READ IN: Friday, August 8, 2014: New strikes in Iraq, Alexander wins by 9, DesJarlais up by just 35 votes, Walsh quits, ‘Star Trek’ councilman running for Senate in N.C.

August 8, 2014

A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.

-- President Obama authorized airstrikes against Sunni Muslim extremists making gains in northern Iraq on Thursday. Obama said in a televised address Thursday night U.S. forces would hit ISIS convoys if they move toward the Kurdish capital Irbil. The military also began dropping food and water for tens of thousands of Yazidi who have been hiding atop a mountain near the Syrian border. Obama said no ground combat troops would return to Iraq. (Washington Post)

-- Militants began firing rockets into Israel Friday morning as a three-day cease-fire expired and diplomatic talks in Cairo stalled. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed the military to respond forcefully to the strikes, and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Army Radio that Israel would "seriously consider" sending ground troops back into Gaza. (Washington Post)

-- The World Health Organization has declared an international public health emergency over the Ebola outbreak that has killed almost 1,000 people in West Africa. WHO officials predicted the outbreak would get worse before it gets better; they called for a coordinated response and said the countries impacted don't have the resources to manage the outbreak. (New York Times)

-- The storm system Iselle was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm just as the outer edges began hitting the Big Island of Hawaii late Thursday. Iselle is expected to continue losing strength, but not before it drops 5 to 8 inches of rain across the Big Island. State officials ended early voting ahead of Saturday's primary election. Meanwhile, Hurricane Julio, about 900 miles east of Hilo, has strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

-- Richard Nixon resigned from office 40 years ago tomorrow. Don't miss the Washington Post's Watergate at 40 feature, from a couple of years ago. Perfect way to spend an August Friday.

-- Front Pages: WaPo, NYT, WSJ, LA Times and USA Today all lead with Obama's authorizing military strikes against ISIS rebels and humanitarian relief in northern Iraq.

National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.

-- Tennessee: Sen. Lamar(!) Alexander (R) took 49.7 percent of the vote, beating back state Rep. Joe Carr (R) by a 9-point margin. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R) fended off venture capitalist Weston Wamp by a scant 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent margin, while Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) leads state Sen. Jim Tracy (R) by just 35 votes, with absentee ballots yet to be counted. (Tennessean) Former SNL cast member Victoria Jackson lost a primary election for Williamson County Commission. (Tennessean) And voters retained three state Supreme Court judges who came under fire from conservatives, who said they were too liberal for the state. (New York Times)

-- Montana: Sen. John Walsh (D) said he would end his campaign to keep his seat two weeks after a plagiarism scandal rocked his campaign. Montana Democrats have until Monday to select a replacement, a task that falls to about 175 members of the state party. (Billings Gazette) Possible names they could kick around: Former NARAL president Nancy Keenan, EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock, former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger (D). One name not on many lists: Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D).

-- New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie (R) will travel to Mexico in September for a three-day trade mission, his office said Thursday, his first international visit of his second term. Christie will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Christie aides planning the trip say the choice of a Spanish-speaking country is significant, and Christie plans to spend time meeting everyday residents. (New York Times)

-- Alaska: Sen. Mark Begich (D) has been touting his across-the-aisle work with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) in TV ads, and Murkowski isn't happy about it. Murkowski's office has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Begich's campaign, demanding he take the ad down. (Wall Street Journal)

-- Florida: State legislators returned to Tallahassee on Thursday for a special session on redistricting after a Leon County judge struck down the state's district lines. House and Senate leaders submitted a plan that makes minor changes to the two districts, held by Reps. Corrine Brown (D) and Dan Webster (R). The Senate will vote Monday on the proposed changes, while the House votes Tuesday. Judge Terry Lewis will decide how to proceed by Aug. 20. (Miami Herald)

-- Virginia: Former Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie Williams was allowed to invite 25 people to a 2012 reception for Virginia health care leaders at the governor's mansion, former staffers testified during the trial of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and former first lady Maureen McDonnell. Virginia Secretary of Health William Hazel testified Thursday he was "not excited to see" Williams or his additions at the reception. (Washington Post)

DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.

-- President Obama has meetings with Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker scheduled for the Roosevelt Room today.

-- Vice President Biden called Iraqi Kurdistan regional president Masoud Barzni late Thursday, before Obama spoke on the deepening crisis in northern Iraq. The White House didn't release details on Biden's schedule today.

-- A smart phone app designed to make ordering pizza easy launched this week without allowing D.C. residents to input their state code. Type in a D.C. address and the app replies: "DC is not a valid state." "Forty-eight hours and D.C. already hates us," one of the app's founders sighed. (Washington Post)

TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.

-- National: Democrats are using their paid advertising to talk about local issues, while Republicans are talking about national issues, according to a new CMAG survey. Only two candidates -- former Sen. Scott Brown (R) and Rep. Tom Cotton (R) -- are using their ads to talk about immigration. Democrats in Alaska, Kentucky and Louisiana are all highlighting energy as a top issue. (Cook Political Report)

-- Florida: Rep. Steve Southerland (R) is preparing to hit the airwaves next week. His campaign has purchased $25,000 in broadcast time in the Dothan and Tallahassee markets as he defends his 2nd District seat. Leon County schools official Gwen Graham (D) has been on air for a little more than a month; she's spending about $50,000 a week on her ads.

-- Hawaii: State Rep. Mark Takai (D), running to replace Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) in the Honolulu-based 1st District, got big-time last minute help from VoteVets.org. The group reported spending $75,000 on mailings on Takai's behalf just before tomorrow's primary. (FEC) Takai is one of seven Democrats running, including two state senators and three Honolulu city councilmembers.

The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.

-- In an interview, Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) called Rep. Bruce Braley (D) "a litigious individual," and the super PAC America Rising sent a film crew to tiny Brooklyn, Iowa, to interview one of Braley's neighbors about an incident involving wandering chickens. When the neighbor offered Carolyn Braley a dozen fresh eggs, Braley replied: "We aren't going to accept your eggs -- and we have filed a formal complaint against you." (Washington Post) Braley's unforced errors are giving Republicans a big opening.

B1: Business, politics and the business of politics

-- The FCC on Thursday requested comments on a proposal that could require cable and satellite providers and radio stations to post information on political ads that run on their stations online. The FCC already requires broadcast television stations to post political ad data online. (Sunlight Foundation)

-- Malaysia's state investment firm said it would take Malaysia Airlines private as part of a restructuring plan aimed at revitalizing the airline. The firm owns almost 70 percent of the airline already. (Wall Street Journal)

-- Stock futures are up slightly in pre-market trading today, after the Dow dropped 75 points on Thursday. International markets were down across the world today; the Nikkei lost almost 3 percent. The German Dax has dropped 11 percent since its peak in June. (CNN)

C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.

-- "Libertarians, who long have relished their role as acerbic sideline critics of American political theater, now find themselves and their movement thrust into the middle of it," writes Robert Draper in this weekend's New York Times Magazine. In the mind of Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, the Fox Business Network host, Ron Paul is Nirvana, Rand Paul is Pearl Jam and Ted Cruz is the Stone Temple Pilots: "Tries really hard to sound like Pearl Jam, never gonna sound like Nirvana. Really good voice, great staying power -- but the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts."

C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work

-- Think the race between Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) is too divisive? Well, now there's a third option: David Waddell, the former Indian Trail, N.C., council member who resigned from office earlier this year in a letter written entirely in Klingon. (Charlotte Observer) This is outstanding: Waddell told the reporter he was on "a mission to get the message out." The reporter asked him if it was a five-year mission. Waddell, who apparently didn't get the joke, said it was a lifetime mission.

Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.

-- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality chairman Bryan Shaw said Thursday the state might choose not to comply with a proposed Obama administration rule limiting carbon emissions from power plants. But the last time regulators refused to implement environmental rules, in 2010, it caused delays for companies seeking permits that lasted several years. (Texas Tribune)

Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today

-- What happened when Tennessee began testing applicants to the state's welfare program for drugs? Turns out, almost no one tests positive. Just one of the 800 people who applied for benefits -- 0.12 percent -- tested positive. That's better than the general population: About 8 percent of Tennessee residents report using illegal drugs, surveys show. (ThinkProgress)

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.
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