First Read's Morning Clips

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OBAMA AGENDA: U.S. to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through ‘15

From NBC's Andrew Rafferty: "President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced the U.S. will not reduce troop levels in Afghanistan by the end of 2015, despite the president's previous pledge to cut the number by half."

A federal appeals court will hold a hearing on April 17 to look at the battle over the president's executive actions on immigration.

The skinny on that White House florist saga, from the Washington Post: Dowling "left because her “fussy style” was not in line with the first lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics, several sources said."

CONGRESS: Doc-fix politics

The New York Times writes that Senate Democrats are objecting what was poised to be a bipartisan long-term plan to fix doctors' payments from Medicare.

House Republicans are set to pass a budget, reports the Wall Street Journal. "The budget is expected to narrowly clear the House, but leaders have made several course corrections to get there. In one major adjustment, lawmakers were planning to amend the budget through an unusual series of votes on competing amendments Wednesday."

Roll Call: "Budget maneuvers congressional Republicans are undertaking suggest the statutory discretionary spending caps, which some lawmakers consider a major party accomplishment, may not survive a GOP-controlled Congress."

OFF TO THE RACES: Yes, Cruz is eligible to be president

The Washington Post writes that some previously in-demand bundlers are "not quite rich enough for 2016."

BUSH: POLITICO writes that his support in potential firewall South Carolina isn't as strong as he hoped.

CHRISTIE: Bloomberg looks at how Chris Christie is trying to use his unscripted town halls to revive his presidential aspirations.

CLINTON: The New York Times notes that Hillary Clinton is caught between teachers' unions and wealthy liberal donors who oppose many of the policies the unions support.

Trusted aide Cheryl Mills won't play a formal role in her campaign, the New York Times reports.

CRUZ: One of us(!) took a look at what Cruz's Canadian birthplace does and doesn't mean.

The Washington Post finds that a climate researcher cited by Ted Cruz says he's interpreting the data wrong.

KASICH: The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Kasich, who says "I’m not ready to make a decision. This is not cat and mouse. All my options are on the table.”

PAUL: He's not being shy about trying to rain on Ted Cruz's parade, writes The Hill.

WALKER: From Yahoo's Michael Isikoff: "Secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin billionaire uncovered in Scott Walker dark-money probe"

And around the country.

INDIANA: Indiana Republican Dan Coats won't run for reelection.

VIRGINIA: Gov. Terry McAuliffe got special treatment from DHS on behalf of his electric car company, the Washington Post writes.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with aviation expert and former pilot John Cox about the Airbus A320 which crashed in France, Rep, Eleanor Holmes Norton about the hearing on the secret service and an incident earlier this month in which two agents allegedly drove into a White House barricade, Rohan Marley, Founder of Marley Coffee and son of the late reggae star Bob Marley about his company and famous dad, and transgender teen and LGBT advocate Jazz Jennings about her life and career.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews retired Captain John Cox, Former Afghanistan Advisor to Pres. Obama Rina Amiri, NBC’s Keir Simmons, Katy Tur, Tom Costello, Richard Engel and Ron Mott, AP’s Julie Pace and the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.

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