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First Read’s Morning Clips

OFF THE RACES: Wrapping last night’s GOP forum in NH

Our coverage from NBC's Andrew Rafferty: "Ahead of the first Republican presidential debate, 14 GOP candidates gathered in New Hampshire for a forum that both served as a warmup for the upcoming showdown and a reminder of the clunkiness that comes with such a crowded field of competitors."

How it played in the Union Leader: "All eyes turn to nation's first primary state as Republican candidates take the stage"

The dispatch from NBC’s Kailani Koenig from the post-forum spin room: “John Kasich, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal stopped by the ‘spin room’ that wasn’t supposed to be a spin room after the New Hampshire Voters Forum at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Kasich talked about the jabs candidates gave each other while they were sitting down, and said it would have been great if Trump was there. Santorum said Fox should apologize for limiting the number of candidates in the debate and was very heated, saying voters probably couldn’t tell tonight who was polling better than others. Many of them hit Planned Parenthood.”

The big headline from our latest data from the NBC/WSJ poll, from one of us(!): "Hillary Clinton's Popularity Drops Sharply in NBC/WSJ Poll"

From another one of us(!): "Even as Donald Trump leads in the GOP presidential horse race, nearly half of Republicans believe that he is hurting their party's image, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

Two more horserace polls out this morning from CBS News and Bloomberg.

Here's a great read from msnbc.com's Jane Timm on IJReview, "the three-year-old news site best described as the conservative version of Upworthy, the viral news factory that repackages progressive-leaning content with click-compelling headlines."

And from the New York Times: "After weeks of preparing for a smash-mouth debate with Donald J. Trump, 14 Republican candidates found themselves instead Trump-less but sandwiched into a constricting format on Monday night, delivering strikingly uneven performances just days before the first big test of the presidential primary contest."

Byron York asks: Could the "kiddie table" debate actually be the better show? "The winner of the kids' table debate won't stay at the kids' table."

BIDEN: Msnbc.com's Alex Seitz-Wald lays out the big questions that remain for Joe Biden.

NBC's Perry Bacon Jr. reports on how many Democrats are hesitant about a Biden run.

CRUZ: Ted Cruz is the latest 2016 candidate to Guest Skimm.

SANTORUM: He's shaken up his staff amid slow fundraising, POLITICO reports: "Campaign manager Terry Allen, Iowa state coordinator Jon Jones and digital strategist Steve Hilliard — Allen’s son-in-law — departed several weeks ago, leaving the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses without a campaign manager and raising questions about whether Santorum can last until Iowa votes on Feb. 1 next year."

WALKER: He's paying 27 percent interest on more than $10,000 credit card debt, National Journal reports.

CONGRESS: Effort to defund Planned Parenthood is blocked in the Senate

The latest on the Planned Parenthood fight in Congress, from the Washington Post: "Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a Republican-backed effort to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover videos that raise questions about the practice of harvesting tissue from aborted fetuses for research. The 53-46 procedural vote fell short of the 60 ayes needed to proceed with a bill that would immediately stop funding for the beleaguered women’s health-care provider. But the willingness of GOP leaders to bring the measure to a vote showed the new political importance of a social issue that had been sidelined just a month ago and heralded higher-stakes showdowns to come."

More, from POLITICO: "On one side is presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who’s pushing Republicans to do everything within their power to strip the organization of federal support after Monday’s bill failed to clear a filibuster, 53-46. But a group of veteran Republican legislators is urging a more cautious approach, and reminding GOP colleagues that just two years ago their fight to defund Obamacare via a government funding bill produced a disastrous shutdown without making a dent on the Affordable Care Act."

Planned Parenthood leader Cecile Richards is fighting back against the group's foes, saying "There hasn’t been a moment in our history, when we were pushing forward on reproductive health care rights and access for women, that someone wasn’t after us."

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Daily Beast Columnist Jonathan Alter, Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Washington Post National Political reporter Karen Tumulty about Thursday night’s Republican candidate debate, host of "Greenhouse" on shift by msnbc Tony Dokoupil about the extreme heat and temperatures in Iran, and Senior Vice President Meridian International Center Bonnie Glick and student Survivor of aTaliban Attack on His School in Pakistan Ali Mashal about coming to America and meeting Secretary of State John Kerry.

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell will interview Hillary for America Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, Univ. of Cincinnati Pres. Santa Ono, USA Today’s Susan Page, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, NBC’s Peter Alexander and we’ll talk about the dirty water in Rio de Janeiro with NBC’s Anne Thompson, Miguel Almaguer and U.S Men’s National Team rowing coach Luke McGee.