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First Read's Morning Clips

OFF TO THE RACES: Jeb’s Announcement Day

Could Mitt Romney and billionaire conservative donor Sheldon Adelson team up to influence the 2016 race? Politico says they are: “Mitt Romney is working with an unlikely collaborator — Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who bankrolled Newt Gingrich’s 2012 campaign — in the hopes of ensuring that the GOP primary produces a mainstream conservative without any of the mayhem that marked his own race.”

And MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt provides this insight into the access the wealthy get to presidential candidates: “For the wealthy donors who bankrolled Mitt Romney’s campaign, 2016 is up close and personal in a way that is out of reach for most Americans…. Here, money and connections buy the kind of interaction usually reserved for close friends, family or colleagues: Late night cocktail hours, flag football games, meetings in hotel suites—all in addition to hearing each White House contender make a pitch for support and getting a chance to ask a question.”

BUSH: It’s announcement day for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. As the Miami Herald put it, he will launch his presidential bid as he simultaneously tries to regain momentum.

He also tries to downplay the Bush part of his persona. His newly unveiled his logo drops his surname and neither his brother, the 43rd president, nor his father, the 41st president will attend his launch speech at Miami Dade College.

The Washington Post writes about his “wandering years.” The four years between the loss of his first gubernatorial bid in Florida and his win in 1998. “Humbled by defeat the first time he ran for office, Bush spent the mid-1990s broadening and deepening his knowledge of how his state worked, forging relationships that softened his profile and striving to talk about what he believed in a way that would bring people together.”

The Upshot in the NY Times writes this about Bush’s candidacy: “What is surprising, though, is Mr. Bush’s relatively vulnerable standing in the places he had seemed strong only a few months ago. It’s no surprise that he has miserable numbers among Iowa caucus-goers, who are very conservative, and Tea Party supporters nationwide. It is surprising that he has not emerged as a clear favorite in New Hampshire, where self-identified moderates make up nearly half of the electorate.”

Here’s the video he launched ahead of his announcement.

CLINTON: Clinton gave her first major speech on Saturday, two months after the official launch of her campaign. NBC’s Perry Bacon Jr. wrote that “Clinton's husband famously declared in 1996 that "the era of big government is over." But the former secretary of state and First Lady argued in her campaign "kickoff speech" that the wealthy and the powerful are increasingly capturing the gains of the U.S. economy and that a more forceful role for the government is needed to help middle-class and poor Americans.”

Clinton can’t escape the trade issue. Her Democratic challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders blasted her in Iowa on her lack of position. “I don’t understand how you don’t have a position on this issue,” he said.

Clinton did slight President Barack Obama, however, saying he needs to work with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reports. She added that without improvements, “there should be no deal.”

KASICH: The Ohio governor who might jump in the race will headline a Caucus Candidate Forum in Iowa later this month. The Des Moines Register also reports that Kasich “has been evaluating resources, making sure he has a team in place that could run a national election and gauging voter reaction in early states.”

OBAMA AGENDA: One more chance on trade

The NY Times writes that Obama’s failure to pass the trade deal will have a major impact on his legacy. “The 12-nation trade deal Mr. Obama has been negotiating in Asia took on special meaning for a president eager to change the world. It was a way to leave behind a positive legacy abroad, one that could be measured, he hoped, by the number of lives improved rather than by the number of bodies left behind. And if the Pacific really is the future, Mr. Obama wanted to position the United States to lead the way.

House Republicans might make another go of it this week, Politico reports.

ICYMI: Here’s this fantastic explainer on the trade deal from NBC News.


*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with former Chief Inspector and Commander of the U. S. Marshal Service Lenny Depaul on the latest on the prison break at the Clinton Correction facility in NY, Syndicated Columnist and Political Analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson regarding NAACP Spokane Washington President Rachel Dolezal allegedly lying about her ethnicity, and Editor-at-Large and Chief Correspondent at Mashable Lance Ulanoff about the season finale of HBO's Game of Thrones. She also interviews the Associated Press Vatican Correspondent Nicole Winfield about Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis John Nienstedt and a deputy bishop resigning after prosecutors recently charged the archdiocese with failing to protect youths from abuse by pedophile priests.

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell is on the trail covering the Clinton campaign from Concord, NH. She will interview Oak Island, North Carolina Mayor Betty Wallace, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Anne Gearan and NBC’s Chris Jansing and Tom Costello.

*** Monday’s “Live with Thomas Roberts” line-up: Thomas interviews: Oak Island, NC Town Manager Tim Holloman about this weekend’s shark attacks, Fmr. RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Vox’s Jonathan Allen to discuss Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton’s official campaign launches, Rachel Dolezal’s parents Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal join to discuss controversy surrounding calls for their daughter to step down as Spokane NAACP President.