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OBAMA AGENDA: Obama touts his Cuba move

He trumpeted the reopening of diplomatic relations in Cuba yesterday, saying “The progress we make today is another demonstration we don't have to be imprisoned by the past.” Here’s our full report.

From the AP: “Loud but hardly universal catcalls from Republicans underscored the obstacles and opportunities ahead as U.S. and Cuban leaders announced an opening of embassies in Havana and Washington and a resumption of diplomatic relations severed the year President Barack Obama was born.”

The latest on the Greek crisis, from Bloomberg: “Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said his country won’t “extend and pretend” that it can pay its debts and that he’ll quit if voters don’t back him up in Sunday’s referendum.”

“Now, in the final push for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, accounting for the accomplishments of Mr. Fakhrizadeh and his team of university scientists, missile engineers and military officers is emerging as one of the last and most formidable obstacles — perhaps on a par with the question of whether inspectors will be able, on short notice, to step into any place they suspect might conceal bomb-related work,” writes the New York Times.

OFF TO THE RACES: Feel the Bern?

BUSH: The AP first reported on his voluntary release of a list of donors to hisFoundation for Excellence in Education.

CARSON: He’s raised $8.3 million this quarter, per the Wall Street Journal.

CHRISTIE: He broke with social conservatives yesterday in New Hampshire, saying that government workers who oppose same-sex marriage shouldn’t be able to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” he said.

CLINTON: Here’s our story on her $45 million-plus fundraising haul.

“A trio of pro-Hillary Clinton groups raised more than $20 million in the first half of the year, including at least $1 million from billionaire financier George Soros,” POLITICO scoops.

Another big question for Clinton coming from Democratic donor types: Why isn’t Bill giving an assist to Priorities USA Action?

POLITICO has a big piece on the expanded role that Clinton aide Huma Abedin is playing in Clinton’s campaign. “Abedin, inside sources said, is weaning herself slowly away from a life on the road to occupy a perch overseeing the campaign operation and serving more often as an independent surrogate for her boss.”

The New York Times looks at how she’s playing up her “pop culture status” with gay men.

GRAHAM: He told the Des Moines Register editorial board that he’s “trying to be a practical kind of guy.” MORE: “I'm not the most ideologically pure person in this contest," he said. "But I am a solid conservative fiscally and socially. But above all else I'm ready to be commander in chief. I hope that matters to Iowans. Because I think it will matter to all of us here pretty soon."

RUBIO: WMUR’s John DiStaso writes that Rubio’s planned spending for TV ads leading up to the first four primaries is about $10 million.

SANDERS: In his first stop in Wisconsin since launching his presidential bid, Sanders drew a huge crowd of nearly 10,000 – twice what Hillary Clinton drew to her announcement speech.

His message, per the Journal-Sentinel, included plenty of jabs at Scott Walker. “What this campaign is about is creating a political revolution in America — a revolution which takes on the greed of Wall Street and corporate America,” he said.

A new Quinnipiac poll of Iowa Democratic caucus-goers shows that he’s chipping away at Hillary Clinton’s lead, now trailing her 52 percent to 33 percent.

TRUMP: The Washington Post, on his most recent surge: “For Democrats, Donald Trump amounts to a kind of divine intervention. With the Republican Party on an urgent mission to woo Latino voters, one of its leading presidential candidates has been enmeshed for two weeks in a nasty feud over his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.”

The AP reports that New York City officials are reviewing the city’s contracts with Donald Trump, and Mayor Bill de Blasio called his comments about Mexican immigrants “disgusting and offensive.”

WALKER: The New York Times writes that Scott Walker’s aggressive shift to the right in Iowa could hurt him in more moderate states.

And around the country…

ALASKA: The Alaska Dispatch News reports that the state has officially dropped its case challenging same-sex marriage.


*** Thursday’s “Live with Thomas Roberts” line-up: Thomas interviews Animal conservationist Jeff Corwin and Conservation biologist Reese Halter about the recent string of shark attacks, and Political journalist Erin McPike about Bernie Sanders drawing big crowds in Wisconsin.