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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Shinseki’s shaky day

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's testimony to Congress is complete, but the VA scandal is still dominating headlines. The newest development from the New York Times: "The Department of Veterans Affairs’ inspector general is working with federal prosecutors who are trying to determine whether criminal violations occurred at a medical center in Phoenix accused of falsifying data or creating secret waiting lists intended to hide monthslong delays for veterans to see doctors, a top official told a Senate committee on Thursday." reports on the beating Shinseki took from frustrated members in yesterday's hearing. The VA Secretary says he has no plans to resign.

The AP sums up yesterday's testimony on the VA debacle, writing that patience in Congress is "wearing thin."

The New York Times looks at the role of Brown v. Board of Education in Michelle Obama's life as the first lady prepares to speak on the 60th anniversary of the ruling.

DHS chief Jeh Johnson says his department is taking a "fresh look" at the Secure Communities program in its efforts to overhaul deportation policy.

Same familiar lede, different bill: "Senate Republicans filibustered an $85 billion tax cut package after Democrats refused to allow votes on their amendments," Roll Call writes.

Around the world: The results of the massive Indian national election are in. Reuters: "Opposition candidate Narendra Modi will be the next prime minister of India, with counting trends showing the pro-business Hindu nationalist and his party headed for the most resounding election victory the country has seen in 30 years."

OFF TO THE RACES: The four issues to watch

Amy Walter at the Cook Political Report writes that four issues will ultimately dominate the election night results: Obamacare, technology and turnout, the Obama drag and unforced errors. “Bottom line: modeling out a 2014 election night scenario without taking these factors into consideration is a fools’ errand. These are also very dynamic variables that could look very different from state to state.”

Is Hillary Clinton too old to run for president? The Wall Street Journal says no, citing improved life expectancies.

The Washington Post's Robert Costa gets a glimpse into the conservative plan to keep control of the establishment agenda. "The day-long session underscored how simmering tensions between rival factions in the Republican Party appear to be growing, even as polls point to the potential for a major GOP victory in midterm elections in the fall."

Everything in moderation. The DC-based group Third Way is out with a sweeping new poll on who the nation's moderates are. The group found that moderates - far from being disengaged or "mushy" voters - have nuanced views on big issues and reject one-sided arguments. Their nifty interactive website is worth a peek, here.

Mayday PAC, a Lawrence Lessig-founded super PAC, aims to fight fire with fire in the debate over campaign finance.

ARKANSAS: "Gay marriages quickly resumed in Arkansas on Thursday after a state judge whose previous order had sown confusion among county clerks expanded his ruling to remove all vestiges of same-sex marriage bans from the state's laws," the AP reports.

GEORGIA: Rick Santorum has endorsed Karen Handel in the state’s contested Senate GOP primary.

IDAHO: We wrote yesterday about the remarkable GOP primary debate for governor, which featured two perennial candidates, rambling critiques of "political correctness" and a scene fit for a Saturday Night Live skit.

Here's the Idaho Statesman following up on the viral video.

INDIANA: This is worth watching as Gov. Mike Pence acknowledges he's hearing from GOP fans who'd like to see him run for president. Via the Indianapolis Star: "Mike Pence was very clear Thursday. Although Indiana's Republican governor proposed a way of accessing billions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid in Indiana, he's still opposed to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and thinks it should be repealed. But states have an obligation to lead the way on health care reform, Pence said in announcing his alternative to traditional Medicaid. And that means showing Indiana can get better results for taxpayers and the poor."

IOWA: A Loras College poll finds Joni Ernst with an 11 point lead over Mark Jacobs.

KENTUCKY: Ahead of Tuesday's primary, here's the Lexington Herald-Leader's Matt Bevin obit. The upshot: McConnell was successful at painting him as untrustworthy, and Bevin was never able to define the Senate Minority Leader as an enabler of Obama's agenda.

MAINE: The three-way gubernatorial race in Maine is a repeat of the bizarre 2010 scenario that lifted Paul LePage to the governor's mansion, writes the Wall Street Journal.

OREGON: POLITICO: "Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby was accused by her ex-boyfriend last year of “stalking” him, entering his home without his permission and “harassing” his employees, according to a Portland, Oregon police report."

A pro-Wehby GOP poll shows her up 17 points over her Republican challenger, Jason Conger.

The Washington Post notes that antiabortion groups are hitting her hard for calling abortion "a personal decision between a woman and her family."

TEXAS: Here's the Wall Street Journal on the latest in the criminal investigation into Gov. Rick Perry's administration.


*** Friday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC's Chuck Todd interviews The Grio's Perry Bacon, MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin, The Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell, The Philadelphia Inquirer's Tom Fitzgerald, NBC's Jim Miklaszewski, Atlanta Magazine's Rebecca Burns, The Glover Park Group's Michael Feldman and former Bush White House Political Director Sara Fagen.

*** Friday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), New York Times Political Report Nicholas Confessore, MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Democratic Strategist Chris Kofinis, Republican Strategist Danny Vargas, Director of Africana Studies and Assoc. Professor of English at Lehigh University James Peterson, and Founder of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations Howard Bragman.

*** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Larry Hannan from the Florida Times Union on Marissa Alexander’s stand your ground hearing; Maria Cramer from the Boston Globe on Aaron Hernandez’s indictment; NYU scholar Dr. Laruth Gray on 60 years after Brown vs Board of Ed.; USA Today’s Nicole Auerbach on the NCAA allowing help for a homeless player at Boise State.

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Kristen Welker fills in for Andrea Mitchell and will interview ACLU Racial Justice Program Director Dennis Parker, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus, Voto Latino President Maria Teresa Kumar and NBC’s Bill Neely, Joe Fryer and Jim Miklaszewski.

*** Friday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid interviews Warren Zola – executive editor of The Sports Law Blog – about new reports that Donald Sterling is refusing to pay his fine and is threating to sue the NBA. Re/code’s Amy Schatz explains why we should care about Net Neutrality. And MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry talks about the 60 year anniversary of Brown vs. The Board of Education and how far we’ve come.

*** Saturday’s “MSNBC Live Weekends” line-up at 2:00pm ET: Craig Melvin’s guests include journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, former Tea Party Express chair Amy Kremer, former South Carolina GOP chair Katon Dawson, Policy Mic’s Elizabeth Plank, syndicated columnist Bob Franken, The Atlantic’s Molly Ball, LA Times reporter Frank Shyong, Roll Call’s Christina Bellantoni, NBA writer Ben Golliver, and Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith, plaintiffs in the Goodridge vs. MA Dept of Public Health decision that led to the first legalized weddings in Massachusetts 10 years ago.

*** Sunday’s “MSNBC Live Weekends” line-up at 3:00 pm ET: Craig Melvin’s guests include Bob Herbert of Demos, Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet, Lexington Herald-Leader political reporter Sam Youngman, The Grio political editor Perry Bacon, Stomp Out Bullying founder Ross Ellis, and Carson, CA City Councilman Mike Gipson.

*** On “Disrupt with Karen Finney” Saturday: Karen will be joined by Ruby Bridges, Doug Brinkley, Wade Henderson, Amanda Terkel, Brian Murphy & Zerlina Maxwell

*** On “Disrupt with Karen Finney” Sunday: Karen will be joined by Steve Clemons, Maya Harris, James Peterson, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, & Col. Jack Jacobs