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First Read Morning Clips

OFF TO THE RACES: Bernie outperforms Hillary in Iowa and NH -- for the general election

Bernie Sanders runs better against GOP candidates in the general election battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire, NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls out this morning have found.

Donald Trump’s lead has shrunk in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls released over the weekend.

Memo from the Conservative Action Project, co-founded by former GOP Attorney General Edwin Meese: “The next President is likely to appoint as many as three justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, establishing a new majority and shaping the judicial branch for a generation. Those justices will serve for many years after the next President leaves office and their votes will impact every facet of American life. Will the next President select justices who abide by the text and original meaning of the Constitution, even when doing so is politically unpopular or inconvenient? Or will our system of checks and balances be further damaged by the selection of justices who take for themselves the power to rewrite the Constitution according to their own political preferences? Sadly, despite three Republican presidencies and seven appointments to the Court in the last thirty-five years, we still have a Court that too frequently does the latter.”

BUSH: Per the New York Times: As Jeb Bush continues to struggle, his campaign is exploring how to use his brother George W. Bush.

CLINTON: She held a town hall moderated by TODAY co-host Savannah Guthrie in New Hampshire this morning.

One of the highlights from this AM, per NBC’s Monica Alba: “Hillary Clinton apologized once again Monday for using a private email server and said she never would have established a House select committee to investigate Benghazi ‘for political reasons’ if the subject was a GOP candidate.”

She is set to unveil a sweeping gun control proposal Monday, Alba reports.

And the New York Times reviews Clinton’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”

FIORINA: Fiorina had about $500,000 worth of unsettled invoices after her failed 2010 Senate run, the Washington Post reports. She cleared most of the balances in January of this year.

The Koch brothers and other major GOP donors are warming to Fiorina, Reuters reports.

The super PAC supporting Fiorina is out with the full documentary detailing her life.

PAUL: Despite his faltering poll numbers, Rand Paul told Fox News he has no plans to exit the 2016 race.

RUBIO: The Florida senator’s low-key strategy has kept him out of the food fights that have ensnared many of the other GOP candidates, the Wall Street Journal reports.

SANDERS: He drew 20,000 people in Massachusetts on Saturday, the Boston Globe reports.

TRUMP: He told one of us(!) on “Meet The Press” that “it’s not even a contest” that the Middle East would be better if Muammar Qaddafi of Libya and Saddam Hussein of Iraq were still in power.

He also said on MTP that gun violence will happen “no matter what you do.”

CONGRESS: Race for House speaker is officially on

Per the Washington Post: “The Republican chairman of a high-profile House committee on Sunday shook up the race to succeed outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner, launching a challenge to the heavy favorite, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.”

The race for speak has become personal, Politico reports.

Boehner is considering delaying the elections for House majority leader and majority whip, a move that would both allow unrest to settle and more potential Republicans to join the race.

OBAMA AGENDA: TPP agreement is reached -- finally

The United States is hoping to put increased pressure on ISIS in Syria, the New York Times reports.

Per the WSJ: The Pentagon underestimated the complexities of Syria.

And the New York Times reports that the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations agreed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, setting up months of debate in Congress.