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First Read’s Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: More GOP criticism of Bergdahl prisoner swap

Last night's Hill briefing with House members didn't soothe GOP criticism of the Bergdahl swap decision, NBC's Frank Thorp and Andrew Rafferty report. "Republicans in the House said White House officials informed them that as many as many as 90 members of the administration knew of the deal before it happened, yet no members of Congress were informed."

One of us(!) reported yesterday on a new Pew/USA Today Poll on Bergdahl's release: "About four-in-ten Americans say that the prisoner swap that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was “the wrong thing to do,” while 34 percent say it was the right move, according to a new poll. But more than half also say the United States should be responsible for ensuring the return of a captive soldier, no matter what the circumstances are."

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is headed to the Hill Wednesday to defend the swap.

The Washington Monthly is up with a big piece on the strategy of the Democrats’ offensive on raising the minimum wage.

Kentucky and West Virginia aside, Democrats see the Obama administration's new EPA regulations as a net boost for them, the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, as the VA scandal fallout continues: Top VA official Philip Matkovsky acknowledged "an integrity issue here among some of our leaders" in testimony to Congress Monday.

CONGRESS: Odd bedfellows

Here's some odd bedfellows, via the New York Times: Harry Reid and Rand Paul are teaming up with a plan to refill the highway trust fund, but they're clashing with Senate Finance heads Ron Wyden and Orrin Hatch.

Bloomberg previews the upcoming battle over Elizabeth Warren's student loan proposal.

Roll Call looks at the relatively modest legislative schedule being eyed by the House before the August recess (think no immigration, but targeted tax extenders.)

Several Democratic and GOP members of Congress will be taking batting practice and shagging fly balls at Nationals Stadium in D.C., as part of the non-profit Horton’s Kids benefitting D.C. kids and their families. Some of the members who will be participating: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)

OFF TO THE RACES: Hillary-palooza is underway!

In an interview with NBC's Cynthia McFadden, Hillary Clinton said that the Obama campaign wanted her to attack Sarah Palin "for being a woman."

And she called Benghazi the one thing from her tenure as secretary of state that she would "do over."

Here's Clinton in an interview with ABC, asked if she could have done anything to make it safer in Benghazi. "What I did was give very direct instructions that the people who have the expertise and experience in security .... I mean, I am not -- I'm not equipped to sit and look at blueprints to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be. That's why we hire people who have that expertise."

IOWA: Joni Ernst's husband got in some hot water for calling Hillary Clinton a "hag" in a Facebook post, Buzzfeed writes.

KENTUCKY: Alison Lundergan Grimes didn't mention coal as she’d promised during a private fundraiser with Harry Reid, POLITICO reports.

LOUISIANA: Remember "kissing congressman" Vance McAllister? He told a crowd last week that he voted against legislation after being informed that he would receive a $1200 campaign donation from the Heritage Foundation. (He said he never received the check.)

MISSISSIPPI: The Washington Post's Robert Costa on Chris McDaniel: "McDaniel is a true outsider — surrounded by volunteers with limited political experience, he engages little with the news media and less with leaders of his party. But while those traits may be good for McDaniel’s appeal to the right, he has come to represent everything that establishment Republicans fear about the tea party: He is aggressive, unpredictable and, at times, insensitive — if not offensive — on matters of gender and race."

NORTH CAROLINA: Kay Hagan’s (D-NC) campaign is up with two new TV ads touting her record (here and here).

OREGON: The Rothenberg Report is changing its race rating from “Safe for Democrats” to “Democrat Favored” as the general election between Jeff Merkley and Monica Wehby gets underway.

SOUTH CAROLINA: The New York Times writes that Lindsey Graham's campaign "may be the best illustration of how to turn what seem to be disadvantages into victory for Republican incumbents."

VERMONT: "Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin on Monday signed a law that will raise the state's minimum wage to $10.50 an hour by 2018, higher than any other U.S. state," writes Reuters.

VIRGINIA: Former Lt. Gov Don Beyer, who's running for Congress in suburbs just outside D.C., is embracing the president at a time when many other congressional Democrats are distancing themselves from the White House, the New York Times notes.

(But a little remdinder: In Democratic primaries in solid Democratic districts, Democrats are probably going to still be supporting President Obama.)

Here's the latest on that bizarre firestorm in the Virginia legislature over a senator's resignation to pave the way for his daughter's judgeship. Said Philip Puckett, via the Richmond Times-Dispatch: "At this point in my life, I feel that I cannot allow my political career to hamper my daughter’s future and her desire to serve the families and children of our area on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court." Looks like he won't be taking a job with the Virginia tobacco commission either.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Tuesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Perry Bacon, GOP challenger Dave Brat, VA-08 Dem candidate Fmr. Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, Jayson Ahern (Fmr. Acting Commissioner, U.S. CBP), Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter, NYTimes’ Jonathan Martin, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, NBC’s Cynthia McFadden

*** Tuesday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), ), Huffington Post’s Senior Political Reporter Amanda Terkel, MSNBC.com’s Managing Editor Dafna Linzer, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok, The New York Times Investigative Reporter & author of "Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality" Jo Becker, Voto Latino’s President and CEO Maria Teresa Kumar, GOP Strategist Leslie Sanchez, and Ready for Hillary Senior Advisor Tracy Sefl.

*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Kristen Welker, filling in for Tamron, interviews Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) who was in the closed door briefing last night on Bergdahl; Medal of honor recipient Col. Jack Jacobs & The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank with the latest on the VA findings and briefing; Dr. Wilson Compton from National Institute on Drug Abuse on marijuana/fatal crash study; and Saerom Yoo from the Salem Statesman Journal on condoms being made available to 6th graders.

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Rep. Chris Smith, Reuters’ David Rohde, the New York Times’ Helene Cooper, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Anne Gearan, NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski and Tony Benegas, Honduras consul to the U.S. in Arizona.