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First Read's Morning Clips: GOP Insiders Speak Out

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Balloons swirl in the air following Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's acceptance speech
Balloons swirl in the air following Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, on August 30, 2012 on the final day of the Republican National Convention (RNC). The RNC culminates today with the formal nomination of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as the GOP presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the US presidential election. AFP PHOTO Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)STAN HONDA / AFP - Getty Images, file

OFF TO THE RACES: An inside look at the Republican insiders

Ari Melber has a deep dive into what insiders say about the RNC convention rules. One key part: "Most of the 19 Rules Committee members reached by MSNBC opposed any rule enabling new candidates to run at the convention. Only three backed a rule allowing new candidates to run."

Leigh Ann Caldwell writes that the Stop Trump movement is limping forward.

In a lengthy new series, the Washington Post looks at "The Great Unsettling" in American politics.

Where are the candidates on foreign policy? The Wall Street Journal takes a look.

CLINTON: The group most steadfastly resisting her? White men. From the New York Times: "Many said they did not trust her to overhaul the economy because of her wealth and her ties to Wall Street. Some said her use of private email as secretary of state indicated she had something to hide. A few said they did not think a woman should be commander in chief. But most said they simply did not think Mrs. Clinton cared about people like them."

The Wall Street Journal reports: "Pro-Democratic groups are launching an orchestrated bid to weaken GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump ahead of a potential November showdown with Hillary Clinton, while her campaign readies a strategy of engaging the billionaire businessman on issues without trading insults. A coalition of 22 liberal groups—including some that have endorsed Mrs. Clinton and others that back her Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders—have united behind a campaign to stop Mr. Trump."

RUBIO: He's stopped short of an endorsement but praised Ted Cruz while on the Hill yesterday.

POLITICO reports that Rubio is close to endorsing Cruz but the two camps are still working out the details.

SANDERS: He will not seek a recount in Missouri, conceding the state to Hillary Clinton.

The state of the race for Bernie? Looking grim, POLITICO reports. "Bernie Sanders' Western push was supposed to start with a win next week in Arizona, a state where he's devoted serious advertising resources and drawn big crowds to his events. But the shellacking he suffered Tuesday has cast a long shadow over his Arizona prospects, leading many Arizona Democrats to question whether the Vermont senator can get out from under it in time for his March 22 contest with Hillary Clinton."

TRUMP: The AP writes that he's been mingling his business with his campaigning. "As he crisscrosses the country delivering speeches at rallies and calling into cable news shows, Trump's business ventures are never far from his mind and have been playing an increasingly prominent role in his campaign."

An open letter from the LA Times editorial board: "Note to Donald Trump: A brokered convention is no reason to riot"

Was he hacked? NBC's Matt DeLuca and Hallie Jackson write that the personal information released online has actually been publicly available for a while.

"Several immigration rights activists claim presidential candidate Donald Trump's rhetoric is inspiring state lawmakers to write legislation that targets immigrants and refugees," writes Brian Latimer for NBC Latino.

POLITICO reports that endangered House Republicans are trying their best to ignore Donald Trump.

The Washington Post: "Donald Trump’s unorthodox campaign is causing growing anxiety over how U.S. trade, military and diplomatic policies would change if he were elected president, according to ambassadors from six continents."

OBAMA AGENDA: Merrick Garland’s style

More from the New York Times on Merrick Garland's style: "His writings reflect an able and modest judge with a limited conception of his role working on a docket largely lacking in cases on controversial social issues."

The Washington Post: "Democrats began laying out an aggressive strategy Thursday to get Judge Merrick Garland considered by the Senate and seated on the Supreme Court, over what appears to be implacable Republican opposition. The approach, which is being implemented in part by a well-organized group led by former aides to President Obama, involves targeting vulnerable GOP Senate incumbents for defeat by portraying them as unwilling to fulfill the basic duties of their office. The idea is to so threaten the Republicans’ Senate majority that party leaders will reconsider blocking hearings on Garland’s nomination."