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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Obama meets Afghan president at White House

From the AP: "President Barack Obama welcomes Afghanistan's new president to the Oval Office on Tuesday with a fraught question staring them in the face: Will the U.S. slow its departure from Afghanistan — and for how long?"

The New York Times: "President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan is expected to urge President Obama in a White House meeting on Tuesday not to pull American military forces out of his country as quickly as planned, requesting an extension of assistance in combating a tenacious Taliban insurgency."

Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized for his remarks about Arab voters, but the White House isn't backing down on criticism of the comments he made shortly before his reeelection.

From the Wall Street Journal: "Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks With U.S." MORE: "The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program, current and former officials said."

The White House’s florist left the day before Valentine’s Day, and no one seems to know why.

CONGRESS: GOP tries to get creative in breaking budget deadlock

Roll Call finds a quirky rule that could help Republicans figure out their budget deadlock.

OFF TO THE RACES: How ISIS and Iran could shape 2016

The Wall Street Journal notes a phenomenon that's probably not great news for Rand Paul: ISIS and Iran are changing the calculation for presidential candidates.

BUSH: Then-President George W. Bush turned down several requests for disaster aid for his brother, the Boston Globe notes.

He's doing a fundraiser with his brother in Dallas Wednesday.

CLINTON: She "road-tested two themes likely to shape her pitch to voters in the 2016 presidential campaign—the value of working together and the need to combat economic inequality" during her appearance at the Center for American Progress, writes the Wall Street Journal.

She met with Obama for about an hour yesterday, the White House said.

CRUZ: Via the friendly folks at Facebook, his announcement video was viewed over 700,000 times on his Facebook page.

The New York Times, on Ted Cruz: "[A] brilliant and unusually ambitious upstart who chafed at orders from superiors and often rubbed people the wrong way but always saw himself destined for a lofty place in history."

The Des Moines Register notes that Cruz's path must run through Iowa.

The Washington Post editorial board: "[T]he most notable characteristic of Mr. Cruz’s brief time in elected politics has been his aversion to values that are essential to democracy’s functioning: practicality, modesty and compromise."

Cruz's entry means the race for the political right is on, notes the Washington Post.

KASICH: The AP's profile of the Ohio gov: "Kasich, 62, a two-term governor in one of the nation's most important swing states, a former House Budget Committee chairman, Lehman Brothers executive and Fox TV host, will reintroduce himself to New Hampshire voters Tuesday in public and private events that will help him assess his prospects. He'll be in Maine, New York, Michigan and the big primary state of South Carolina in coming weeks."

Here's what his day in New Hampshire looks like, via Paul Steinhauser.

JINDAL: From the Washington Post: "Jindal’s tax plan blessed by Norquist, cursed by conservatives in Louisiana"

PAUL: His first official campaign event in Iowa will target young voters, reports the Des Moines Register.

And around the country...

New York: POLITICO takes a look at the rise and fall of Andrew Cuomo, who has been "totally trapped" by Hillary Clinton.


*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Former NTSB Board member Kathryn Higgins and aviation security expert and former pilot Anthony Roman about the Airbus A320 which crashed in France, and Wall Street Journal reporter Adam Entous about his breaking story regarding Israel allegedly spying on closed door nuclear talks between The U.S. and Iran.