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First Read's Morning Clips

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day.

OBAMA AGENDA: Making the case on Iran

The New York Times on how Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the U.S. is causing problems for Jewish Democrats: "[T]he Boehner-Netanyahu alliance has done something that larger foreign policy crises have not: It has led to the open distinction between support for the State of Israel and allegiance to politicians who lead it."

And, the paper reports, today is an important day for the administration making its case on Iran: "President Obama and two of his top national security officials will make their case publicly on Monday for a diplomatic agreement with Iran to prevent that nation from acquiring a nuclear weapon, one day before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is to address Congress to denounce such a deal."

From the AP: " Backed by allied Shiite and Sunni fighters, Iraqi security forces on Monday began a large-scale military operation to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown from the Islamic State extremist group, state TV said, a major step in a campaign to reclaim a large swath of territory in northern Iraq controlled by the militants."

John Kerry will defend Israel at a U.N. meeting in Geneva, writes Reuters.

"The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer’s shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said," reports the New York Times.

CONGRESS: Behind the scenes of Friday’s drama

POLITICO goes behind the scenes of Friday's drama on Capitol Hill: "Republicans had hoped pressure would build on recalcitrant Senate Democrats to ultimately rebel against Obama and force him to capitulate — or at least prompt them to negotiate a compromise. That didn’t happen. They had hoped more public attention to the issue might be spawned by a new outside event, such as more migrant children appearing at the southern border. That didn’t happen. And they had hoped that more time would give their party a fresh opportunity to settle on a coordinated and coherent legislative response to the president. But that certainly didn’t happen."

Per Roll Call, here's a possible escape hatch for Boehner: "Clause four of House Rule XXII (not to be confused with the more-often cited Senate Rule XXII) provides: “When the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged.”As the Congressional Research Service explains, “A chamber enters the stage of disagreement by formally agreeing to a motion or a unanimous consent request that it disagrees to the position of the other chamber, or that it insists on its own position.” In other words, any House lawmaker, arguing that a conference scenario is moot and won’t be resolved before the clock runs out on the current extension of DHS funding, could take to the floor and move that the House recedes from its previous position and concurs in the Senate amendment."

The Chicago Sun-Times: “Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., used taxpayer money to pay for a private plane to travel from Peoria to Chicago for the Bears-Vikings game on Nov. 16, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. And a Sun-Times examination of House disbursement records and campaign finance reports suggests that Schock used taxpayer money to help underwrite a September trip to New York, where a political action committee he controls spent $3,000 for Global Citizen Festival concert tickets.”

OFF TO THE RACES: WSJ: Clinton’s launch -- as expected -- is likely to come in April

BUSH: The Washington Post reports on how Jeb Bush is emphasizing his record as governor to boost his conservative credentials, even as he's out of step with the GOP base on immigration and education policy.

Reuters looks at Jeb Bush’s early plans to create a biotech hub in Florida – and how they haven’t really panned out.

CHRISTIE: Chris Christie told California Republicans to hold off on picking a nominee too quickly, the LA Times reports.

CLINTON: It's back to an April timeline for Hillary Clinton, writes the Wall Street Journal: "Hillary Clinton and her close advisers are telling Democratic donors that she will enter the presidential race sooner than expected, likely in April, a move that would allay uncertainties within her party and allow her to rev up fundraising."

The Washington Post looks at Hillary Clinton's relationship with Netanyahu: "Should Clinton win the presidency in 2016, her long and complicated history with Netanyahu will enter a new phase. If Netan­yahu survives an election this month, the same issues that cloud the U.S.-Israel relationship now — negotiations with the Palestinians and a disagreement over outreach to Iran that turned sharply bitter over Netanyahu’s Tuesday address — will almost certainly still fester."

RUBIO: The AP reports that Marco Rubio is close to a decision about a presidential run, including some big staff moves.

PAUL: Here's our report on Rand Paul's CPAC straw poll win.

National Journal writes on how GOP hawks are systematically working to discredit Rand Paul's libertarian foreign policy views.

And around the country...

CALIFORNIA: Almost two-thirds of Californians approve of Gov. Jerry Brown, though that doesn't mean they would vote for him for president.

VIRGINIA: The Washington Post writes that Republican infighting could hurt the party in the 2016 presidential election. "A bitter source of the conflict — one almost certain to ignite renewed debate as 2016 approaches — is whether the state GOP will select a presidential candidate in a primary or at a convention, a process likely to influence whether the winner is a centrist or a right-wing Republican."


*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky and NBC’s Chris Jansing about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressing Congress, Washington Post Moscow Bureau Chief Michael Birnbaum about the death of Boris Nemtov, and Jeb Matulich and Brian Wysong of Tumbleweed Texstyles about their company as part of our Born in the USA series.

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, Washington Post’s Anne Gearan, Foreign Policy magazine Editor David Rothkopf, Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page.