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First Read’s Morning Clips: Carson Slips

OFF TO THE RACES: Carson down 10 points in Iowa

A new Iowa poll from Quinnipiac shows Cruz in a close race with Trump -- and Carson down 10 points since last month.

2016 candidates are weighing in on Pfizer's merger proposal with Allergan.

The Washington Post has a big look at how the candidates are preparing for Super Tuesday.

CARSON: He walked back his agreement with Trump that he too had seen "film" of Muslim Americans celebrating 9/11.

CHRISTIE: The New York Times writes that Chris Christie's 2016 bid has gotten a new charge as he's invoked 9/11 after the Paris attacks.

CLINTON: POLITICO notes that Obama’s rules on ethanol could be a dilemma for Clinton in the key early state.

CRUZ: "Keep The Promise PAC, the umbrella organization for a cluster of pro-Cruz super-PACs, is hiring 14 full-time field directors and county organizers in the Palmetto State, the group is expected to announce Monday," Bloomberg writes.

RUBIO: He's out with a new ad - his first in an early state (Iowa) - that highlights his father's work as a bartender.

From the Wall Street Journal: "Sen. Marco Rubio, in one of the more striking tax proposals of the presidential campaign, wants to eliminate the capital gains levy for investors. But there is a catch: Everyone with appreciated assets—land, stocks, small businesses—would have to calculate their potential gains on a specified date, then pay taxes on that amount when they sell. Any gains after that date on old assets or new ones would be tax-free."

CBN’s David Brody interviews Rubio today in Iowa.

TRUMP: "No one ever expected Mr. Trump to turn himself into the issues expert of the Republican presidential field. Yet the verbal shortcuts and salesmanlike stretches that he has relied on for months — generalities used to dodge questions, and questionable recollections — are tripping him up as the tenor of the campaign has grown more serious," writes the New York Times.

He bashed John Kasich during an appearance in the governor’s home state.

He said “you bet your ass” he’d approve waterboarding.

OBAMA AGENDA: Turkey shoots down Russian plan

Breaking this morning: "Turkey shot down a Russian warplane Tuesday, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russia denied that the plane crossed the Syrian border into Turkish skies."

Obama and French president Francois Hollande will meet in Washington to discuss the fight against ISIS.

More from the Wall Street Journal: "Current and former French officials said Mr. Hollande needs President Obama to take a more assertive role on Syria and the fight against Islamic State, both for Paris’ security strategy and for the French leader’s domestic standing. These officials said the French public is demanding Mr. Hollande take aggressive steps to combat terrorism after the attacks in Paris last week. Conservative French politicians and parties are seeking to use the attacks to win seats in regional elections next month and promote policies tightening France’s borders and immigration policies."

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Tuesday’s “MSNBC Live with Jose Diaz-Balart” line-up: Jose interviews Democratic presidential candidate Fmr. Gov. Martin O’Malley, Fmr. Amb. James Jeffrey, Col. Jack Jacobs, the Washington Post’s Robert Costa, the New York Times’ Michael Schmidt, the Daily Beast’s Dean Obeidalah, Politico’s Michael Crowley, Ali Rezaian, Jason Rezaian’s brother, MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki and Ari Melber and NBC’s Peter Alexander, Chris Jansing, Keir Simmons, Jim Miklaszewski, Richard Engel, Hallie Jackson and NBC Meteorologist Bill Karins.