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OBAMA AGENDA: Into Africa

The New York Times previews Obama's trip to Kenya. "This week’s visit to Kenya, followed by a stop in Ethiopia, will be his fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa as president, more than any of his predecessors made. He will be the first sitting president to visit either Kenya or Ethiopia, and he hopes to reinforce efforts to bring electricity, security and democracy to Africa."

Secretary of State John Kerry appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today to defend the Iran deal.

"ISIS' effort to inspire troubled Americans to violence has become more of a terror threat to the U.S. than an external attack by al Qaeda, the FBI director said Wednesday," the AP writes.

OFF TO THE RACES: The Art of the Flip-Flop

One of us(!) gives a primer on the different varieties of that old political classic: The flip-flop.

Msnbc's Alex Seitz-Wald has a good look at how the progressive movement is taking a hard look on the mirror when it comes to issues of race.

The New York Times reports that FOX News sent GOP candidates a memo outlining more guidelines for the first debate.

BUSH: POLITICO's Marc Caputo looks at how Bush's government reform pitch stacks up against his tenure as Florida governor. "Bush’s eight-year record shows he often stood by appointees who were mired in scandal or mismanagement until long after damaging revelations emerged, and in only three reported instances clearly fired agency heads — including one in the wake of a sexual harassment allegation and another who was implicated in a kickback scheme."

He was once registered as a lobbyist, the AP points out.

And the Boston Globe notes that Bush's derision of "Mount Washington" didn't quite play as intended in New Hampshire, where residents are proud of their own peak.

He's the latest candidate to say that Congress should investigate Planned Parenthood.

In an op-ed in the Des Moines Register, he pitched his plan to “change the culture in Washington.”

CLINTON: In a joint interview with George W. Bush, Bill Clinton told Time about Hillary Clinton's early aversion to running for office, saying that she told him: "Oh my God … I’ll never run for office. I’m too aggressive, and nobody will ever vote for me."

CRUZ: In a National Review op-ed, he made his argument for judicial retention elections for the Supreme Court.

GRAHAM: He spoke to NBC's Kelly O'Donnell about Donald Trump, calling him "a guy melting down."

O’MALLEY: He’ll talk about “the urgent need for additional Wall Street reforms” in a discussion with former Rep. Brad Miller.

PERRY: He unloaded on Donald Trump's "barking carnival act."

SANTORUM: He appeared on Rachel Maddow and went head-to-head on questions about the Supreme Court and gay marriage.

TRUMP: He's headed to the border today. Experts say his proposed border wall would cost billions.

In an interview with The Hill, he threatened a third-party run if the RNC isn't "fair" to him.

The Daily Beast offers a profile of one of Trump's mentors, Roy Cohn.

Sixty-two percent of registered voters in New Hampshire call Trump "unelectable," per NH1.com.

And around the country...

NEW YORK: "A panel appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recommended on Wednesday that the minimum wage be raised for employees of fast-food chain restaurants throughout the state to $15 an hour over the next few years. "

Bill de Blasio is backing away from his war with Uber, the New York Times reports.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Democrat from Laredo Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar regarding Donald Trump visiting the US/Mexican border, AP’s South Africa Bureau Chief Christopher Torchia regarding President Obama’s visit to Kenya, and Ballet dancer Misty Copeland about her career and being named the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theater's 75-year history.

*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell will interview Rep. Adam Schiff, Fmr. Ambassador Chris Hill, Fmr. Republican Party of Florida Chair Al Cardenas, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Monique Dixon, the New York Times’ David Sanger and the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein.

*** Thursday’s “Live with Thomas Roberts” line-up: Alex Witt interviews MSNBC Political Analyst and member of The Washington Post Writers Group Kathleen Parker, Republican strategist John Feehery, and Univ. of Texas Professor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto about Donald Trump’s trip to the border, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA Senate Foreign Relations Cmte.) about the Iran Nuclear deal hearing, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin about the LGBT rights bill.