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OBAMA AGENDA: Welcome back!
“For President Barack Obama, who returned to Washington Sunday from a two-week Martha's Vineyard vacation, what remains of the August calendar looks perhaps more daunting than when he left,” the AP writes.
And the AP also broke down the president’s vacation by the numbers: 15 days at the Vineyard, 9 rounds of golf, 4 statements given and one interaction with Hillary Clinton.
ISIS seized a military base in Syria on Sunday “further solidifying control inside their self-declared Islamic state spanning the Syria-Iraq border,” the New York Times reports.
Russia plans to send a second convoy loaded with humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, after the first delivery sparked international condemnation by crossing the border without authorization,” Bloomberg writes.
This has been some positive news for the president on the foreign relations front. British intelligence officials believe they have identified James Foley’s killer, sources told NBC News . Also, an American freelance writer held by al Qaeda for nearly two years was unexpectedly freed on Sunday.
Three White House officials will attend Michael Brown’s funeral Monday on behalf of the Obama administration, a White House official told NBC News .
The funeral comes as America’s first black president continues to find himself in “a constant lose-lose situation” when it comes to race, Politico writes.
OFF TO THE RACES: Perry gets extra attention in New Hampshire
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s recent legal troubles actually helped him get the attention of voters in the politically important state of New Hampshire over the weekend, the LA Times reports : “Ironically, his recent legal troubles, which he has described as a politically motivated sham, seem to have heightened people's interest in his potential candidacy. At each stop, staffers with his new political action committee, RickPAC, handed out free T-shirts bearing his now-famous mug shot. Some voters immediately put them on.”
Some local and state Democrats are breaking with the party, and the president, and going rogue in state capitals across the country, Politico reports .
National Journal looks at the role former senators are playing in this year’s midterms.
ALASKA: USA Today explains the important role Alaska will play in determining which party gains control of the Senate.
ARKANSAS: Democrats hopes of keeping the Senate are dependent on unprecedented efforts like the one underway for Mark Pryor, the Atlantic reports .
IOWA: The Iowa Democratic Party tells First Read that Senate candidate Bruce Braley (D) will be highlighting college affordability – and contrasting his record with opponent Joni Ernst’s (R). The Iowa Dem Party emails: “As students are returning to college campuses across Iowa, [Braley] will be traveling to a number of university and community college campuses this week to host a series of roundtables highlighting the stark contrast between he and Sen. Ernst on college affordability. We will start the series of events tomorrow on campuses in Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls.”
More: “Sen. Ernst is looking to jeopardize Pell Grants for nearly 115,000 Iowa students by eliminating the Department of Education where they are administered, and most glaringly, believes that that ‘the federal government has to get out of the student loan business... our students, as they’re going off to whether it’s a two-year institution, a community college, whether it’s a four-year institution and beyond, we need to ensure that they’re able to find student loans at reasonable rates within private banking entities. So let’s get the federal government out of the business of student loans.’”
The Hill asks if Iowa will be Democrats’ Waterloo of 2014.
MISSISSIPPI: The Jackson Clarion Ledger reports that Chris McDaniel may have waited too long to file his challenge to the results of his Senate primary runoff election loss.
NORTH CAROLINA: "Sen. Kay Hagan doesn’t sound thrilled President Barack Obama is coming to town,” Roll Call writes . “The North Carolina Democrat, one of the most vulnerable senators, issued a terse statement about Obama’s veterans policy ahead of his planned Tuesday visit to her home state. The White House announced late Friday that Obama will deliver remarks at the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. The appearance gave Hagan an opportunity to criticize the president in the wake of a scandal that has captured national attention. Hagan’s office blasted her statement just 31 minutes after the White House released the schedule. 'The Obama Administration has not yet done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans and implement real and permanent reforms at the VA,' Hagan said."
WISCONSIN: Incumbent governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker released a new ad Sunday defending his economic record, Politico reports .
*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron will have live coverage of the funeral of Michael Brown with NBC’s Craig Melvin outside the church, and she will talk to civil rights attorney John Burris about the latest on the investigation into Brown’s death.
*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up : Chris Matthews, filling in for Andrea, interviews Rep. Barbara Lee, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President and Director Sherrilyn Ifill, Author and Journalist Gayle Lemmon, msnbc law enforcement analyst Jim Cavanaugh, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and NBC’s Craig Melvin and Ayman Mohyeldin.