Mitt Romney lost a major asset--not being able to say he’s the obvious choice to defeat Obama: “Romney was never fully trusted or liked by the staunchest conservatives, a rather large Republican constituency. But until now, enough of them have been willing to swallow their doubts at critical moments because they believed the former Massachusetts governor was the one potential nominee who could win the election,” writes Brookings' E.J. Dionne. (Washington Post)

“[A]mazing poll numbers no doubt reflect the fact that some Americans trust Barack Obama more than they did George W. Bush to execute aggressive counterterrorism policies. But a deeper and more important explanation is that our constitutional system of checks and balances has worked extraordinarily well in the last decade to legitimize these policies and to generate a national consensus in support of them,” writes Hoover’s Jack Goldsmith. (Washington Post)

“Defense spending shouldn’t be held hostage to politics nor driven by pure budget numbers. Instead, it should be based on the international environment we face now and expect in the future — and that doesn’t look rosy at all,” writes Heritage’s Peter Brookes. (New York Post)

Is al-Qaeda making it’s way in Syria? (AEI)

Mustafa Alani: How Iran Nuclear Standoff Looks From Saudi Arabia (Bloomberg)

Is it time to remake the U.N. Security Council? (USA Today)

Politico’s Arena asks: Will congressional dysfunction boost Obama? Brookings’ Darrell West responds. So does Hudson’s Tevi Troy.

John Podesta and Andrew Light: New global deal on climate change (Politico)

“There’s a delicious irony in some of the testimony on cybersecurity that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hear today. Former National Security Agency general counsel Stewart Baker flubs a basic mathematical concept,” writes Cato’s Jim Harper. (Cato)

AEI’s Michael Barone: Metro’s flawed plan. (National Review)

Maybe U.S. schools aren’t as bad as you think. (USA Today)

Room for Debate asks: What is the best way to curb prescription drug abuse while ensuring that patients still receive the medications they need? (New York Times)

AEI’s Jon Entine: Plastic wars: 5 reasons to be concerned about the federal crackdown on phthalates (AEI)