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OFF TO THE RACES: GOP campaigns take debate process into their own hands?

POLITICO first reported: "Republican presidential campaigns are planning to gather in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening to plot how to alter their party’s messy debate process — and how to remove power from the hands of the Republican National Committee. Not invited to the meeting: Anyone from the RNC, which many candidates have openly criticized in the hours since Wednesday’s CNBC debate in Boulder, Colorado — a chaotic, disorganized affair that was widely panned by political observers."

The Washington Post's big picture for the GOP at this moment of the campaign: "[T]he focus for all the leading contenders will have to shift, from raising their profiles nationally to refining the strategies and organization it will take to put specific states in their column."

BUSH: A 112-page strategy memo provided to U.S. News includes specific lines of attack against Rubio, including "misuse of state party credit cards, taxpayer funds and ties to scandal-tarred former Congressman David Rivera."

Here's NBC's reporting on Bush’s efforts to reassure donors.

He's insisting that his campaign "is not on life support."

From the Washington Post: "Interviews Thursday with strategists and fundraisers throughout the Republican firmament underscored that there are no particularly attractive options for Bush to breathe new life into his campaign. But top Bush campaign officials said they would not be panicked by what one dismissively called “the insanity of pundit world."

CLINTON: The New York Times writes that she's hoping to recapture the comfort with campaigning she built during her 2000 campaign for Senate, the New York Times writes.

Her differences with Bernie Sanders on the death penalty could make the next debate interesting.

CRUZ: He's slamming Mitch McConnell after passage of the bipartisan budget bill. "Just hours before the scheduled procedural vote on the budget, Cruz — who is running for the GOP presidential nomination — delivered a fiery anti-McConnell speech while dismissing the fiscal deal as a blank credit card from Republicans to Obama that is “encrusted in diamonds and glows in the dark.”

He's been aggressively fundraising in the days since the debate.

O'MALLEY: He says that his efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay make him well-equipped to address the environmental concerns of Iowans.

RUBIO: Harry Reid says Rubio should resign from the Senate.

POLITICO does a deep dive into Rubio's complicated Cuban legacy.

CONGRESS: Budget deal passes Senate, heads to Obama’s desk

Our Capitol Hill team reports: "The U.S. Senate voted 64-35 early Friday to approve a bipartisan two-year budget deal intended to end years of gridlock and frequent threats of government shutdowns. The bill will now head to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign the agreement hashed out between the White House and congressional leaders."

Roll Call points out how much money Paul Ryan donated to the campaigns of the members of congress who didn’t vote for him for speaker.


*** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Erica Hill steps in for Tamron. Erica will speak with RNC Surrogate and Republican Strategist Adolfo Franco and The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky and Politico’s Marc Caputo about the latest political headlines; former Russian Ambassador Michael McFaul about the international talks seeking to end the Syrian Civil War; and MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber about today’s court hearing to decide the verdict on a U.S. extradition request regarding filmmaker Roman Polanski.

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, NBC News pollster Peter Hart, Wall Street Journal’s Carol Lee, New York Times’ Jeremy Peters, and Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.