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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: China makes its own trade push

The New York Times looks at the trade pitches the Chinese are making as Obama pushes his own plans.

The Putin-Kerry meetings yielded a softer tone but no breakthroughs, the Wall Street Journal writes.

"Amid a push that has made same-sex marriage legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia, some employers are telling gay workers they must wed in order to maintain health-care coverage for their partners. About a third of public- and private-sector employees in the U.S. have access to benefits for unmarried gay partners, according to a federal tally, but employment lawyers say the fast-changing legal outlook is spurring some employers to rethink that coverage," writes the Wall Street Journal.

CONGRESS: Dems filibuster giving their own president trade-promotion authority

NBC's Frank Thorp reports on last night's drama in the Senate over trade.

From the Washington Post: "[I]n the Senate, the measure’s failure seemed to be more than a procedural glitch. The trade accord has sparked a Democratic revolt and laid bare a spat between Obama and liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). And it has embittered labor union leaders who feel they helped elect Obama and have received little for their efforts."

Ouch. Sherrod Brown says the president was being "disrespectful" to Elizabeth Warren.

Mitch McConnell, in an interview with CNBC, on the trade bill: "This is a six-year bill. So what I've said to my members, if we want the next Republican president, who we hope will be sworn in less than two years from now, to have a chance to do trade agreements with the rest of the world, this bill is about that president as well as this one."

POLITICO writes that the relationship between John McCain and John Kerry is on the rocks.

OFF TO THE RACES: How many GOPers can fit on the debate stage?

The GOP's conundrum, via the New York Times: "Republican leaders, searching for a fair-minded but strategically wise way to conduct the presidential primary debates, are grappling with how to manage White House contenders in a sprawling field that mixes proven politicians with provocateurs and reflects an increasingly fractious party."

The Iowa Democratic Party says it’s launching a website called IowaGOPCircus, which tracks the GOP field’s appearances in Iowa, as well as their positions.

BUSH: Here's Jeb Bush on Iraq yesterday, via Andrew Rafferty: "I interpreted the question wrong, I guess. I was talking about: Given what people knew then, would you have done it? Rather than, knowing what we know now. And knowing what we know now, clearly there were mistakes." MORE: "I don't know what that decision would have been, that's a hypothetical. But the simple fact is that mistakes were made."

He'll skip the Iowa straw poll.

Here’s NBC’s Perry Bacon on Jeb being Jeb.

CLINTON: Bill Clinton says he'll move into the White House if his wife wins the presidency -- and "if I'm asked." (IF he’s asked….???)

From the New York Times: "Correct the Record, a group started by David Brock, a staunch ally of Hillary Rodham Clinton, is recreating itself as a stand-alone “super PAC” that has the ability to coordinate with her campaign."

CRUZ: He's won three big conservative endorsements in New Hampshire, NH1 reports.

FIORINA: Ruth Marcus: "How depressing is it that, out of the more than a dozen announced or prospective Republican candidates for president in 2016, only one, Carly Fiorina, is a woman. Even more depressing: that Fiorina, as long-shot as her candidacy is, would not be taken even semi-seriously were it not for her gender."

Iowa women are debating whether she should call herself "chairman" of a board.

PAUL: He's dinging Bush on his Iraq comments, saying it's "a real problem if he can't articulate what he would have done differently."

RUBIO: He’ll unveil his foreign policy doctrine today, writes one of us(!)

The Democratic group American Bridge has issued a memo pre-butting Rubio’s speech.

And around the country...

NEW YORK: "A political group run by close allies of Mayor Bill de Blasio has attracted the interest of a New York State ethics panel, which is concerned that the group could be violating lobbying rules, according to two people familiar with the inquiry," writes the New York Times.


*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Fmr. NTSB Board Member John Goglia, Leading rail expert who was the principal author of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 Larry Mann, Fmr. Rep. Patrick Murphy, and Railroad Engineering Expert Gus Ubaldi about the horrific Amtrak crash in Philadelphia, and Globe Assistant Metro Editor Mike Bello about the latets on the Boston Marathon Bombing trial.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell continues to follow the latest developments on the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia with Fmr. Rep. Patrick Murphy, Sen. Sherrod Brown and reports from the scene.