First Read's Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: On track to hit 7 million

The AP reported before last night's midnight deadline that the target of 7 million enrollees was in reach, according to officials.

Indeed, NBC News confirms that enrollment on the health-care exchanges is on TRACK to hit or surpass 7 million, according to an administration source familiar with the enrollment numbers.

The New York Times notes that "the end of the open enrollment period, which began six months ago with the disastrous debut of the federal website, starts a new phase likely to be defined by the economics of health insurance as well as by politics."

But this isn’t a good front-page headline for Obamacare in the Wall Street Journal: "New Technical Woes Hobble Health Sign-Ups at Zero Hour." looks at Obamacare, by the numbers.

Ashley Parker of the New York Times writes that Republicans are using the label of Obama's "imperial presidency" as a rallying cry - even as they describe the president as weak and ineffective. "So far, they are succeeding in having it both ways."

Breaking this morning, from the AP: “An official close to the Mideast peace talks says a deal is emerging to extend the troubled negotiations. It includes the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for 400 Palestinian prisoners.”

CONGRESS: Ryan to unveil his latest budget

"House Republicans are expected to unveil a budget Tuesday that seeks to make their proposed revamp of Medicare more politically palatable, while at the same time moving to expand its reach," the Wall Street Journal writes. "House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) is expected to unveil a budget that would give people age 55 and younger a choice between keeping traditional government-run Medicare or receiving a subsidy to buy private health insurance, lawmakers said."

"A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques," the Washington Post reports. "The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document."

The Wall Street Journal previews today's Capitol Hill hearing about GM's ignition defects. "The hearing promises a round of finger-pointing over where the blame lies for a nearly decade-long delay between the recalls that began this February and when GM engineers knew there were problems with ignition switches designed for the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt."

The Washington Post: "The Senate voted Monday evening to pass a so-called "doc fix" bill approved last week by the House, the 17th time that Congress has acted since 2003 to temporarily delay cuts to doctor reimbursements under Medicare due to a structural problem in the formula used to determine funding levels."

The Senate debate on raising the federal minimum wage may slip to next week, reports Roll Call.

And/but: The Hill writes that Republican Sen. Susan Collins is working on a compromise bill that could undercut Obama's target wage of $10.10 an hour.

OFF TO THE RACES: DNC remains in debt ahead of midterms

"The Democratic National Committee is entering this campaign season with millions of dollars in debt, gambling that money spent now on technology and organizing efforts will outweigh the burdens of red ink," reports the Wall Street Journal.

But what about the signature corndogs? "Conservative critics say Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) wants to make it tougher for Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and other Tea Party favorites to win the 2016 Iowa caucuses," The Hill writes. "They believe Branstad wants to get rid of the Iowa Straw Poll, which has helped boost anti-establishment presidential candidates, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)."

Progressive pro-Israel advocacy group J Street is not happy with Chris Christie after his apology for his “occupied territories” remark.

French President Francois Hollande faces a Tea Party-like backlash, as well as a Birther-like conspiracy theory that he "may have secretly renounced his Christianity."

ARKANSAS: Americans for Prosperity is up with a new ad lashing Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor to his vote for the health care law.

D.C.: It's Primary Day in the nation's capital. NBC Washington: "An NBC4/Marist poll published last week showed [incumbent mayor Vincent] Gray in a statistical tie with councilmember Muriel Bowser, who has been advertising herself as a "fresh face" in D.C. politics."

ILLINOIS: A new poll from the Illinois Observer and Strive Strategies finds that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would face a tough re-election race if Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle decides to run.

MASSACHUSETTS: Here's, er, one way to raise some campaign coin before the end of the quarter: The Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Steven Grossman sent out this e-mail pitch after agonizing through a debate sponsored by MassEquality: "Despite suffering extreme pain from a kidney stone attack, Steve showed up to stand strongly in support for LGBT social justice and equality."

MICHIGAN: Republican Ways and Means chief Rep. Dave Camp won't run for re-election, NBC's Frank Thorp reports. Camp, who is in his 12th term, is running up against a term limit as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and would have needed a waiver from House Speaker John Boehner to gain that post again, something aides said was unlikely.

Camp's departure adds to Michigan's declining influence on the Hill, Roll Call writes.

MISSISSIPPI: Stu Rothenberg writes at Roll Call that the Mississippi Senate primary is the GOP one to watch.

NEBRASKA: Shane Osborne is up with a new web video marking the 13th anniversary of the day his U.S. Navy aircraft was struck by a Chinese fighter jet.

NORTH CAROLINA: American Crossroads is up with a new ad backing Thom Tillis in the contested Republican Senate primary.


*** Tuesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), California gubernatorial Candidate Neel Kashkari and Professor Frank Mauro.

*** Tuesday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), CEO of Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange Kevin Counihan, National Reporter Irin Carmon, New York Times Political Reporter Nicholas Confessore, Reporter Zachary Roth, Editor in Chief of More Magazine Lesley Jane Seymour, and Owner of 85Broads Sallie Krawcheck.

*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Brett Snavely from Detroit Free Press on General Motors CEO testimony on hill today; Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on women's equal pay; Amanda Bishop, organizer of a fundraiser for a homeless woman who was arrested for leaving her children in her car when she went on an interview; Michio Kaku, author of “The Future of the Mind”; and Arlan Ettinger from Guernsey’s Auction House on “holy grail of guitars” being auctioned off.

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Rep. Mike Rogers, Fmr. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Secretary Sally Jewel, Daily Beast Founder Tina Brown, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and NBC’s Tom Costello and Bill Neely.

*** Tuesday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid interviews Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and attorney Adam Levitt about the investigation into General Motors. Plus’s Zachary Roth and Barbara Arnwine from the Laywers Cmte. For Civil Rights Under Law discuss efforts to take away Americans’ voting rights.