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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OFF THE RACES: Last night’s dueling town halls

NBC's Hallie Jackson wraps yesterday's GOP education forum in New Hampshire.

A Quinnipiac University poll finds that Vice President Joe Biden runs as well or better than Hillary Clinton against top Republicans in head-to-head matchups in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

BIDEN: One of us(!) reports that a former top Obama strategist has joined the Draft Biden effort.

BUSH: In dueling town halls with Donald Trump, Bush said that Trump "doesn't have a proven conservative record," writes NBC’s Jordan Frasier. MORE: "Let's support someone where you don't have to guess where he stands."

He dipped a toe into the birthright citizenship debate - and used the term 'anchor baby': “If there’s abuse, if people are bringing — pregnant women are coming in to have babies simply because they can do it, then there ought to be greater enforcement. That’s [the] legitimate side of this. Better enforcement so that you don’t have these, you know, ‘anchor babies’, as they’re described, coming into the country.”

CLINTON: One of us(!) reports on the Clinton campaign's efforts to push back on the email controversy.

CRUZ: He said that ending birthright citizenship is "a view I have long held."

He won the endorsement of an influential Iowa talk radio host, NBC's Vaughn Hillyard and Danny Freeman report.

KASICH: The Tampa Bay Times looks at Kasich's rising challenge to Jeb Bush.

O'MALLEY: He took aim at Clinton's email woes, saying "I think it is a huge distraction from what we should be talking about as a party... "We need to start having debates in the Democratic Party. And we need to have an exchange of ideas of the things we can do to raise wages, to increase the minimum wage, to pay overtime pay for overtime work, to rebuild our country’s infrastructure. Until we do, our party’s label is going to be the latest news de jour about emails and email servers and what Secretary Clinton knew and when she knew it,” he said. “What I want to know is what our party has to offer our county to make our economy work and wages go up.” ur party’s label is going to be the latest news de jour about emails and email servers and what Secretary Clinton knew and when she knew it."

PAUL: In a series of interviews with NBC's Chris Jansing, Rand Paul didn't hold back on what he thinks of Donald Trump.

RUBIO: The Washington Post previews his tax reform pitch today in Detroit.

TRUMP: In TIME Magazine, he says "I’m just as disappointed with the Republicans as I am the Democrats. It’s just so false and so phony and they can’t move—it’s moribund. They become weak and ineffective, except with one thing, getting themselves re-elected. That’s the one thing they’re good at."

And he floats the idea of demanding that CNN give $10 million to charity in return for his participation in the September 16 debate.

NBC's Ali Vitali writes that he told reporters "the only thing constant is Trump" and poked fun of Jeb Bush's smaller crowd during a town hall in New Hampshire.

In an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, he said "having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country."

The New York Times editorial board has this to say about Donald Trump: "It has long been a hard job to keep the highly combustible immigration debate on the right side of sanity and reality. That progress is now being undone before our eyes in the presidential campaign, courtesy of the faux-populist billionaire who says immigrants are the reason this country is weak and frightened and going to hell."


*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with TIME magazine’s Zeke Miller regarding the latest political headlines, President and CEO of Million Kids Opal Singleton about the latest on Jared Fogle's plea deal, and Executive Director of the nonprofit SurvJustice and Spokeswoman for the family of the NH Boarding school rape accuser Laura Dunn about the latest on the St. Paul's School rape trial, and NBC’s Sarah Dallof on President Jimmy Carter's press conference about his health.

*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Luke Russert is in for Andrea and will interview NBC’s Tom Brokaw and Hallie Jackson, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Ret. General Ann Dunwoody, Lt. Col. Ryan Scofield, Dr. Natalie Azar, Fmr. Romney Campaign Advisor Vin Weber, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Jimmy Carter biographer Randall Balmer.

*** Thursday's "MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts" line-up: Richard Lui interviews NBC News “Meet the Press” Moderator Chuck Todd about Donald Trump and Jeb Bush’s dueling town halls, Medal of Honor recipient Col. Jack Jacobs about Donald Trump naming him as a military advisor, Univ. of Texas professor and MSNBC contributor Victoria Defrancesco Soto about Trump & Bush’s use of the term “anchor babies”, TIME magazine’s Zeke Miller about the new cover featuring Donald Trump, and Julian Robles, a 17-year-old high school senior who launched an online petition to move his senior prom away from Trump Natl. Golf Club in Westchester.