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OBAMA AGENDA: Speaking out on Ferguson

He spoke about the Ferguson shootings while appearing on Jimmy Kimmel last night, calling the perpetrators "criminals" and saying that the violence shouldn't distract from the conversation about civil rights issues.

The president will travel to Phoenix on Friday to highlight what the Veterans Affairs Department has done to address mismanagement problems.

The New York Times offers this big picture on ISIS: "The Islamic State is facing growing dissension among its rank-and-file fighters and struggling to govern towns and villages it has seized, but the militant Sunni group is still managing to launch attacks and expand its ideological reach outside of Iraq and Syria, senior American officials said."

The latest from the Washington Post on the new Secret Service flap: "Two Secret Service agents suspected of being under the influence while striking a White House security barricade drove through an active bomb investigation and directly beside the suspicious package, according to current and former government officials familiar with the incident."

Valerie Jarrett tells the New York Times Magazine: “‘I intend to stay until the lights go off.”

Where's Vladimir Putin? Bloomberg: "Russian President Vladimir Putin has disappeared. Well, not literally, but he hasn't been seen in public for a full week and reports about his schedule on the presidential website seem suspect. The Kremlin denies that he is ill, and the Russian blogosphere is abuzz with speculation."

Mitt Romney pens a USA Today op-ed urging Obama to say ‘no deal’ to Iran. “[T]he president could silence critics like me and even qualify for a Profile in Courage Award by doing the right thing on Iran: Walk away from a flimsy nuclear agreement.”

A really fun read, from the Post's Juliet Eilperin: "Historically, presidential condolence statements may be one of the most idiosyncratic of White House processes. There are no formal rules; decisions are made spontaneously, and no matter who writes them, or when, they end up largely reflecting the personality and inclinations of the sitting president."

CONGRESS: GOP opposition to AG nominee could be unprecedented

The New York Times editorial board is unhappy with Congress for failing to address the ISIS authorization of force.

Roll Call notes that Republican opposition to Loretta Lynch could make history.

The rancor over the abortion provision in an otherwise uncontroversial human trafficking bill is persisting, with Harry Reid insisting that Republicans strip out the language.

OFF TO THE RACES: Tired of the battle?

POLITICO writes on how Republicans are wooing a small group of wonky thinkers.

CHRISTIE: He's staffing up, hiring a trio of George W. Bush alums as his allies launch a new super PAC.

POLITICO writes that he’s trying to reassure his supporters that he’s still in the game.

CLINTON: Getting retweets aplenty from Democrats today: The Wall Street Journal writes that many of Hillary Clinton's GOP rivals used personal email accounts and had discretion over which ones were turned over to be made public.

Here's Peggy Noonan on Hillary's week: "This wasn’t the work of a national, high-grade political response team, it was the thrown-together mess of someone who knew she was guilty of self-serving actions, who didn’t herself believe what she was saying, who didn’t think the press would swallow it, and who didn’t appear to care. She didn’t look hungry for the battle, she looked tired of the battle."

Historians are worried about the destruction of personal records as well.

Donors are pushing Clinton to launch her candidacy ASAP. And she's taking a major step by hiring the press team that her backers have been clamoring for.

FIORINA: Carly Fiorina gets the New York Times treatment: "Ms. Fiorina easily sticks out among the wide field of possible Republican contenders for president: Most of the others are white men. But what has distinguished her most so far, aside from her gender, is not her private-sector experience or her pro-market policies, but her increasingly pointed attacks on Mrs. Clinton. Of course, every Republican contender has taken aim at Mrs. Clinton, the presumed Democratic opponent who looms in the distance. But Ms. Fiorina alone can present herself as a natural foil without the added risk of being labeled a sexist man."

RUBIO:He's nabbed another former Romney aide, Rich Beeson, who could serve as the senator's deputy campaign manager should he run.

PROGRAMMING NOTES

*** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Today on News Nation, Tamron Hall speaks with MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart about the 2 cops that were shot in Ferguson after Police Chief Thomas Jackson announced his resignation, Attorney John Burris about SAE fraternity hiring a high profile lawyer to sue Oklahoma University, and NBC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pete Williams about the latest on the Boston Bombing trial

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: Andrea will interview State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, the Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig and Chris Cillizza, msnbc’s Trymaine Lee, NBC’s Bill Neely, Pete Williams and Sarah Dallof and Bloomberg Editor Jeanne Cummings.

Breaking News Emails

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