DAYBREAK DAILY: McDonnell seeks redemption in rural Virginia

ABC7 WEATHER: Overcast and rainy with highs in the mid 80s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Longtime Vince Gray friend Vernon Hawkins expected to plead guilty of lying to the feds; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

DAMAGE CONTROL: To what end?, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Gov. Bob McDonnell’s road to redemption is taking him to Lynchburg, Danville, Martinsville and points beyond. Amid a gifts scandal that has triggered an investigation into his relationship with a wealthy political benefactor, McDonnell maintained a focus Monday on his priorities and the accomplishments of his administration.

“Already days into his 22-stop statewide tour, McDonnell blazed a trail through a stretch of rural Virginia, far from the confines of Capitol Square in what’s likely the last major statewide swing of his waning term. At his scheduled events strung throughout the day, the audiences seemed friendly and welcomed the attention the governor brought to the individual projects.”

GANSLER’S FOLLY: Oops, per the Washington Post, “Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler told a group of campaign volunteers last month that Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, his chief Democratic rival for governor, has a thin record of accomplishment and is trying to rely on his race to get elected next year. “I mean, right now his campaign slogan is, ‘Vote for me, I want to be the first African American governor of Maryland,’ ” Gansler (D) told the group. “That’s a laudable goal, but you need a second sentence: ‘Because here’s what I’ve done, and here’s why I’ve done it.’ ”

“An audio recording of the July 15 meeting — in which Gansler also spoke candidly about his campaign strategy — was provided to The Washington Post by someone not employed by either campaign. Gansler’s campaign did not dispute its authenticity but accused the Brown campaign of illegally recording Gansler’s remarks — which Brown’s aides denied.”

SITUATION SYRIA: Looking for a buddy, per the New York Times, “Syrian rebels, frustrated by the West’s reluctance to provide arms, have found a supplier in an unlikely source: Sudan, a country that has been under international arms embargoes and maintains close ties with a stalwart backer of the Syrian government, Iran.

“In deals that have not been publicly acknowledged, Western officials and Syrian rebels say, Sudan’s government sold Sudanese- and Chinese-made arms to Qatar, which arranged delivery through Turkey to the rebels.”

HANNAH ANDERSON: Just the facts, per the Los Angeles Times, “For six days, Hannah Anderson was at the mercy of her kidnapper, a family friend who spirited her away to the Idaho backcountry in a blue Nissan Versa. He carried a rifle. He made threats. But he never told her about the gruesome scene he left in San Diego County.

“Not until FBI agents gunned down James DiMaggio and began to interview Hannah did she learn the fate of her mother and younger brother, authorities said. DiMaggio, they said, killed them on his sprawling property near the Mexican border before setting off with Hannah, 16, and his gray cat. Although authorities have released few details of Hannah's ordeal, they said Monday that she played no part in the killings. Earlier in the search, they had been uncertain whether she went with DiMaggio willingly.”

IT’S A GAS: Or is it?, per Gazette.Net, “Washington Gas Light Co. wants to get into the business of providing compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling to the general public, a move that has private industry and consumer advocates crying foul. The utility has asked Maryland’s Public Service Commission for permission to open two of its CNG fueling stations to the public and build custom compression facilities as part of a pending request to increase its rates and generate about $30 million more in revenue. Its case is still pending.”

SINKHOLE: A big one, per the Orlando Sentinel, “First came the cracking sounds. Then windows started blowing out. And before they knew it, guests felt the ground beneath their Lake County resort near Disney World sinking into the earth. Guests had only 10 to 15 minutes to escape collapsing buildings at the Summer Bay Resort on U.S. Highway 192 in the Four Corners area, when a large sinkhole — about 100 feet in diameter — opened late Sunday.

“No one was injured but about three dozen visitors at the resort left car keys, medication and other personal belongings behind inside their luxury accomodations after the crumbling edifices were evacuated. One building suffered catastrophic destruction while two neighboring ones are being evaluated for possible damage and structural integrity.”

MUSCULAR HOLDER: Of race, per The Hill, “Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement of significant changes in the Justice Department’s pursuit of mandatory minimum sentences highlights a new willingness on the part of the Obama administration to engage on issue of race.

“It’s the second public policy area touching on race where Holder — the nation’s first African American attorney general — has flexed his muscles in recent weeks. Just last month, he said Justice would challenge voter ID laws adopted in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision to gut a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood for protecting voting rights Monday afternoon at a speech in San Francisco, slamming the Supreme Court for the “damage” it caused at a local level with its landmark decision on the Voting Rights Act. “By invalidating pre-clearance, the Supreme Court has shifted the burden back onto citizens alleging discrimination,” Clinton said in a speech to the American Bar Association which was honoring her.”

HUH?: Geez, per ABC7—WJLA, “-- It happened inside the 7 Food Store on Benning Road in Northeast D.C. Saturday morning. Police sources tell ABC7 that a mother of two small children was so violently angry that she stabbed another customer – as her children watched.

"That is just crazy to me," says District resident Christina Alexander. "I just don't understand it." The violence was caught on store surveillance, and is now in the hands of police. A store employee explained to us off-camera that it all began when the customer, a 36-year-old woman, told one of the mother’s young children not to touch something. Sources close to the case said the mother got very upset and told the customer not to say anything to her children.”

VERN: And the mayor is mum, per City Paper, “Vernon Hawkins, a close pal of Mayor Vince Gray, is expected to plead guilty Tuesday morning to lying to federal investigators. With his friend in trouble for trying to convince an alleged shadow campaign worker to leave town, would Gray break his long-standing, self-imposed ban on talking about the investigation?

“Nope. Gray declined to comment about Hawkins to LL outside of a cabinet meeting at the newly remodeled Dunbar High School. "People will read in whatever they want to read in," Gray says.”

OUT OF GAS: For POTUS, per the Washington Times, “A D.C. fire department ambulance customarily accompanies a presidential motorcade as it departs from the White House. But when a motorcade left Thursday, the ambulance remained behind on the South Lawn. It had run out of gas. In the latest blow to the reputation of the city’s beleaguered ambulance fleet, fire officials confirmed that the first-due medical responder to the White House had to be taken out of service while on a run to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”

WHITEY BULGER: Guilty, per the Boston Globe, “James J. “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious gangster who rampaged through Boston’s underworld for decades before fleeing and eluding a worldwide manhunt for more than 16 years, participated in 11 murders, a federal jury found Monday as it handed down its verdict in a racketeering case that had riveted the city.

“A jury of four women and eight men returned to US District Court in Boston with their verdict after 32 1/2 hours of deliberations over five days, bringing a resounding end to Bulger’s decades of evading justice. They found Bulger guilty of 31 of the 32 counts he faced.”

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “We all know there are tons of wonderful places to live in the greater D.C. area. And CNN agrees. In a recent top 50 list, CNN ranks Vienna, Virginia as the third best small city to live in. It’s only behind Sharon, Mass. and Louiseville, Colo.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is legal analyst A. Scott Bolden, who will be asked about the Vernon Hawkins plea deal and allegations that Jeff Thompson's shady political fundraising pre-dates his alleged work on behalf of the 2010 Gray campaign.

--Skip Wood