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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OFF THE RACES: Making another pitch to the Koch Brothers

Via POLITICO: "Four leading GOP presidential candidates – Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker – are traveling to a Southern California luxury hotel in coming days to make their cases directly to the Koch brothers and hundreds of other wealthy conservatives planning to spend close to $1 billion in the run-up to the 2016 election."

BUSH: He told a group of businesspeople: "We need men and women of good will forging consensus, starting to solve problems, kind of building back the muscles of consensus, compromise and solution-finding to fix these things" ... “Apparently that is dangerous in a Republican primary, but it’s what I believe.”

The Washington Post delves into Bush's economic record in Florida, writing that "according to interviews with economists and a review of data, Florida owed a substantial portion of its growth under Bush not to any state policies but to a massive and unsustainable housing bubble — one that ultimately benefited rich investors at the expense of middle-class families."

CHRISTIE: Ouch, from the Associated Press: "An Associated Press review of his senior class yearbook, state payroll records, agency websites and state press releases found that nearly a half dozen of Christie's former high school classmates have ended up in state positions since he took office. That number increases at least to a dozen if Christie's classmates from Seton Hall law school are counted."

CLINTON: The New York Times delves into the policy and the politics of her climate change plan. "Mrs. Clinton’s strategists see climate change as a winning issue for 2016. They believe it is a cause she can advance to win over deep-pocketed donors and liberal activists in the nominating campaign, where she is facing Democratic challengers to her left on the issue. It is also one that can be a weapon against Republicans in a general election. Polls show that a majority of voters support candidates who pledge policy action on the warming climate."

From's Alex Seitz-Wald: "The super PAC Correct the Record, which coordinates directly with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has begun deploying a small handful of so-called “trackers” to discretely record the public events of her two main rival Democrats, a spokesperson confirmed to msnbc."

HUCKABEE: On TODAY, he doubled down on his remarks about the Iran deal and the Holocaust, saying the response to his comments has been "overwhelmingly positive."

O'MALLEY: He took aim at Hillary Clinton in an interview with "“Her closeness to Wall Street is well known and genuinely held. But it’s a different of opinion that she and I have. I believe the federal government should protect our common good and main street from being worked over by recklessness on Wall Street. She does not"

He will meet with black leaders in South Carolina next week, CNN reports.

PAUL: A third super PAC is now backing him, with a focus on digital media.

TRUMP: Here's the full story on Ivana Trump's past allegation that her husband raped her, her subsequent clarification and Trump's lawyer's angry response to the Daily Beast reporter who asked about it.

Bloomberg tallies his personal wealth at $2.9 billion.'s Benjy Sarlin looks at what Trump has said about policy, writing that " some of his positions are conventionally conservative, some are surprisingly liberal, and a number fall outside the typical left-right spectrum entirely."

He leads a new Monmouth poll of New Hampshire primary voters with 24 percent support. Jeb Bush is second at 12 percent.

OBAMA AGENDA: Still in Africa

In Ethiopia, the president "urged the continent's leaders to prioritize creating jobs and opportunity for the next generation of young people or risk sacrificing future economic potential to further instability and disorder,” reports the AP.

MORE, from the Wall Street Journal: "The president on Monday also waded more deeply into the worsening conflict in South Sudan, a country his administration helped secede from Sudan four years ago following a two-decade civil war. Mr. Obama is trying to salvage the U.S. effort, which has unraveled as the new nation descended into a sectarian conflict before it could celebrate its third anniversary."

He joked during a speech to the African Union that he would win a third term if he could run, saying “I could win, but I can't.”

CONGRESS: The Ex-Im Wars

The latest on the Ex-Im bank, from The Hill: "Senators voted to revive the Export-Import Bank on Monday, setting themselves on a crash course with their House counterparts. Lawmakers voted 64-29 on attaching a reauthorization of the bank's charter, which expired last month, to a long-term highway bill."

More on the Senate drama last night, via POLITICO: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got his hands on something he believed to be damning: An email from Sen. Mike Lee’s aide to conservative activists plotting to use an Obamacare vote as a political weapon. So McConnell quickly summoned the GOP to a closed-door session in the Senate’s Mansfield Room Monday night. And he made sure his caucus read the email, placing a copy on every Republican senator’s chair before they arrived. A lawmaker in the room described the mood as “combative.” ... Lee was quick to apologize, saying he wasn’t aware of what his aide was doing. And one conservative firebrand stayed notably quiet: Ted Cruz of Texas."

The New York Times writes that now, "with a push from President Obama, and perhaps even more significantly a nod from Speaker John A. Boehner, Congress seems poised to revise four decades of federal policy that greatly expanded the number of Americans — to roughly 750 per 100,000 — now incarcerated, by far the highest of any Western nation."