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OBAMA AGENDA: Kerry in Iraq

"U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Iraq's prime minister in Baghdad on Monday to push for a more inclusive government, even as Baghdad's forces abandoned the border with Jordan, leaving the entire Western frontier outside government control," writes Reuters.

The latest in Iraq, from the AP in Baghdad: "Sunni militants have blitzed through the vast desert of western Iraq, capturing four towns and three border crossings and deepening the predicament of the Shiite-led government in Baghdad led by Nouri al-Maliki."

The Iraqi army isn't ready to rally, the New York Times reports. "Recent assessments by Western officials and military experts indicate that about a quarter of Iraq’s military forces are “combat ineffective,” its air force is minuscule, morale among troops is low and its leadership suffers from widespread corruption."

More, from the Washington Post: "After tens of thousands of desertions, the Iraqi military is reeling from what one U.S. official described as “psychological collapse” in the face of the offensive from militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)"

The New York Times looks back at the administration's much-anticipated withdrawal from Iraq as a "tale of premature celebration and dashed hopes."

Immigrant children crossing alone into the United States will still be able to live in the country, attend school and even work without a big risk of deportation, the AP finds.

CONGRESS: The leadership shuffle's fallout

The ascent of Kevin McCarthy looks like bad news for the Export-Import Bank of the United States, notes the Wall Street Journal.

The Hill writes that the changes in House leadership strengthen John Boehner's hand. "While House Republicans are split on whether there will be another leadership shake-up in the fall, Tea Party members acknowledge they missed their best chance for change in last week’s whip and majority leader elections."

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Roll Call: "It’s now clear Congress will not block President Barack Obama from using force in Iraq if he chooses, despite opposition primarily from the president’s own party."

OFF TO THE RACES: An 'imperial image'

The Washington Post's Phil Rucker quotes South Carolina's Dick Harpootlian summing up the Hillary Clinton/ money narrative: "I don’t know whether it’s just that she’s been ‘Madam Secretary’ for so long, but she’s generating an imperial image."

For the calendar: On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio will deliver a major policy address in D.C. about the rising cost of living for middle class families, titled “Finding Economic Security in an Insecure Time.”

COLORADO: The Denver Post offers this primer on tomorrow's primary day, with four Republicans vying for the chance to unseat Gov. John Hickenlooper.

MISSISSIPPI: Conservatives will be using poll watchers in tomorrow's runoff election, the New York Times reports.

Thad Cochran needs backing from the state's Gulf Coast to pull out a win, notes the Clarion Ledger. "It’s the part of Mississippi perhaps most dependent on the federal dollars Cochran has made a career of delivering. It’s home to defense contractors such as Ingalls, the nearby Stennis Space Center and military bases that include Keesler Air Force Base...But instead of going hard for Cochran in the primary, the 10 counties of southeast Mississippi went for McDaniel by 3,800 votes, nearly triple his statewide margin."

McCain was supposed to stump for Cochran last night but didn't show due to a cancelled flight; he'll be in Jackson for Cochran this morning, though.

McDaniel's pitch to voters this weekend: ""Ladies and gentlemen, next time Ted Cruz stands on that floor, next time Mike Lee stands on that floor, next time Rand Paul stands on that floor to fight for you, a son of Mississippi will stand next to them."

IOWA: Martin O'Malley stumped in the first caucus state over the weekend, and he got "taken seriously" -- per the Washington Post.

OKLAHOMA: A News 9/News On 6 poll finds Lankford leading Shannon 43.4 percent to 34.9 percent.

NEW YORK: Rep. Charlie Rangel says he's confident he'll hang on to his seat despite a tough primary election Tuesday against state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

But he won't get a boost from a presidential endorsement, POLITICO reports.

Sean Patrick Maloney, New York's first openly gay member of Congress, married longtime partner Randy Gene Florke this weekend.


***Monday's "News Nation with Tamron Hall" line-up: Tamron Hall interviews: The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky and Medal of Honor recipient Ret. Col. Jack Jacobs on Iraq; USA Today’s Raul Reyes on the President’s plan to help undocumented children crossing the US-Mexico border; and Jason Priestley, author of “Jason Priestley: A Memoir.”

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Peter Alexander interviews NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Richard Engel, Fmr. Ambassador Chris Hill, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus, Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow, Cameroon People’s Party President Kah Walla and Charmaine Givens-Thomas, a mother invited to the White House Working Families Summit.