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OBAMA AGENDA: The Obama Way

NBC's Frank Thorp reports that at least 114 members of Congress have called for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's ouster, including 24 House Democrats and 11 Senate Democrats.

Here’s what NBC’s Perry Bacon wrote yesterday of the president’s reluctance – so far – to fire Shinseki: “This is the Obama way. Aides say the president is loath to dump someone simply because others in Washington are urging him to do so, both because the rush to judgment often ignores key facts and the person in charge of an agency is sometimes best equipped to address its challenges.”

The latest on the Shinseki flap, from the Washington Post: "Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki made an impassioned case Thursday to Democratic lawmakers and veterans groups that he can repair the Department of Veterans Affairs, even as calls for his resignation mounted and support from the White House appeared to wane."

The Associated Press's David Espo: "Republicans and Democrats alike want it both ways when it comes to any misdeeds at veterans hospitals, each side accusing the other of seeking unseemly political gain from the misfortune of the nation's warriors, while simultaneously maneuvering for an advantage in midterm elections."

One enduring problem at VA hospitals, according to the New York Times: not enough primary care doctors.

The White House is prepping for pushback on its new EPA rules, with advisor John Podesta huddling with House Democrats to brief them on the regulations, per the Wall Street Journal.

Also driving Obama's day, from The Hill: "President Obama will ask members of his administration to commit to tutoring at-risk youth as he releases a new White House report outlining ways the government and private sector can help young men of color."

A House panel has advanced a bill that would allow schools to opt out of Michelle Obama's school nutrition rules.

The Obama administration is facing even more heat from immigration advocates after a raid on undocumented workers in Milwaukee.

OFF TO THE RACES: The Benghazi chapter in Hillary’s new book

John Harwood looks at how the "brand capital" of political dynasties is the best hope for Democrats as they try to keep control of the Senate.

The GOP's full-repeal retreat, via the Washington Post.

2016 Watch, Part 1: POLITICO reports on Hillary Clinton's harsh rebuttal to Republicans on Benghazi, as written in her forthcoming memoir. "I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me," she writes.

2016 Watch, Part 2: Gov. Chris Christie fundraised for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in New Jersey Wednesday. (Another co-host: Donald Trump)

ALABAMA: No food fight here. After taking heat for negative campaigning, this ad from Chad Mathis less than a week before the GOP primary shows his kids complaining about his cooking.

ARIZONA: A conservative group is going after a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Arizona for praising Hillary Clinton after the Benghazi attacks.

IOWA: The Center for Responsive Politics does a deep dive on outside money in the Iowa Senate race, while the Des Moines Register traces Joni Ernst's rise from obscurity to frontrunner.

And/but, the paper also notes that Ernst is being criticized for calling the Santa Barbara shootings as an "unfortunate accident" during a debate. (She also called the murders an "absolute tragedy.")

KENTUCKY: Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes are wrangling over the terms of general election debates, the Courier-Journal reports.

LOUISIANA: The Times-Picayune: "Common Core will continue in Louisiana next year. The only remaining question is whether or not the standardized test tied to the controversial academic standards survives. That decision now rests solely with Gov. Bobby Jindal after the Louisiana Legislature in a series of votes opted not to weaken or derail the educational benchmarks."

MISSISSIPPI: Sen. Thad Cochran says he was ready to retire but ran for re-election at the urging of others, per the Washington Post.

The McDaniel campaign announced that Sarah Palin will campaign for the conservative challenger on Friday.

Blogger Clayton Kelly has been released from jail after posting $75,000 bond. He'd been jailed since May 16.

NORTH CAROLINA: A new poll by the conservative Civitas Institute shows Thom Tillis narrowly leading Kay Hagan 39-36 percent.

OREGON: Sample headlines from the Shinseki flap: The Oregonian: "Jeff Merkley calls for Shinseki's resignation; Monica Wehby says Merkley should have acted sooner"

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Friday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews Rep. Mike Tim Walz, Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson, Sam Hall of the Clarion-Ledger, the Los Angeles Times’ Seema Mehta and congressional candidate Matt Miller.

*** Friday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Huffington Post’s Senior Political Reporter Amanda Terkel, New York Times Political Reporter Nicholas Confessore, Washington Post Opinion Writer and MSNBC Contributor Jonathan Capehart, Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Senior Fellow Aisha Moodie-Mills, Republican Strategist Hogan Gidley, MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow, and Founder of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations Howard Bragman.

*** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Sen. Richard Blumenthal on the VA scandal; Kimberly Bryant from Black Girls Code on Google’s diversity report; Rachel Russell and Kimberly Montana, girls whose yearbook pictures were photoshopped; and Steve Jones, author of “Start you up: Rock Star Secrets to Unleash Your Personal Brand and Set Your Career on Fire.”

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Fmr. Chief of Staff for Secy. Panetta Jeremy Bash, Everytown for Gun Safety’s Colin Goddard, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Anne Gearan, USA Today’s Susan Page, NPR’s Steve Inskeep and Author Michele Zackheim.

*** Friday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: Guests includeWarren Zola from The Sports Law Blog talks about the new deal to sell the L.A. Clippers. Plus, a discussion on the war on drugs with documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki.

*** Saturday’s “MSNBC Live Weekends” line-up at 2pmET: Craig Melvin’s guests include Houston Mayor Annise Parker, UConn Professor Jelani Cobb, Maria Hanes, inventor of the concussion cushion and two-time guest at the White House this week, Rob Wildeboer of WBEZ Radio and Julie Burkhart, who worked with the late Dr. George Tiller and is founder of Trust Women.

*** Sunday’s “MSNBC Live Weekends” line-up at 3pmET: Craig Melvin’s guests include CJ Grishman, president of Open Carry Texas, Mark Hovarth, founder of Invisible People, and Nell Bernstein, author of “Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison”.

*** Saturday’s and Sunday’s “Disrupt with Karen Finney” line-up: On Saturday, Finney will be joined byWhite House Exec. Director of Let’s Move! and Sr. Policy Advisor for Nutrition Sam Kass, Sebastian Junger, Jon Soltz, Joan Walsh, Joe Madison, Elhae Izadi and Ari Rabin-Havt. On Sunday, Karen will be joined by Fmr. Gov. Ed Rendell, Jonathan Allen, Perry Bacon & Goldie Taylor.

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