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First Read’s Morning Clips: Granite State of Mind

OFF TO THE RACES: Lagging candidates banking on New Hampshire

Jonathan Martin of the New York Times writes that lagging candidates are banking on a good performance in New Hampshire. "The outcome here will echo beyond this election and reveal much about how the country chooses presidents, and whether the 64-year-old tradition of direct voting in the first-in-the-nation primary matters anymore. Its possible diminishment is already unsettling residents, who view their role of scrutinizing and winnowing the field of candidates as a solemn duty."

The Des Moines Register previews the weekend's Democratic debate at Drake University.

And POLITICO speaks to the moderators of Tuesday night's FOX Business debate.

BUSH: He'll appear with Scott Walker at a school choice event in Milwaukee, but the former presidential candidate says he's not endorsing yet.

CARSON: In an interview with NBC's Chris Jansing, he brushed off more questions about his background and continued to say he's being held to an unprecedented standard.

He's calling for statehood for Puerto Rico.

CLINTON: She'll get an endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters.

CRUZ: The Washington Post looks at how Cruz makes the dislike of his fellow Republicans a crucial part of his brand.

FIORINA: Her defense of a lack of plans outlined on her website? "Anybody can write a plan. Anybody can put a plan on a website," she said on NBC's Meet the Press.

RUBIO: Hallie Jackson reported over the weekend on his credit card disclosure.

SANDERS: He said over the weekend: "We need to have a media more interested in the issues facing working-class people and the middle class rather than political gossip."

TRUMP: He said on Meet the Press that Ben Carson "is "going to have to explain a lot."

"Donald Trump’s appearance as guest host of “Saturday Night Live” helped the TV comedy sketch show earn its highest viewership ratings since 2012, the NBC television network said on Sunday," Reuters reports.

OBAMA AGENDA: Frenemies

"President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will seek to mend their fractured relationship when they meet at the White House Monday, the first time they have talked face to face in more than a year," the AP reports.

NBC News: "Two Americans were shot dead Monday at a police training center in Jordan, according to U.S. defense officials and a Jordanian security source."

From the Wall Street Journal: "Senior U.S. military leaders have proposed sending more forces into Europe on a rotating basis to build up the American presence and are stepping up training exercises to counter potential Russian interference with troop transfers in the event of a crisis with Moscow. The new steps would allow for the presence of multiple U.S. brigades in Europe at any given time, increasing that number above current limits."

Over the weekend, the New York Times profiled Obama's digital team.

And around the world...

MYANMAR: "Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party said Monday that it was confident it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, and official results from the government that began trickling in appeared to back up the claim," writes the AP. "Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-democracy icon, urged supporters of the opposition National League of Democracy party not to provoke losing rivals who mostly represent the former junta that ruled this Southeast Asian nation for a half-century."

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews PM Netanyahu’s spokesperson Mark Regev and fmr. Amb. Martin Indyk on today’s White House meeting between Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu; Stephen Green - NAACP Youth and College Division National Director – on the University of Missouri student protests; Armstrong Williams – advisor to Dr. Ben Carson; and former RNC Chair Michael Steele.