First Read's Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: The latest in Iraq

"The Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, senior U.S. officials said Monday," writes the AP. "Previously, the U.S. had insisted on only selling arms to the Iraqi government in Baghdad, but the Kurdish peshmerga fighters had been losing ground to Islamic State militants in recent weeks."

From the New York Times: "With American strikes beginning to show clear effects on the battlefield, Kurdish forces counterattacked Sunni militants in northern Iraq on Sunday, regaining control of two strategic towns with aid from the air."

And/but: "Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki has said he will take the country's president to court for violating constitutional rules. In an address on state TV, Mr Maliki criticised Fuad Masum for not intervening after

Secretary of State John Kerry is making clear that Maliki doesn't have Washington's support.

The New York Times traces the rise of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-appointment head of ISIS first picked up by U.S. forces in a 2004 raid against Sunni insurgents.

OFF TO THE RACES: Hawaii in overtime

Mayday PAC, the Larry Lessig-led group fighting big-money fire with fire, is expanding its efforts from five to eight targeted races. Time also writes that the group will unveil support Monday for Rep. Walter Jones (R—N.C.) and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D—N.H.), and Ruben Gallego, who's running in Arizona's 7th district.

The AP writes that the Koch brothers are help to fund conservative efforts to make inroads with the Latino community. "Enter the Libre Initiative, an organization that has collected millions from the Kochs' political network. Libre, which is pronounced LEE'-bray and means "free," pushes a message of limited government and economic freedom between lessons on how to build family-run businesses and prayer breakfasts with Hispanic pastors."

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney looks at both GOP efforts to capture more power in the nations' statehouses. "Officials from both parties say there are two states that the Republicans might be able to add to the list of places where they enjoy complete control — Iowa and Arkansas. (There are no similar opportunities for Democrats.) Given that, Republicans this year are also looking to pick off individual chambers as a way of increasing their negotiating ability with Democratic governors and statehouses, or to block Democrats from passing legislation. Republicans are looking to take over senates in Colorado, Iowa, Oregon, Maine and Nevada, and houses in Kentucky, New Hampshire and West Virginia. Republicans could emerge with complete control of the legislatures in New Hampshire and Kentucky, though both of those states have Democratic governors."

Here's the Des Moines Register wrap of the Family Leader Summit: "A nine-hour summit of Christian conservative activists on Saturday was the first big Iowa cattle call of potential presidential candidates of the 2016 season — and Iowans' first opportunity to directly compare five Republicans as they spoke, back to back, on the same stage."

ALASKA: Another case of immigration shaking up a GOP primary, this time in Alaska, where candidates are sparring over "amnesty."

GEORGIA: Missed votes are becoming an issue in the governor's race. The Journal-Constitution: "Democrat Jason Carter missed dozens of votes in the state Senate as he prepared to run for higher office, including key decisions on the fate of new cities in DeKalb County and a constitutional amendment to cap Georgia’s income tax."

HAWAII: The latest on that nail-biter between Brian Schatz and Colleen Hanabusa, from the Star-Advertiser: "Election officials still need to tabulate votes from two Puna polling sites that were closed as a result of roads damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle, affecting about 8,000 registered voters. Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago said ballots would be mailed to those who did not vote prior to Saturday by mail or walk-in and voters would have several days to return them."

Both candidates are heading to the affected region to push for votes, writes the Civil Beat. "The latest election results released Sunday morning had Schatz with 48.5 percent of the vote and Hanabusa with 47.8 percent, as of 3:25 a.m. Sunday."

LOUISIANA: Is Louisiana's Senate race going to end in an overtime runoff? The Times-Picayune writes that polling "raises the specter that a unified Republican challenge to Landrieu could put the GOP over the 50 percent threshold in November. How likely is that - the Republicans getting their act together and settling on one candidate - to happen? Any honest answer would be, not very."

MONTANA: The Billings Gazette notes that Steve Daines will get his opponent next Saturday, when Democratic delegates choose a replacement for John Walsh. But whoever gets picked will have an uphill slog just to raise cash and get his or her name out there.

WISCONSIN: Time takes a look at Mary Burke's efforts to oust Scott Walker.


*** Monday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Luke Russert interviews NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski, Duncan Golestani, Bill Neely, John Yang, Pete Williams, Carrie Dann, Politico’s Manu Raju and The Washington Post’s Robert Costa.

*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Betty Nguyen interviews Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Jack Jacobs & USA Today’s Military Reporter Jim Michaels, and The Daily Beast’s Andrew Slater with the latest on Iraq; and NBC News contributor Raul Reyes on U.S. schools bracing for up to 50,000 undocumented kids starting school this fall.