OBAMA AGENDA: Neither agreeing nor disagreeing
From the Wall Street Journal: "Iran’s supreme leader on Thursday said he neither agreed nor disagreed with the nuclear deal the Tehran government reached with world powers a week ago, adopting a noncommittal stance that appeared designed to appease domestic opposition of rapprochement with the West."
CIA director John Brennan says that Rouhani convinced Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the country’s economy would “go down” without some kind of deal with the west.
And from the Washington Post: "Iran’s president called Thursday for an end to airstrikes in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition aimed at halting the advance of Iranian-backed rebels, one day after Tehran reported that two of its warships were headed for the waters off Yemen."
The White House is formally backing a ban on "conversion therapy" for gay minors.
The New York Times profiles Brian Deese, the president's senior adviser on climate policy.
From Kristen Welker of NBC: "The U.S. Secret Service has placed a senior supervisor on leave after he was accused of making unwanted sexual advances to a female coworker late last month, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed to NBC News."
OFF TO THE RACES: “Prickly” Paul
New Quinnipiac poll: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's lead is wilting against leading Republican presidential candidates in three critical swing states, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia, and she finds herself in a close race with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in each state."
CLINTON: POLITICO writes that the Clinton Foundation is slated to accept a big donation from a company owned by the Moroccan government.
Mike Memoli of the LA Times with a great story on the logistics of Clinton's almost-campaign: "For now, Clinton’s communications team is mapping out the early stages of her heavily scrutinized return to politics in the close quarters of a shared 7-by-10 office in the suite that has served as her base of operations since she left the State Department in early 2013. Aides say it's not uncommon to find Robby Mook, the campaign manager, holding conference calls in the privacy of the office's supply closet."
Speaking of Mook, Mother Jones has an in-depth profile of him.
CRUZ: Bloomberg asks if Ted Cruz is shaking up how big donors give to candidates -- and how they make sure their money is spent in specific ways?
PAUL: He pushed back against accusations that he is particularly prickly with female reporters. "I think I've been universally short tempered and testy with both male and female reporters. I'll own up to that.”
He said that winning New Hampshire is "absolutely critical" for his campaign, per NH1.com
The Washington Post's take on his first day on the road: "In a series of interviews after the freshman senator from Kentucky declared his candidacy on Tuesday, Paul turned prickly — briskly sidestepping tough foreign policy questions from one journalist, lecturing another on how to conduct an interview, and testily declining to clarify his position on abortion."
SANTORUM: In Iowa, he said Obama will let Iran get a nuclear weapon.
TRUMP: He let reporters in Iowa onto his jet. Hilarity ensued.
And around the country...
CALIFORNIA: Rep. Lois Capps on Santa Barbara is retiring.
NEVADA: Harry Reid is endorsing Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto as his successor.
*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with criminal defense attorney John Burris, former NYPD officer and police-studies professor Eugene O’Donnell, and Earl Ofair Hutchinson.
*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports live from the Summit of the Americas in Panama. She’ll interview Panama’s Vice President Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, Latin American expert and author Julia Sweig, the Washington Post’s Nick Miroff and Chris Cillizza, USA Today’s Susan Page and NBC’s Kristen Welker, Chris Jansing, Craig Melvin and Pete Williams.