DAYBREAK DAILY: Mark Obenshain reshapes self in Va. AG bid

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly sunny with highs in the upper 70s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Redskins, RGIII open season tonight at home against Michael Vick and the Philadelpha Eagles; Syria – the latest; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

MEET THE NEW GUY: Same as the old guy?, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “In the almost four months since his nomination as the Republican candidate for attorney general, Mark D. Obenshain has logged thousands of miles traveling Virginia, trying to build coalitions to push him across the finish line in November. The state senator from Harrisonburg, often criticized by his political foes for his conservative legislative record, has handed out more than one olive branch to win the support of moderate Republicans, independents and even some conservative Democrats.

“But if you ask his opponents, the Mark Obenshain running for attorney general is very different from the Mark Obenshain who has served in the state Senate since 2004. State Sen. Mark R. Herring of Loudoun, Obenshain’s Democratic opponent, paints him as an extremist who, in Herring’s view, would continue Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s quest to preserve Virginia’s traditional values and resist social change, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage.”

SITUATION SYRIA: Making the case for a strike, per the New York Times, “The White House chief of staff, Denis R. McDonough, said Sunday that the American people’s skepticism about the prospect of military action in Syria was “understandable” after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that such a strike would be far different from those wars.

“Mr. McDonough appeared on all five major Sunday morning news shows to make the administration’s case that Congress should authorize an airstrike against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Mr. Assad, for his part, said in an interview with Charlie Rose of CBS News that his government was not behind a chemical attack that killed hundreds of civilians and injured many more. In the interview, to be broadcast on Monday, Mr. Assad also said that Syria might retaliate if attacked.”

MEANWHILE: Critics abound, per the Los Angeles Times, “The White House faces the strong possibility of a defeat over Syria that could seriously damage the president for the rest of his tenure, a peril the administration will battle this week as members of Congress return to work and open a decisive chapter of the Obama presidency. Administration efforts to seek support from lawmakers, including personal phone calls by the president, so far appear to have changed few minds.

“Nor has the support of top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders in both houses, who have lined up behind President Obama's plan to punish the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad for what U.S. officials say was a poison gas attack last month near Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people.”

BEN JEALOUS: See ya, per the Baltimore Sun, “Credited with reenergizing and modernizing the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, NAACP president Ben Jealous announced Sunday he will step down from his position at the end of the year. In a statement, Jealous said he wanted to spend more time with his family and will go into a new career in teaching. The resignation will be effective Dec. 31.

“Jealous, 40, took the helm of the 104-year-old organization in 2008, at a time when members openly lamented their inability to attract a younger generation to the group. He helped convince the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to embrace new issues, like the approval of same-sex marriage. Local chapters of the NAACP, especially in Maryland, said they felt less disconnected from the national office when Jealous took over.”

NO UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE: Never mind that it’s already law, per The Hill, “Conservatives will take their defund-ObamaCare push back to Washington, D.C., this week with an event to rally support and combat a wide shift in focus away from the issue.

“Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and a slew of House members and Tea Party leaders will host a rally Tuesday to pressure leaders not to pay for healthcare reform in the next bill to fund the government. The anti-funding movement, which dominated headlines at the beginning of the summer, has not gained enough support to assure victory as Congress enters a series of fiscal negotiations over the next two months.”

POLITICO PLAY: “In an ambitious play for the New York market, POLITICO publisher Robert Allbritton has purchased the online news site Capital New York, with plans to make "a substantial investment" in the business and more than quadruple staff. Capital, which was launched in 2010 by former New York Observer editors Josh Benson and Tom McGeveran, will now be led by POLITICO co-founder and executive editor Jim VandeHei, who will serve as president while remaining in his current role at POLITICO. Benson and McGeveran will remain co-editors.”

GUNS: In Maryland, get ’em while they last, per the Washington Times, “A weekend gun show at the Annapolis National Guard Armory saw a steady stream of longtime owners and potential first-time buyers eager to snap up pistols, rifles, scopes and bullets — some of which will be prohibited when new laws take effect next month.

“Maryland’s sweeping gun control laws are set to be enforced on Oct. 1, and opinionated dealers and customers were making the most of the waning time. Longtime gun dealer David Greer, 69, of Crownsville, Md., said in the past few months he’d seen larger crowds at gun shows as buyers try to beat the cutoff.”

DUCKS AND MORE DUCKS: A collection of decoys, per the Virginian-Pilot, “John Maddox loved business, and he loved the outdoors. One let him indulge the other. When Maddox died nearly two years ago, he left a large, complex estate with collections of property and duck decoys. Thousands of duck decoys.

“One auctioneer estimates it is one of the largest collections in the mid-Atlantic states, encompassing more than 5,000 working decoys and decorative pieces from famous carvers along the coast. Maddox left no direction for his family in his will. After trying to the give his treasures to the federal park service and the city of Virginia Beach, the Maddox family made a difficult decision: to sell the collection. It goes to auction this month and could fetch up to $750,000.”

SILVER LINING?: Remains to be seen, per Gazette.Net, “It looks like latex-modified concrete is going to be the fix for the concrete problems at the Silver Spring Transit Center. A working group tasked with finding a way to get the troubled $120 million transit hub open for business has decided Montgomery County will use the latex-modified concrete as the overlay material to make the repairs.”

THE TAXI WARS: Back in trenches, per City Paper, “With the D.C. Taxicab Commission sparring yet again with Uber, mayoral hopeful Tommy Wells and the Washington Post editorial board want to shut down the commission. But that's thinking too small, according to D.C. Council transportation committee chairwoman Mary Cheh.

"I have bigger fish to fry than just abolishing the taxi commission," Cheh tells LL. The sturgeon in question for Cheh is whether to fold the commission and a whole lot of other transportation planning responsibilities into a District-wide transportation authority. Along with the cab commission, Cheh imagines the transportation authority could have authority over creating a special tax district around H Street to pay for the new streetcar line.”

GREAT SCHOOLS: Or not, per Greater Greater Washington, “A Montgomery County school board member once told me, "There are no bad schools in Montgomery County." This is sort of true, but so stellar a reputation often distracts people from the real problems Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) faces, such as a persistent achievement gap, de facto segregation by class and race and suggestions of middle-class flight.

“To tackle these difficult problems, families, community leaders and school administrators need to face a hard truth: MCPS just isn't so great anymore.”

END-OF-SUMMER RITUAL: Just the facts, per DCist (with photos), “On Saturday, three public pools were turned over to D.C.'s dogs for a day of swimming. Knowing that Doggie Day Swim would make for an adorable photo-op, DCist sent photographer Michael Kandel to Francis Pool in Northwest D.C. to capture the event. It did not disappoint.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals beat Miami 6-4.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Grammy-winner Bruno Mars will perform at halftime of Super Bowl XLVIII. Mars, the XXVII-year-old singer-songwriter-producer, was honored for best male video and choreography for "Treasure" at the MTV Video Music Awards last month.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s topic (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) -- Now that Virginia has new money for road and transit improvements, which projects will get the green light? We'll talk with Del. Vivian Watts, who served as transportation secretary under Gov. Gerald Baliles.

--Skip Wood