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First Read’s Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: A “tense debate”

“A new advocacy group called #CubaNow will launch an ad urging Obama to expand the ability of Americans to travel to Cuba and send money to the emerging business community there,” USA Today writes. “Made up of younger Cuban Americans and former Obama administration officials who view the 50-year-old embargo as a failed effort to topple the country's Communist government, the group says Congress is unable to get anything done so they're pushing the president to take steps on his own.”

“As President Obama and his national security team struggle to increase pressure on Russia over its intervention in Ukraine, they have become entangled in a tense debate over how much emphasis to put on unity with.”

OFF TO THE RACES: GOP establishment has the edge

The Wall Street Journal, channeling First Read from last week, writes: “Circle May 20 on your calendar; it is shaping up as a good day for the Republican ‘establishment.’ That’s the day Republican primary voters in Georgia, Idaho and Kentucky pick their nominees for the fall campaigns – and, in the process, help settle which faction of the GOP holds the upper hand in an ongoing split between party leaders and conservative activists. May will bring some of this year’s most competitive Republican primaries. At this point, it looks as if the environment is tilting heavily in the establishment’s favor.”

NEBRASKA: Republican Shane Osborn is up with a new ad hitting primary opponent Ben Sasse for past comments supportive of some aspects of Obamacare.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: “The New Hampshire Democratic Party hits Scott Brown with this release: "Scott Brown’s announcement on WMUR’s CloseUp that he made a decision to run for the Senate on Valentine’s Day—February 14th, 2014 – raises potential legal questions. The revelation on this morning’s program suggests that he decided to run for office a full five days before he renewed his contract with FOX News and continued cashing in on his lucrative deal as a political pundit."

Meanwhile, per WMUR: “The New Hampshire Republican Party plans to formally request the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether there was an illegal coordination between the Jeanne Shaheen’s re-election campaign and a Democratic Super PAC, which began running a new series of ads in the state Friday.”

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

Monday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Kristen Welker interviews NBC’s Chuck Todd, Bill Karins, Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Phil Taylor, NBC News Vatican Analyst George Weigel, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Baruch College Professor Brian Murphy, NBC’s Kasie Hunt and The Washington Post’s Dan Balz and Reid Wilson.

Monday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Guest host Betty Nguyen interview Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Director of African American Studies at the University of Connecticut Jelani Cobb, Director of Africana Studies and Assoc. Professor of English at Lehigh University James Peterson, Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Shannon Watts, Democratic Strategist Jason Stanford, Republican Strategist Joe Watkins.

Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron interviews Dave Zirin and NAACP Interim Pres Lorraine Miller on LA Clippers owner alleged racist rant; Ellie Krieger from the Food Network on calorie labels on menus; Zachary Karabell on the success of his new book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”; and Cedric the Entertainer.

Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’ Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Bob Corker, FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, NBC’s Bob Costas, Chuck Todd and Anne Thompson, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, Ruth Marcus and Eugene Robinson and NBC News Vatican analyst George Weigel.

Monday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid interviews the Rev. Al Sharpton on Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s controversial comments. MSNBC.com’s Irin Carmon reports on today’s federal appeals court arguments that challenge a Mississippi law that would close the last abortion clinic in the state. And Joy reports on the fight to become the city to host Pres. Obama’s presidential library.\