARROW IN NEW AD BUY FEATURING COCAINE MONKEY: The National Republican Congressional Committee is up today in Georgia's 12 th Congressional District with a new TV ad attacking John Barrow for supporting President Obama's 2009 stimulus package and voting for $800,000 studying how monkeys react to cocaine. The ad is running in Savannah on broadcast and in Augusta on broadcast and cable, according to the NRCC spokeswoman.


@ScottWalker Had no problem greeting the President just like I have no problem explaining how I differ with him.

@RepDuckworth Bryan and I are expecting! Thank you for your kind words and support.

@USAID 600 million people in Africa don't have access to electricity. See how energy poverty affects students: … #PowerAfrica

@markknoller Estonia will be the 46 th foreign nation Pres Obama has visited. At same point, Pres GWBush had visited 34 nations; Pres Clinton 53.

@DavidMuir Can't wait to visit my friends @KellyandMichael this morning! Talking #WorldNewsTonight #MadeInAmerica