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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News
By Mark Murray, Chuck Todd and Carrie Dann

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter

Here comes the economic-populist debate

The political conversation, understandably, has focused on the unrest in Baltimore (see this week) and foreign affairs (the past few months). But yesterday’s presidential announcement by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and next week’s announcement by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are reminders how economic populism will be a front-and-center issue -- in both the Democratic and Republican presidential primary fields. Worker’s wages. The minimum wage. Trade. Income inequality. They’re all going to be elevated (and elevated in different ways), especially by likes of Bernie Sanders, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum.

Social conservatism + economic populism = powerful force

Huckabee, who is set to announce his presidential bid on May 5, has always been underestimated by the D.C. political crowd. But the reason he won Iowa in 2008 -- and why Santorum won it in 2012 -- wasn’t due solely to being a social conservative. It also was because he’s an economic populist. Just check out this new Huckabee video leading up to his announcement. Don’t forget how social conservatism + economic populism = a powerful force in Republican politics. As we’ve seen in the last two presidential contests, it’s not enough to get you the Republican nomination. But it’s enough to make you a serious player.

Why Bernie Sanders likely helps Hillary

Bernie Sanders’ official entrance into the 2016 presidential race is most likely a good outcome for Hillary Clinton. Why? He will elevate many of the issues that Clinton and the entire Democratic Party want to discuss during the primary season (income inequality, curtailing the role of big money in presidential politics, climate change). And he’ll do so as someone who isn’t interested in scoring political points -- especially in the form of negative attacks -- against Hillary. Hillary’s Harlem (err Brooklyn) Globetrotters now has its Washington (err Vermont) Generals. The question we have is whether it’s enough competition to up Hillary’s game.

Jeb Bush: “I love you… I just think you’re wrong on immigration”

Unlike what we saw from John McCain in 2008 and what we’re seeing now from Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, it looks like Jeb Bush isn’t backing away from his belief in comprehensive immigration reform. At the summit hosted by National Review, Bush “held fast on his immigration record, and argued that it is better to narrow access to citizenship to spouses and children and ‘expand based on need,’ rather than cutting off that pathway completely,” National Journal says. More Bush: "I love you and I love National Review," he added. "I just think you're wrong on immigration, and you think I'm wrong."

Bridge-gate/Christie Watch

From our colleagues at NBC's New York affiliate: "The former Port Authority official who resigned amid the political uproar over the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September 2013 is due in federal court in Newark Friday, where he is expected to enter into a plea deal in the scandal, according to sources familiar with the matter. David Wildstein, a former ally of Gov. Chris Christie and a Christie appointee to the Port Authority, is expected to plead guilty to unspecified criminal charges in connection with the lane closures at an 11 a.m. court appearance, sources familiar with the case said.” Maybe more importantly: “Authorities have also planned an afternoon news briefing for Friday, at which point they are expected to announce the names of other former Christie aides indicted in the scandal, which skewered the Republican's presidential ambitions and caused his popularity in the Garden State to tank.”

House votes to overturn DC law

Roll Call: “In a largely symbolic move, the House voted mostly down party lines late Thursday night to block a District of Columbia bill that D.C. officials say would combat workplace discrimination. A corps of mainly Republicans passed a joint resolution of disapproval 228-192, aimed at the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, which dictated that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their reproductive health decisions. Conservatives argued the act could force employers to violate their religious beliefs.” NBC’s Alex Moe writes that it’s the first time in more than 20 years that the House voted to strike down a DC law. “Conservatives in the House argue the legislation passed by the Council violates religious freedom.” But it doesn’t appear the measure will become law. More from Moe: “The Congressional review period for the legislation ends on May 4th and -- while Congress has the ability to halt laws passed by the DC City Council -- the resolution would need to be passed by both the House and Senate and be signed by President Obama first.”

To paraphrase Tom Cruise’s character in “Risky Business,” it looks like University of Chicago for Obama’s presidential library

“President Obama is poised to announce that he has chosen to situate his future presidential library in the South Side of Chicago, according to an individual briefed on the decision,” the Washington Post writes. “The decision to accept the University of Chicago's bid to host the library would end months of speculation over where Obama would seek to establish his post-presidential legacy. Columbia University, his alma mater, and the University of Hawaii sought to win the library for New York and Honolulu, respectively. The University of Illinois at Chicago had also vied to host it.”

On “Meet the Press” this Sunday

Among Chuck Todd’s guests: House Speaker John Boehner and potential presidential candidate Martin O’Malley.

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