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First Read’s Morning Clips: Candidates Clash

OFF TO THE RACES: Fight Night

NBC’s Perry Bacon Jr. notices that Trump’s controversial idea to ban Muslims mostly ignored during the debate. “Tuesday night's debate illustrated that Trump's proposal has so far not been any kind of game-changer in the Republican race,” he writes.

But Trump did defend his proposal.

The New York Times has this take about the repeated clashes between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz last night: “The two senators have come to the same realization about the race for the Republican presidential nomination: The surest way to win is with the other gone.”

Politico writes that the Bush might do more than call Trump a “chaos candidate.” Bush aides said he might eventually say that he will not support Trump if he were the nominee.

ICYMI: Here’s a minute-by-minute recap of the entire evening, complete with fact checks, graphics and insightful commentary.

GRAHAM: In the undercard debate, Sen. Lindsey Graham apologized to Muslims and said Donald Trump “does not represent us.”

CLINTON: In her latest speech on ISIS, Clinton said about the fight against the terror group: “We are in it for the long haul,” NBC’s Monica Alba and Alex Seitz-Wald report. She also had harsh words for the Republicans’ strategy.

SANDERS: Killer Mike and Bernie Sanders disagree on guns, agree on pretty much everything else.

IN THE STATES: The Adelson Influence?

A secret purchase of the largest newspaper in Nevada, the Las Vegas Review Journal, has caused much consternation and loads of speculation. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid suspects the new owner is Sheldon Adelson.

CONGRESS: A Big Deal

Also last night, Congress reached agreement on a comprehensive spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion that will prevent a government shutdown. It also extends tax breaks set to expire. “The sweeping agreement that came after weeks of bipartisan negotiations is the broadest tax and spending deal since the January 2013 “fiscal cliff” agreement,” the Washington Post writes.

More, from our own Frank Thorp and Alex Moe: “For weeks now, negotiators have been working their way through several partisan policy provisions that lawmakers on either side of the aisle have been trying to have included in the Omnibus — commonly called "riders." Ryan — who was negotiating a major deal for the first time as Speaker and understands Republicans will need a large number of Democratic votes to pass the omnibus bill — admitted Tuesday morning that this deal was a compromise.”

And there’s this, also from our Hill team: “The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act is included in the must-pass $1.1 trillion spending package — also referred to as the omnibus — making what is essentially a permanent extension to the health care program for first responders.”

And the Wall Street Journal reports that Congress has agreed to lift a 40-year-old ban on oil exports, calling it “a historic action that reflects political and economic shifts driven by a boom in U.S. oil drilling.”

OBAMA AGENDA: Criminal justice reform marches on

The Koch Brothers and the White House are still moving forward on criminal justice reform, one of us reports.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: Joining NBC’s Andrea Mitchell at 12p ET – Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Vin Weber – a Jeb Bush supporter and an advisor to the 2012 Romney Presidential campaign, the Financial Times’ Gillian Tett, Bloomberg Politics Managing Editor Mark Halperin, the National Journal’s Ron Fournier, the New York Times’ Jeremy Peters, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and NBC’s Peter Alexander.