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First Read's Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: More climate-change initiatives

The White House is slated to announce a series of climate change initiatives today, including shoring up the nation's power supply during emergencies and improving planning for flooding and storms, writes the New York Times.

The Obama administration is weighing in against U.S companies reincorporating overseas in order to reap tax benefits, writes the Wall Street Journal.

The White House to Darrell Issa on his subpoena of top political adviser David Simas: Not so much.

The latest in Gaza, from the New York Times: "Israel’s missile defense system intercepted four rockets over the Tel Aviv area on Wednesday morning, after the military bombed the homes of several political leaders of the militant Islamic movement Hamas overnight and warned 100,000 residents of the Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes by 8 a.m. ahead of more airstrikes."

From the Washington Post: "Israel’s pledge to intensify its military operation in the Gaza Strip could hasten the moment when the Obama administration will be forced to decide whether to use its leverage to corral its closest ally in the Middle East."

Bashar Assad has been sworn in for his third seven-year term in office, notes the AP.

CONGRESS: House passes short-term highway extension

Per NBC's Frank Thorp, the House passed a short-term bill Tuesday night to fund federal highway programs through May 2015, in a 367-55 vote. It now heads to the Senate.

Senate Democrats will try to move ahead with the "Not My Boss's Business Act" to overturn the Hobby Lobby decision Wednesday, with an eye on female voters in the midterms.

House Speaker John Boehner says the House should unveil its bill to address the border crisis "by the end of this week."

Roll Call writes that the response "is likely to cost less and incorporate policy riders sure to rile up Democrats on the left — but still might not be stringent enough to satisfy members on the hard right."

The Wall Street Journal: "Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen defended keeping interest rates low before Congress on Tuesday, but opened the door a crack to earlier-than-planned rate hikes if the labor market continues its surprising improvement."

OFF TO THE RACES: 25 House seats?

Here's a wrap from one of us(!) of our latest NBC News/Marist polling on contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tells the Washington Post she wants to win 25 House seats in November.

The Wall Street Journal crunches the numbers to calculate that Democrats in seven of the most competitive Senate races are losing some of their fundraising advantage over Republican rivals.

Hillary Clinton called her use of the phrase "dead broke" to describe her family's financial situation after leaving the White House "inartful" during an appearance on The Daily Show with John Stewart.

Chris Christie is headed to Iowa in what the New York Times calls "his most significant and elaborate return to the presidential arena." MORE: "The strategy aims to demonstrate that whatever the Tea Party and ideological appeal of his would-be rivals, they lack his gift for, and enjoyment of, street-level “retail politics."

Martin O'Malley Watch: The Maryland gov raised about $800,000 for his PAC between April and June.

ALABAMA: After a six-week GOP runoff, former think tank head Gary Palmer beat state Rep. Paul DeMarco in the race for the nomination for Rep. Spencer Bachus’s seat.

ALASKA: Frenemies in Alaska? "A new campaign ad from Democratic Sen. Mark Begich spotlights his relationship with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, saying the two vote together as much as 80 percent of the time," writes the Alaska Dispatch News. "But Murkowski is pushing back, saying that in spite of their cooperation on key Alaska issues, she and Begich are not as close as the ad would lead listeners to believe."

ARKANSAS: Senate challenger Tom Cotton outraised Mark Pryor again, hauling in $2.28 million in the second quarter.

COLORADO: A new Quinnipiac University poll finds Republican Bob Beauprez up one point on incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper, 44-43 percent. That’s a different result than our NBC/Marist poll released from earlier this week, which showed Hickenlooper up on Beauprez, 49%-43%.

FLORIDA: “Florida legislative leaders ended their silence on their rejected congressional map Tuesday and announced they will not appeal a judge’s ruling, but will redraw the invalid map, as long as they can wait until after the 2014 election,” writes the Miami Herald.

IOWA: Team Ernst's objections to a new attack ad by Senate Majority PAC: It's not fair to air negative attacks when she's on National Guard training and "unable to respond or defend herself."

KANSAS: Ouch. More than 100 Republican officials threw their support behind Democrat Paul Davis Tuesday over incumbent Sam Brownback, per the Wichita Eagle.

KENTUCKY: Alison Grimes topped Kentucky fundraising records in the second quarter, raising more than $4 million.

MISSISSIPPI: The Clarion-Ledger writes that the FEC report filed by a group that helped recruit black voters to vote for Thad Cochran seems to conflict with what the organization's leader said last week.

NORTH CAROLINA: Mark Walker, a former Baptist minister, won last night's GOP primary runoff for the 6th Congressional District against Phil Berger, the son of the leader of the state Senate, writes the Charlotte Observer.

Trouble for Tillis? "House Democrats are accusing Republican Speaker Thom Tillis of abuse of power for refusing to release funds for caucus staff and using parliamentary maneuvers to cut off debate."

TENNESSEE: She said she's "all in" for Joe Carr -- now Laura Ingraham is going to campaign for the Lamar Alexander opponent.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Wednesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews State Sen./Gubernatorial nominee Jack Hatch, Fmr. Sen. and current candidate Bob Smith, Fmr. Gov. Bill Richardson, NBC’s Martin Fletcher, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin

*** Wednesday’s “José Díaz-Balart” line-up: José Díaz-Balart interviews Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), NBC’s Luke Russert, Americans for Immigrant Justice’s Children’s Legal Project’s Michelle Abarca, MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Founding Partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Tim Draper. Jose will also interview Cristian Arcega, Luis Aranda, and Lorenzo Santillan who are the subjects of the new documentary Under Water Dreams.

*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews L.A. Times reporter Chris Megerian on the “Six Californias” campaign; the Arizona Republic’s Mariana Dale on the U.S. border crisis; Emmy-award winning sportscaster Len Berman on Derek Jeter’s final All-Star game; and Jay Barbree, author of the new book “Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight.”

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Rep. Steve Israel, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, USA Today’s Susan Page, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, NBC’s Martin Fletcher and Ayman Mohyeldin and Dr. Richard O’Brien, Duke University Medical Center Chief of Neurology, specializing in Alzheimer’s research.

*** Wednesday’s “Ronan Farrow Daily” line-up: MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow interviews Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on the GOP lawsuit against Obama; Nicholas Kristof will talk about China’s stealing of American technology secrets; and NBC News Science & Environmental expert Jeff Corwin talks about Argentine depressed polar bear Arturo.