Good morning. Here's a look at what we're reading to get caught up before the show this morning:
Washington Post: Huntsman tests GOP waters with a different kind of lure
When the Miss America pageant of electoral politics happens, which is the debates . . . and it’s a really cheesy set and red, white and blue everywhere . . . and there are these uncomfortable guys getting ready to eviscerate one another, there’s one guy who will stand there as radically different,” said Fred Davis, Huntsman’s media strategist. “He isn’t going to eviscerate anyone. He doesn’t have a fake, loud, podium-pounding hatred for anybody. He’s going to stand out because he’s an incredible breath of fresh air.
“That will either work or it won’t,” Davis said, “and I think it’ll work.”
POLITICO: Draft of Huntsman mailer slams Obama
The draft letter, obtained by POLITICO, goes further than Huntsman's own public statements to date in attacking President Barack Obama, and appears to take veiled shots at prospective rivals including Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. It bears a copy of Huntsman's signature, declaring "I am running for President of the United States," and asks for contributions to "Jon Huntsman for President."
A Huntsman aide stressed that the former governor's advisers did not authorize the language in the mailer.
"Neither Gov. Huntsman, nor any of his advisers with authority over content, message or strategy had even seen a draft of these letters, more or less provided input," Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller said in a statement. "The mail firm drafted these letters on spec with no knowledge of Gov. Huntsman's intentions, time frame, etc. This was merely a draft sent on spec by an overeager mail firm."
New York Times: Texas Governor Draws Criticism on Prayer Event
When Gov. Rick Perry invited fellow governors to join him on Aug. 6 for “a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation,” some speculated that he was trying to raise his national visibility for a possible presidential run.
Absolutely not, said Mr. Perry, a conservative Christian who described the event, to be held in a Houston stadium, as an “apolitical Christian prayer service” to provide “spiritual solutions to the many challenges we face in our communities, states and nation.”
Whatever the goals, his plan has drawn strong protests from advocates for the separation of church and state, who say an elected leader should not be leading what looks to be, in effect, an evangelical Christian revival. Gay rights groups are also objecting because Mr. Perry placed the event in the hands of conservative religious groups that not only oppose gay marriage but also stridently condemn homosexuality.
So far only one other governor, Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is a conservative Roman Catholic, has said he will attend.
Wall Street Journal: E-mails Show Palin Surprised by Nomination
****GOP DEBATE PREVIEW****
Boston Globe: Economy the issue for N.H. voters
New Hampshire Union Leader: Work crews, journalists hustle to prepare for debate
That surreal reality will take to the ice on Monday evening. Candy Crowley, CNN’s chief political correspondent and anchor of “State of the Union with Candy Crowley,’’ expects some spirited play in the debate. Crowley said some candidates may throw an elbow or two at Mitt Romney, the presumed early front-runner.
“I would expect that they’re going to rough him up a little bit,” Crowley said. “I don’t think it will be full-on, go after him, attack dogs, but I think you’re going to hear some sharp elbows.”
WMUR: Debate Gives Candidates Chance To Stand Out
Washington Post: Stage is set for GOP debate in New Hampshire
New York Times: Afghan Taliban Cede Ground in the South, but Fears Linger
While many Afghans say the Taliban have been weakened — some say irreparably — the familiar conundrum of Afghanistan applies: what happens when the foreign troops leave?
Many doubt that their politicians can hold the country together. Although Afghan forces are far more developed than they were six years ago, few analysts believe they can prevent the Taliban from reinfiltrating, as they did when American troops and resources were diverted to Iraq in 2005.
Washington Post: Lawmakers push for new Afghan strategy
The president ought to take advantage of that success and push us in a direction that accelerates the ability of the Afghans” to take over operations, said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).
****IN OTHER NEWS****
CNN: Weiner to seek treatment amid growing pressure to resign
Los Angeles Times: Al Qaeda operative key to 1998 U.S. embassy bombings killed in Somalia
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