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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OFF TO THE RACES: Trump leads the GOP pack -- again

Here's the latest Washington Post/ABC poll showing a big lead for Trump -- with the caveat that the poll was mostly taken before Trump's comments about John McCain. The key grafs: "Support for Trump fell sharply on the one night that voters were surveyed following those comments. Telephone interviewing for the poll began Thursday, and most calls were completed before the news about the remarks was widely reported. Although the sample size for the final day was small, the decline was statistically significant."

The Wall Street Journal notes the Democratic Party's recruiting problem.

POLITICO's Dylan Byers: "The Fox News Republican presidential forum on August 6 -- also known as the mid-day consolation event for GOP candidates who fail to make the channel's primetime debate -- is being moved to 5 p.m. and shortened to one hour, the On Media blog has learned."

BUSH: He pushed his government reform plan yesterday in Tallahassee, one of us(!) reports.

More, from the New York Times: "Portraying himself as a political outsider — despite his family’s 12 years in the White House — Mr. Bush called for a 10 percent reduction in the federal work force, an immediate hiring freeze, a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget and a six-year waiting period before members of Congress can lobby on Capitol Hill."

CLINTON: The New York Times writes on how Clinton is benefiting from the Trump surge.

Here's how Clinton says she would have answered those Netroots Nation protestors -- a bit of a do-over after she was criticized last month for saying "all lives matter."

KASICH: The New York Times previews his announcement: "Gov. John R. Kasich, a blunt-spoken and unorthodox Republican who bucked his party by expanding Medicaid under President Obama’s health care law and says politicians must “reach out and help those who live in the shadows,” is expected to announce Tuesday that he is joining his party’s long list of candidates for president."

From Dan Balz: "Kasich would begin the race far back in the pack, according to most polls. But as the governor of one of the nation’s most important general election states, and with a political style unlike that of others in the race, Kasich’s advisers say they believe he can become a credible threat to win the nomination. His detractors question whether he has the discipline required to win a long and grueling presidential race."

TRUMP: The Des Moines Register op-ed board: "It's time for Donald Trump to drop out of the race for president of the United States."

In an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Trump characterized his spat with McCain as "a misunderstanding."

Where was Trump when McCain was a POW? Our video here.

CNN's MJ Lee looks at what Trump is doing - and not doing - to win over local party leaders in key states.

WALKER: Benjy Sarlin offers a deep dive into how Scott Walker plans to win Iowa. "The governor’s pitch was clear as he toured the state: I’m a Midwesterner like you, I’m as conservative as the tea party 2016 contenders, I’m as electable as the mainstream ones, and I’ve left a paper trail of legislation advancing every major conservative fight of the Obama era. And did I mention I’m a Midwesterner?"

Outside groups backing him have raised more than $26 million, the Washington Post reports.

He's leading the pack in Iowa, a new Monmouth poll finds.

And around the country...

NEW JERSEY: From the Washington Post: "Lawyers for Sen. Robert Menendez accused federal prosecutors and FBI agents Monday of lying to win a corruption indictment against him this spring, saying the Justice Department would “stop at nothing” to try to convict the powerful lawmaker."

OBAMA AGENDA: Kerry: History is on our side

In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Secretary of State John Kerry said that history will prove that the U.S. did the right thing in its agreements with Iran and Cuba.

The president's day, via the AP: "President Barack Obama is facing a convention of veterans and taking questions from Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show," as concerns run high about Iran, veterans' care and a shooting rampage against U.S. Marines."

The Wall Street Journal writes that Obama's Kenyan roots have translated into a powerful brand in the African nation - from pop songs to comedy routines.

POLITICO writes that lawmakers are looking for congressional leaders who can negotiate a high-intensity spending deal to stave off a shutdown.


*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: We’ll air NBC’s Andrea Mitchell’s exclusive interview with Secretary John Kerry. She’ll also interview Sen. Chris Coons, Rep. John Yarmuth, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff, Fmr. RNC Chairman Michael Steele, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus, NBC’s Katy Tur and msnbc’s Kasie Hunt.

*** Tuesday’s “Live with Thomas Roberts” line-up: Thomas interviews Vox Chief Political Correspondent Jonathan Allen, The Washington Post Natl. Political Reporter Philip Rucker and Former POW Capt. Charlie Plumb about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Sr. Spokesperson Karen Finney on 2016 and The Gender Card, NYTimes’ William Rashbaum about Shocking new details in NY Prison break.