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First Read’s Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: No thumb-twiddling

Looking for signs on executive action and immigration: Here's Obama to reporters yesterday, from one of us(!): "We're going to make sure that every time we take one of these steps that we are working within the confines of my executive power, but I promise you the American people don't want me just standing around twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Congress to get something done," he said."

The president also stopped short of saying the U.S. will fast-track approval of an experimental Ebola drug.

Russia is introducing its own sanctions in response to stiff penalties from the West. The AP: "Russia on Thursday banned most food imports from the West in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine — a sweeping move that will cost Western farmers billions of dollars but could also lead to empty shelves in Russian cities."

The New York Times: "During Israel’s month-long air-and-ground assault on the Gaza Strip, the world’s attention has focused on the more than 1,800 Palestinians killed and the more than 30,000 homes destroyed or damaged. But as a temporary truce held and talks toward a longer-term cease-fire began Wednesday, business leaders said that 175 of Gaza’s most successful industrial plants had also taken devastating hits, plunging an already despairing economy into a deeper abyss."

The Wall Street Journal: "Israel and Egypt quietly agreed to work in concert to squeeze Hamas after Egypt's military coup in 2013, a strategy that proved effective but which some Israeli and U.S. officials now believe stoked tensions that helped spur open warfare in Gaza."

Foreign policy analysis from the Wall Street Journal: "President Barack Obama and his top aides believe they are putting in place a new global security structure that will frame international relations for decades. Every day, however, brings a split-screen contrast between the White House's confidence in its long-term strategy and the daily chaos playing out from Ukraine to the Middle East."

Wednesday may not have been a good day for advocates of same-sex marriage, notes the Washington Post.

CONGRESS: Where are the job bills?

Speaker John Boehner’s office has re-launched a website listing all the House-passed jobs bills that are stuck in the Senate, the speaker’s office says.

OFF TO THE RACES: RGA ad hits Brownback opponent in Kansas

Roll Call takes a look at the DCCC's efforts to out-organize Republicans in the fall.

The AP takes a look at what Rick Perry’s doing to rehab his image and hire staff in preparation for another possible presidential run.

ALASKA: GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller called for Obama's impeachment at a Wednesday forum, reports the Alaska Dispatch News.

COLORADO: The Washington Post spends some time with GOP candidate Cory Gardner in Colorado. "Gardner has a clear strategy for unseating the incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D), a plan of four E's for Colorado's four corners. "It's about economic growth, responsible energy development, education for the future and making sure we continue to preserve and protect the incredible environment we have in Colorado,” he said."

KANSAS: The RGA is up with an ad slamming Democratic gubernatorial challenger Paul Davis - another sign of just how vulnerable Sam Brownback's looking.

KENTUCKY: From NBC's Alex Moe, in the heart of coal country: "Bill Clinton Rallies Support for Grimes in Kentucky"

IOWA: Democrat Staci Appel is up on TV in her competitive House race against former Grassley staffer David Young.

National Journal sums up all the 2016 activity coming up in the Hawkeye State

MICHIGAN: The Detroit Free Press has a good wrap of what we learned from the state's Tuesday primaries here.

MISSISSIPPI: "Mississippi’s state Republican Party on Wednesday refused to hear challenger Chris McDaniel’s effort to overturn his June 24 GOP runoff loss to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran,” writes the AP. “The party says McDaniel would do better taking his challenge to court."

MONTANA: “Sen. John Walsh hasn't made a public appearance since the weekend, and Montana Democrats are reviewing the steps they would need to take to replace him with another candidate if he decides to withdraw from the Senate race,” writes the AP.

LOUISIANA: Anti-abortion activists are launching an offensive against Mary Landrieu.

TENNESSEE: It's primary night! Lamar Alexander is expected to pull through, but two other House members may be in trouble, writes The Hill's Jessica Taylor.

VIRGINIA: The latest in the McDonnell trial, from the Richmond Times Dispatch: “Maureen McDonnell’s chief of staff depicted the former first lady Wednesday as a screaming “nutbag” in search of a designer handbag and an emotional rescue.”

WEST VIRGINIA: Republicans are jumping on a statement by a top supporter of Natalie Tennant who said she supports Obama on "most of his policies."

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Thursday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Kristen Welker interviews NBC’s Jim Maceda, WH Deputy Natl. Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, NAACP President Cornell Brooks, NBC’s Mark Murray, NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski, Col Jack Jacobs, Rep. Chris Smith

*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Lisa Green on the jury deliberations in the murder trial for the man who shot Renisha McBride; Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Jack Jacobs on President Obama signing the VA reform bill today; and Host of “Your Business,” JJ Ramberg, on the growing business for marijuana entrepreneurs.

*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, Debbie Dingell, the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart and “Nixon by Nixon” lead researcher Ken Hughes.