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First Read's Morning Clips

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
/ Source: NBC News

OBAMA AGENDA: The latest in Yemen

The New York Times: "Warplanes from a Saudi-led military coalition conducted airstrikes in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz on Wednesday, hours after Saudi officials had announced they were halting their nearly monthlong bombing campaign against the Houthi rebel movement. The warplanes bombed Houthi positions during heavy clashes in Taiz on Wednesday morning, according to a local official in the city. The new airstrikes, combined with reports of continued fighting in other parts of the country, including the southern port city of Aden, dampened hopes that the Saudi announcement would quickly result in a broader cease-fire."

Obama is headed to Florida - the home state of two GOP presidential hopefuls - to talk climate change.

DEA chief Michele Leonhart is stepping down amid disagreements with the Obama administration and criticism of her handling of a scandal.

The Baltimore Sun has the latest on the DOJ probe of Freddie Gray's death.

CONGRESS: The deal that paved the way for Loretta Lynch’s nomination

NBC's Frank Thorp reports on the deal that paved the way for a vote on Loretta Lynch's nomination this week.

National Journal first reported last night that Mitch McConnell is introducing a bill to reauthorize the surveillance authority of the Patriot Act until 2020.

Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado has an AR-15 in his office, exempt from D.C. law because of his status as a congressman, reports the Washington Post.

Kate Snow writes about Rep. Mike Honda's 8-year-old granddaughter, who is transgender.

OFF TO THE RACES: The Koch Brothers’ Five Favorites

USA Today reports that the Koch brothers have identified five candidates that they could consider backing: Walker, Bush, Cruz, Paul and Rubio.

Writes the Des Moines Register: "Hot-button issues such as clean power, water quality regulations and renewable fuels are expected to get a bigger stage in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, as environmental activists put more pressure on presidential contenders to address controversial issues such as climate change."

CLINTON: From the Associated Press, on Bill Clinton's role: "Aides say the ex-president will stay behind the scenes initially and that Hillary Clinton's focus on her parents and grandchild allow her to fill in other aspects of her biography. Invoking Bill Clinton, who has high approval ratings, also can bring up positives from his administration, such as a strong economy, but at the risk of revisiting the Monica Lewinsky scandal and subsequent impeachment drama."

The Washington Post writes about how Clinton's trade comments are kicking off a public intra-party trade war.

The Huffington Post reports that top campaign officials have a goal of $100 million for the Democratic primary race.

POLITICO describes her as "unrunning" for president.

Bloomberg writes that the findings of the House Benghazi probe likely won't be released until next year.

CRUZ: The New York Times does a deep dive into Cruz’s career as a college debater.

He and Paul Ryan co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed in favor of fast-track authority.

RUBIO: He's been reaching out to gay Republicans.

TRUMP: He's heading back to New Hampshire on Monday.

WALKER: Leigh Ann Caldwell reports on Walker's long history with the Koch brothers.

And here's her report on Walker's leadership style, which has some Republicans concerned.

He's suggesting limiting legal immigration.

The Journal Sentinel: "Taking action as gun violence captures particular attention across the state and especially in Milwaukee, the state Senate on Tuesday approved a repeal of the state's two-day waiting period for handgun purchases, sending the bill to the Assembly on a voice vote."


*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with NBC’s Tom Costello in Baltimore on the latest about the death of Freddie Gray, Ron Mott on the latest on the Boston Marathon bombing trial, and hip hop legends Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton of Salt N’ Pepa about the resurgence of their career.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Peter Alexander fills in for Andrea and will interview msnbc’s Chris Matthews, msnbc Food Contributor Tom Colicchio, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold Levy and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell and Tom Costello.