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First Read’s Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: Breaking down Obama’s $3.7 billion request

From one of us(!): The details of the president's $3.7 billion request to address the border crisis.

Some Republicans are balking at the ask, as the Washington Post details: "The toxic environment on the Hill, combined with the looming midterm elections this fall, has contributed to the sense among Democrats and Republicans that a deal on emergency funding is unlikely, even though both sides say they agree with the White House that the crisis is urgent."

The New York Times notes that the nation's immigration courts will allow unaccompanied minors and families with children to head to the front of the line in light of the crisis.

The optics dance for the White House stays tricky. AP hed: "Obama Heads to Texas With No Plans to Visit Border"

The New York Times reports that Obama did not know that a German intelligence officer had admitting leaking secrets to the CIA when he spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week. "While Ms. Merkel chose not to raise the issue during the call, the fact that the president was kept in the dark about the blown spying operation at a particularly delicate moment in American relations with Germany has led frustrated White House officials to question who in the C.I.A.’s chain of command was aware of the case — and why that information did not make it to the Oval Office before the call."

The latest in Gaza, from Reuters: "Militants in Gaza fired more rockets at Tel Aviv on Wednesday, targeting Israel's heartland after Israeli attacks in the enclave that Palestinian officials said have killed at least 27 people. No casualties were reported in the rocket barrages, on the second day of an intensified Israeli offensive in the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip. Missiles from Israel's Iron Dome defence system shot into the sky to intercept the projectiles."

Religious groups are pushing Obama for an exemption from his executive order barring discrimination against LGBT employees of government contractors, the New York Times writes. "Mr. Obama could unleash a conservative uproar if he is seen as intruding on religious beliefs, but many of his strongest supporters would be bitterly disappointed if he appeared to grant any leeway to anti-gay discrimination."

And/but: "Several major gay rights groups withdrew support Tuesday for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would bolster gay and transgender rights in the workplace, saying they fear that broad religious exemptions included in the current bill might compel private companies to begin citing objections similar to those that prevailed in a U.S. Supreme Court case last week," the Washington Post writes.

CONGRESS: Wonder why Udall is co-sponsoring this bill?

Note the co-sponsorship on this of Democrat Mark Udall, who's facing a tough re-election fight. "Senate Democrats plan to push back against the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision last week with legislation designed to restore employers' responsibility to provide contraception coverage under the health law."

A new fight over gun control is brewing in the Senate, with both parties prepping amendments to a hunting bill that relate to firearms, writes the Washington Post. "Republicans want to expand the right to purchase or transport firearms and ammunition across state lines; limit when a military veteran can be denied a firearm due to mental illness; and allow gun owners to carry weapons on to sites controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. Democrats said they are working on proposals to limit the sale of certain weapons and ammunition or expand the national background check system."

Harry Reid is walking back his promise to put appropriations bills on the floor this summer, The Hill reports.

OFF TO THE RACES: Cleveland, here we come (in two years)

One of us(!) on the RNC's choice of Cleveland, OH, for its 2016 presidential convention.

The Washington Post, on the choice of the "Mistake by the Lake" : "Traditionally working-class Cleveland may be just the venue for a party whose establishment wing is often accused, outside and inside the Republican fold, of being fabulously out of touch with the economic realities of most Americans."

Noted yesterday: Rand Paul has tapped former Santorum campaign manager Mike Biundo as his "New England" strategist (read "New Hampshire.")

Rob Portman seems to be inching closer to a possible GOP run. In an interview with the Washington Post, he says: "I’m not particularly eager to do it myself, and having been involved in six presidential campaigns, I know what it’s like. But if nobody running is able to win and willing to address these issues, then I might have a change of heart."

Rick Perry's getting a bit of a do-over on immigration, a big issue that tripped him up in the 2012 election, notes one of us(!)

ARKANSAS: Ads are getting awfully tough awfully fast in the Cotton/Pryor race. In Cotton's latest, he accuses Pryor of exploiting a tornado victim to film a political ad.

COLORADO: The AP writes that Obama is "inching into" the Colorado Senate race with a trip to the state and a fundraiser that's off-limits to cameras.

KANSAS: The radio host who prompted Pat Roberts to that "whenever I get an opponent..." gaffe is being accused of bias because he was previously paid $500 by Milton Wolf's campaign for a musical performance.

IOWA: Earlier this year, GOP candidate Joni Ernst told an Iowa crowd that Barack Obama has "become a dictator" and called for possible impeachment, Yahoo News reports.

MISSISSIPPI: Here we go... The latest in the Mississippi runoff, from the Clarion-Ledger: "Facing allegations of vote buying and a challenge to a GOP primary runoff win, the Thad Cochran campaign on Tuesday said it made a mistake with its accounting of nearly $53,000 in get-out-the-vote cash and will have to amend its reporting to the Federal Election Commission. The Gotnews.com site Monday night reported that the Cochran campaign reimbursed staffer Amanda Shook for large sums of cash listed as "Reimbursed Expense – Campaign Walkers." FEC regulations allow reimbursement to staff only for travel and food expenses, and any other outlay of money by a staffer would be considered a contribution, and subject to a $2,600 limit."

Via the Washington Post: "The head of the Missouri Republican Party on Tuesday asked Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to appoint a task force to investigate what he called "racially divisive ads and robocalls" that were critical of state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate in Mississippi, marking the latest instance of lingering intra-party discord following Sen. Thad Cochran's narrow win over McDaniel last month."

Speaking of: After (NRSC vice chair!) Ted Cruz called for an investigation into voter fraud in the race, Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that "I think it’s pretty clear who won" the runoff.

NORTH CAROLINA: A new ad from the American Energy Alliance hits Kay Hagan on energy.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Wednesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. Jon Tester, Fmr. Bush 43 speechwriter/WaPo columnist Michael Gerson, Fmr. Obama WH Comms. Dir. Anita Dunn, Gov. Sam Brownback

*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) Texas on the border crisis; The Nation’s sports editor, Dave Zirin on the World Cup; Columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson with the latest on an officer caught on video beating a woman on the LA freeway; and in our exclusive Born in the U$A series, husband and wife Brad & Liz Soden, Brad created the “tank chair,” an all-terrain wheelchair for his paralyzed wife.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Claire McCaskill, Sen. Patty Murray, Israeli Ambassador to U.S. Ron Dermer, Rep. Henry Cuellar, Fmr. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Anne DeParle, the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus and the Atlantic’s Molly Ball and Jeffrey Goldberg.