OBAMA AGENDA: Confronting a skeptical public
One of us(!) writes on our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll: "The poll ... showed that a combined 68 percent of Americans say they have ‘very little’ or ‘just some’ confidence that Obama’s goals of degrading and eliminating the threat posed by ISIS will be achieved. Just 28 percent said they had ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a bit’ of confidence. Still, 62 percent of voters say they support Obama’s decision to take action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, while 22 percent oppose it."
Via NBCNews.com: “France’s president said there was ‘no time to lose’ in the fight against ISIS, as Secretary of State John Kerry joined leaders from more than 20 nations at a crisis meeting in Paris on Monday to come up with a strategy to defeat the militant group in Iraq.
The New York Times: “The Obama administration said Sunday that ‘several’ Arab nations had offered to join in airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but any sustained military campaign does not appear imminent, and is likely to require an even more significant commitment from other nations and fighting forces in the region.”
And/but: Iran says it's ruling out working with any international coalition to battle the ISIS militants, the AP writes.
Getting nations in the Middle East to cooperate - even against a common threat like ISIS - is fraught with hidden rivalries and longstanding disputes. Here's the AP's primer on what's going on.
ICYMI: over the weekend, the New York Times offered an in-depth look at the president's thinking on his ISIS strategy, based on interviews with 10 people who met with him in the days leading up to his Wednesday night address to the nation.
The Obama administration is planning a major offensive against the spread of Ebola in West Africa, writes the Wall Street Journal. "Among the possible moves: sending additional portable hospitals, doctors and health-care experts, providing medical supplies and conducting training for health workers in Liberia and other countries."
The New York Times says the inner circle of Bashar al-Assad believe "they have been granted a reprieve - at least politically" by Obama's decision to strike ISIS in Syria. "To Mr. Assad and his closest advisers, these people say, the American decision represents a victory for his longstanding strategy: obliterating any moderate opposition to his rule and persuading the world it faces a stark choice between him and Islamist militants who threaten the West."
CONGRESS: Benghazi committee holds first hearing this week
Roll Call: "After months of behind-the-scenes work that saw the House Benghazi Select Committee virtually disappear from the media landscape, the much-hyped investigatory panel returns to the spotlight this week with its first public hearing."
The Washington Post notes that about 150 political nominees are still awaiting floor action as the Senate prepares to wind down for the year.
OFF TO THE RACES: “Hello, Iowa, I’m baaaacckkk"
Our own Perry Bacon Jr., on the ground in Indianola, offers this dispatch on Clinton's not-so-subtle return to the state.
Bill Clinton weighed in on some key Senate races during his visit to Iowa - including a positive prediction for the Democrat in his home state of Arkansas.
Here's McClatchy's take: "Hillary Clinton all but kicked off her 2016 White House bid Sunday before a festive crowd of 6,000 in this pivotal state, presenting herself as a child and champion of the still-struggling middle class."
The Des Moines Register's front page: "CLINTON TEASES WITH TALK OF '16: 'I am thinking about' a White House bid, she tells Iowa supporters."
Meanwhile, on Meet the Press, Sen. Bernie Sanders told Chuck Todd that he's "thinking" about running, but noted: "The truth is, profound anger at both political parties, more and more people are becoming independent, the negative is, how do you set up a fifty-state infrastructure as an independent?"
The Washington Post writes on another potential 2016 candidate, Rand Paul: "While he has maintained his core support for cutting spending and protecting Americans’ privacy rights, Paul has shaded, changed or dropped some of the ideas that he espoused as a tea party candidate and in his confrontational early days as a senator."
GEORGIA: According to an Atlanta Journal Constitution poll, Republican David Perdue has a small lead over Michelle Nunn (44%-38%) but Gov. Nathan Deal is running neck-and-neck with Democrat Jason Carter.
KANSAS: The New York Times delves into Sam Brownback's fight to keep his job. "Although every statewide elected official in Kansas is a Republican and President Obama lost the state by more than 20 points in the last election, Mr. Brownback’s proudly conservative policies have turned out to be so divisive and his tax cuts have generated such a drop in state revenue that they have caused even many Republicans to revolt. Projections put state budget shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually, raising questions of whether the state can adequately fund education in particular."
KENTUCKY: Alison Lundergan Grimes is up with a new ad that pictures the candidate skeet shooting while laying out her disagreements with President Obama. The kicker, a dig at McConnell's display of a gun at CPAC: "And Mitch, that’s not how you hold a gun."
MICHIGAN: The Detroit Free Press writes that the state's gubernatorial race looks like it may go down to the wire.
OHIO: A new Columbus Dispatch poll finds Republican Gov. John Kasich crushing challenger Ed Fitzgerald 59 percent to 29 percent. Stick a fork in that race -- it’s done.
RHODE ISLAND: The Times profiles Democrat Gina Raimondo, who hopes to become Rhode Island's first female governor.
*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews: the Washington Post’s Diplomatic Correspondent Anne Gearan who is in Paris covering Secretary of State Kerry’s ISIS talks; Rep. Elliot Engel on ISIS; Sports Illustrated’s Kostya Kennedy with the latest on the NFL controversy; Medal of Honor recipient Col. Jack Jacobs on today’s Medal of Honor ceremony; and Attorney Monica Miller who is representing an Atheist airman who must swear 'so help me God' or leave the Air Force in November.
*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki, Sen. Tom Harkin, Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ultraviolet’s Shaunna Thomas, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Jonathan Capehart and NBC’s Richard Engel and Peter Alexander.
*** Monday’s “Ronan Farrow Daily” line-up: MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow interviews Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on President Obama’s ISIS plan, the battle for Congress, Hillary Clinton’s weekend in Iowa & the NFL abuse crisis. We’ll have part two of Ronan Farrow’s interview with Michael Brown Sr. and attorney Ben Crump. And former Amb. Nick Burns discusses U.S. efforts to build a global coalition to destroy ISIS.