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First Read’s Morning Clips

OFF TO THE RACES: Previewing Joni Ernst’s “Roast and Ride” event in Iowa

The Des Moines Register previews Saturday's Roast and Ride event in rural Boone.

Iowa's Dave Price has a big takeout in POLITICO magazine on questions about the relevance of the Iowa caucuses.

In her column, the Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter says that Jeb Bush has gone from fragile frontrunner to underdog, and she calls Scott Walker your current GOP frontrunner -- for now.

BUSH: He's planning a big campaign swing through early primary states after his June announcement.

CLINTON: NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell reports on Clinton's push for automatic voter registration, including her specific criticisms of her Republican opponents for what she called restrictions on voting access.

POLITICO writes that some Democrats are getting a little anxious about her polling, although other backers point to strong numbers in early states.

KASICH: John Kasich, not holding back. Via NH1.com, he explained by he's exploring a possible presidential bid, saying "Frankly, I thought that Jeb was going to just suck all the air out of the room. And it just hasn’t happened. No hit on Jeb."

PERRY: Here's our report on his announcement yesterday.

Perry Bacon Jr. writes that it doesn't look like Republicans are ready to give him a second chance.

The Washington Post writes that he's snagged Sam Clovis, a big conservative backer in Iowa.

His super PAC has bought TV ad time in two Iowa markets, the New York Times notes.

PAUL: He's going after Marco Rubio on foreign policy after the Florida senator said of Iraq: "It's not nation-building. We are assisting them in building their nation."

SANDERS: A really smart point from Perry Bacon Jr. and Dante Chinni: Bernie Sanders is surging among white Democrats, but the rest of the party is still behind Hillary Clinton.

WALKER: From the New York Times: "Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who began building a national profile four years ago by sharply cutting collective bargaining rights for most government workers, has turned his sights to a different element of the public sector: state universities. As Mr. Walker takes steps toward announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, he and leaders in Wisconsin’s Republican-held Legislature have called for changes that would give a board largely picked by the governor far more control over tenure and curriculum in the University of Wisconsin System."

And around the country...

IOWA: "Any Iowa woman wanting an abortion would have to be offered the chance to look at an ultrasound of the fetus before undergoing the procedure, under a bill that passed both houses of the Legislature Wednesday evening," writes the Des Moines Register.

OBAMA AGENDA: China denies being behind cyberattack

Leading NBCNews.com: "China accused the United States of making "groundless accusations" and being "irresponsible" Friday in blaming Chinese hackers for a vast data breach that could be the biggest cyberattack in U.S. history. Four million federal workers may have had their personal information compromised in the attack, which officials said could affect every agency of the U.S. government."

More from the AP: "A U.S. official, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the data breach, said the breach could potentially affect every federal agency. One key question is whether intelligence agency employee information was stolen. Former government employees are affected as well."

National Journal's Ron Brownstein says that criticizing the pending free-trade agreement -- because of NAFTA -- is ignoring some potential benefits. "Because the congressional trade debate has largely looked through the rearview mirror at NAFTA’s impact on manufacturing, it has slighted the TPP’s potential role in promoting exports in services and intellectual property, from entertainment to software. Yet the agreement could have its greatest impact on that front not only by eliminating discriminatory local regulations but also by strengthening protections for copyright, patents, and digital commerce."

CONGRESS: Pelosi says it’s up to Boehner to find votes to pass fast track

Politico: “Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said it is not her responsibility to help House Republicans pass a controversial piece of trade legislation at the top of President Barack Obama’s priorities The California Democrat told reporters on Thursday that it is up to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to provide the bulk of the 217 ‘yes’ votes needed to pass fast-track authority, a measure that would allow Obama to more easily pass a Pacific trade deal.”

Republicans in the House have voted to keep restrictions on Americans who hope to travel to Cuba.

ABC News interviewed a woman who says that her brother, now deceased, was a victim of sexual abuse by Dennis Hastert.

Via Roll Call: 'A Senate minority successfully blocked an amendment aimed at ending discrimination against same-sex marriage benefits for veterans Thursday."

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Alex Witt fills in for Tamron Hall, and she speaks with Chairman and Founder Identity Theft 911 and Credit.com Adam Levin about a report that China hack data of 4 million US government workers, NY Daily News Racing Reporter Jerry Bossert about the Belmont Stakes and possibility of American Pharoah winning the Triple Crown, and Columnist and the Author of Leading Indicators Zachary Karabell about the latest job numbers report.

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell will interview journalist Glenn Greenwald, NAACP Legal Defense Fund Director Sherrilyn Ifill, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, AP’s Julie Pace, NBC’s Anne Thompson and NBC Sports’ Josh Elliott.

*** Friday’s “MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts” line-up: MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts interviews former Obama admin. Cybersecurity director Chris Finan, Global Threat communications manager Christopher Budd, Forbes columnist Gordon Chang, Transgender Professional Soccer player Jaiyah Saelua, and American Pharoah jockey Victor Espinoza.