Slatest PM: Obama's Challenge

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 6 2013 5:50 PM

Slatest PM: Obama's Challenge

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US President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at the Pulkovo International Airport in Saint Petersburg on September 6, 2013, as he leaves for Washington, DC, after attending the G20 summit

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Obama's Challenge: Associated Press: "Beset by divisions at home and abroad, President Barack Obama candidly acknowledged deep challenges Friday in winning support for a military strike against Syria from international allies and the U.S. Congress. He refused to say whether he might act on his own, a step that could have major implications for the U.S. as well as for the remainder of his presidency. The White House laid out an intense week of lobbying, with Obama addressing the nation from the White House Tuesday night. ... The president spoke to reporters at the end of a two-day international summit, where he sought backing for a strike against Syria in retaliation for a deadly chemical weapons attack against civilians. But Obama appeared to leave the summit with no more backing than he had when he arrived."

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Unlikely Allies: Washington Post: "Today, [GOP Rep. Ted] Yoho and [Democratic Rep. Alan] Grayson are among a group of unlikely allies in Congress: liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans, united by their opposition to a military strike against Syria. The Democrats in the group have lost faith in war. The Republicans have lost faith (or never had it) in Obama. "In this case ... their doubts have aligned. The result is an ad hoc coalition of Congress’s unwilling. This odd bipartisan bloc most recently emerged in July, in support of an amendment to rein in National Security Agency spying. They lost that vote. But this one may be different. For now, this alliance of the far left and far right seems to be stronger than the coalition that actually supports a strike against Syria. Even though — in the House at least — their opposition includes the leaders of both parties."

Embassy Closures: Reuters: "The United States tightened security at diplomatic missions in Lebanon and Turkey on Friday because of potential threats, ordering personnel out of Lebanon and offering to evacuate those in Adana in southeastern Turkey. The State Department also warned U.S. citizens against traveling in Lebanon and southeastern Turkey and urged Americans in the rest of Turkey 'to be alert to the potential for violence.' Officials did not offer specifics about the threats, which were revealed less than a week before the 12th anniversary of the September 11 attacks and amid an intensifying U.S. debate over President Barack Obama's plans to strike Syria."

It's Friday, September 6th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at@JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @Slatest.

Hernandez Pleads Not Guilty: ESPN: "Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge Friday following his indictment in the killing of a friend authorities say was shot five times in an industrial park.  Hernandez firmly answered 'not guilty' to six charges, including murder and weapons and ammunition possession charges.  His attorneys agreed ahead of the hearing that Hernandez, 23, will continue to be held without bail, but reserved the right to request bail later. The next court hearing was set for Oct. 9. Defense attorney Charles Rankin said outside the courthouse that Hernandez's legal team is confident the ex-Patriot will be exonerated during a trial."

Hitler's Bodyguard: Associated Press: "He was Adolf Hitler’s devoted bodyguard for most of World War II and the last remaining witness to the Nazi leader’s final hours in his Berlin bunker. To the very end, SS Staff Sgt. Rochus Misch was proud of it all. For years, he accompanied Hitler nearly everywhere he went, sticking by the man he affectionately called 'boss' until the dictator and his wife, Eva Braun, killed themselves as defeat at the hands of the Allies drew nearer. ... The 96-year-old Misch died Thursday, one of the last of a generation that bears direct responsibility for German brutality during World War II. In his interview with the AP, he stayed away from the central questions of guilt and responsibility, saying he knew nothing of the murder of 6 million Jews and that Hitler never brought up the Final Solution in his presence."

Jobs Report: NBC News: "The U.S. economy's job creation engine accelerated less than expected in August, raising a question mark over whether the Federal Reserve may ease off on the stimulus gas pedal soon. The Labor Department reported Friday that U.S. employers added 169,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate ticked lower to 7.3 percent, a 4-1/2 year low, from 7.4 percent in July. Economists had been expecting job expansion of about 170,000 to 200,000. Not only was hiring less than expected last month, the job count for June and July was revised to show 74,000 fewer positions added than previously reported. In addition, the participation rate - the share of working-age Americans who either have a job or are looking for one - dropped to its lowest level since August 1978."

A Few More Quick Hits From Slate

That's all for today. See you back here Monday. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.