August 30th, 2013
05:56 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for August 28, 2013

CNN's POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for August 30, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

ALL EYES ON SYRIA: OBAMA MAKES HIS CASE; SAYS SYRIAN ATROCITIES THREATEN U.S. NATIONAL INTEREST: “This kind of attack is a challenge to the world. We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale. This kind of attack threatens our national security interests by violating well established international norms against the use of chemical weapons by further threatening friends and allies of ours in the region, like Israel and Turkey, and Jordan and it increases the risk that chemical weapons will be used in the future and fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us.”

OBAMA SAYS HE “MEANT WHAT HE SAID”: “So, I have said before, and I meant what I said that, the world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons. …

OBAMA PROMISES NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND “We are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act that would help make sure that not only Syria, but others around the world understand that the international community cares about maintaining this chemical weapons ban and norm. Again, I repeat, we're not considering any open-ended commitment. We're not considering any boots on the ground approach. What we will do is consider options that meet the narrow concern around chemical weapons, understanding that there's not going to be a solely military solution to the underlying conflict and tragedy that's taking place in Syria.” TRANSCRIPT LINK

THE BUZZ: LIZ CHENEY: 'I AM NOT PRO-GAY MARRIAGE' – GOP candidate for Senate in Wyoming splits from her sister and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney: "I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage. I believe the issue of marriage must be decided by the states, and by the people in the states, not by judges and not even by legislators, but by the people themselves." LINK

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end worst month in more than a year. Dow drops 4% in August. S&P loses 3%, Nasdaq slips 1%.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: U.N. inspectors start leaving Syria; Obama meets with security team
Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the American intelligence community has "high confidence" in what he called evidence and facts that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons. – Frederik Pleitgen and Tom Cohen LINK

Leading Drudge: Facebook War: Assad Son Taunts Obama!
A Facebook post said to be written by the 11-year-old son of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and “liked” or commented on by several people who appear to be the children and grandchildren of other senior members of Mr. Assad’s government, may offer a glimpse into the mindset of Syria’s ruling elite as the country braces for a potential Western strike in response to a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21. - Liam Stack, The New York Times LINK

Leading HuffPo: Trailblazing
Attorney General Eric Holder gave a green light on Thursday to two states whose efforts to legalize marijuana had been locked in by legal uncertainty for more than nine months. With that announcement, Colorado and Washington - both of which passed pro-pot initiatives at the polls last November - can now proceed with establishing a framework for the taxation and regulation of legal weed for adults. – Nick Wing LINK

Leading Politico: Report: 'High confidence' Syria used chemical weapons
The Obama administration has concluded there is “high confidence” that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people on Aug. 21, according to an unclassified four-page intelligence estimate released by the White House Friday afternoon. – Jonathan Allen and Reid J. Epstein LINK

Leading The New York Times: Kerry Outlines Evidence of Chemical Attack by Syria
Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday there is “clear” and “compelling” evidence that the government of President Bashar al-Assad used poison gas against its citizens. – Michael D. Shear LINK

(Answer below)

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is a medical doctor by training. In what specialty did he complete his residency?

MICHELLE (@mjaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

Secretary of State John Kerry made the administration’s case against Syria today in a riveting speech. He also made it clear that President Obama’s own credibility is part of the administration’s calculation.

Kerry, speaking from the State Department, said “our choice today has great consequences. It matters that nearly 100 years ago in direct response to the utter horror and inhumanity of World War I that the civilized world agreed that chemical weapons should never be used again. That was the world's resolve then. And that began nearly a century of effort to create a clear red line for the international community. …

“It is directly related to our credibility and whether countries still believe the United States when it says something. They are watching to see if Syria can get away with it, because then maybe they too can put the world at greater risk.”

The political bites of the day

- McCain, Graham: Syria action shouldn’t be ‘merely cosmetic’ -
SENS. JOHN MCCAIN AND LINDSEY GRAHAM RESPOND TO OBAMA’S SYRIA STATEMENT: “The purpose of military action in Syria should not be to help the President save face. It should not be merely cosmetic. Instead, the goal of military action should be to shift the balance of power on the battlefield against Assad and his forces. The United States, together with our friends and allies, should take out Assad’s air power, ballistic missiles, command and control, and other significant military targets, and we should dramatically increase our efforts to train and arm moderate Syrian opposition forces. This can be done in a limited way, without boots on the ground, and at minimal risk to our men and women in uniform.”

- Bush 43: ‘not going to get roped into’ Syria debate -
FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH TO FOX NEWS: “The president’s got a tough choice to make. If he decides to use the military, he’s got the greatest military in the world backing him up. … I was not a fan of Mr. Assad. He’s an ally of Iran, he’s made mischief.”

- How involved was al-Assad -
REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY), RANKING DEMOCRAT ON THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, ON CNN’S “NEW DAY:” “Well, there’s no doubt that Bashar al-Assad was directly involved, that he knew what happened. … Nothing happens in Syria without his involvement. It’s not where some underling can make a decision and do it. He has to approve this. And he is aligning himself with a terrorist group, Hezbollah. He’s become Iran’s proxy in Syria.”

- McConnell talks about his struggle with polio -
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL RARELY TALKS ABOUT THE DISEASE BUT DID SO AT A “WOMEN FOR TEAM MITCH” EVENT: “I’ve always felt that the discipline that my mother demonstrated … taught me a very early lesson that if you work hard, you’re likely to be able to overcome the obstacles.” LINK

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Jake Tapper ‏(@jaketapper)
POTUS: "A lot of people think something should be done but nobody wants to do it.”

Mike Allen ‏(@mikeallen)
AFP/Moscow quotes Kremlin: "Putin has no plans for a bilateral with Obama at G20 summit next week but will greet him and 'shake his hand'"

Larry Sabato (‏@LarrySabato)
We switched the rating in the VA-GOV race today to leans Democratic. Here's why:

Mike Memoli (‏@mikememoli)
Sen Manchin: Need "compelling evidence" of "imminent threat" to security of US or allies before military action taken. Test not met w/Syria

julie cart ‏(@julie_cart)
Let it burn? Yosemite park officials won't say that, but it's policy,0,5188654.story

Chris Brennan ‏(@ChrisBrennanDN)
Two versions of story: Unions say they denied Mayor Nutter a top DNC spot; Nutter says he didn't want it. [Code R71A]

The Daily Show (‏@TheDailyShow)
Get ready to fill a big Jon Stewart-sized hole in your life. Wait, that came out wrong. #WelcomeBackJon

Stefan Becket (‏@stefanjbecket)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg to officiate same-sex wedding via @washingtonpost


Perhaps one of the lesser-known facts about Bashar al-Assad is that before his military service, he studied medicine. He graduated from the University of Damascus in 1988 and was in residency in London with a focus in ophthalmology – the eye specialty.

(why aren't you in it?)

Congratulations to David Daniel for correctly answering today’s trivia question first. David is a CNN employee in Los Angeles, and although that gives him no advantage over anyone else, if we’re looking outside of the network, Steve Liguori was first. Congratulations, gentlemen.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. just saying


    is he referring to the atrocity of the first 200,000 people that assad killed using conventional weapons or the last 1,000 he killed using gas? and just what us national interest is threatened by some syrians dying in the suburbs of damascus? i see absolutely no us national interests being threatened when two parties that hate us are killing each other. our onlt true national interests are in seeing more of our enemies die. it is sad that innocents will die but that always happens in wars. we cannot do anything about that.

    i fear oabma is going to bumble and blather us into a major war. he's half way there at this point.

    August 30, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. not so fast

    “So, I have said before, and I meant what I said that, the world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons. …

    GOOD!!! Then let the rest of the world take up arms and attack Syria and LEAVE THE USA THE HECK OUT OF IT!!! This is a job for the United Nations. Let the rest of these useless countries do their part for once. Let's let them take the bull by the horns and do the dirty work and heavy lifting for once.

    August 30, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Steveo: Fair, I think you're being too harsh here I love wiener Schnitzel! As far as everything else you stated...100% agreed!

    You agree that calling another country a "third world cesspool" is appropriate, Steveo? How does this type of language fit in with that Christian philosophy you so proudly tout? Is not the entire world God's creation?

    August 31, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |