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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: “I’m lovin’ it”?

Former Procter & Gamble head Bob McDonald is Obama's pick to lead the Veterans Affairs department, we learned over the weekend. The New York Times: "Mr. Obama is turning to an outsider to overcome deep bureaucratic problems and the mismanagement that stemmed, in part, from a surge in the number of veterans needing care."

More, from the Washington Post: "In recent years, the job of VA secretary has been filled by retired generals, medical professionals or politicians. McDonald’s background is a significant departure, though he and his wife have deep family ties to the military. McDonald graduated in the top 2 percent of his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and served in the Army for five years, achieving the rank of captain in the 82nd Airborne Division before taking an entry-level job at P&G."

Obama will ask Congress for more than $2 billion to deal with the increase in border crossings by unaccompanied minors, NBC's Kristen Welker reports. "Obama will also ask that the Homeland Security Department be granted the authority to fast track the screening and deportation of all immigrant children traveling without their parents, and for harsher penalties for those who smuggle children across the border."

ISIL has formally declared a new caliphate, or Islamic state, the AP writes. "The al-Qaida breakaway group that has seized much of northeastern Syria and huge tracts of neighboring Iraq formally declared the establishment of a new Islamic state on Sunday and demanded allegiance from Muslims worldwide."

The organization is also clashing with other Islamic rebel groups in Syria, which could be strengthening Bashar al-Assad as the Syrian opposition fights amongst itself, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Business and women's groups are bracing for the result of the Hobby Lobby case, which could have far-reaching consequences for how owners of for-profit enterprises adapt to the new health care law.

Also coming from the Supreme Court: a ruling on whether many public employees who have not chosen to belong to a union can still have collective bargaining fees deducted.

The Washington Post has this quick primer on why the Export-Import Bank has become a GOP flashpoint.

OFF TO THE RACES: Majority says Hillary can relate

From over the weekend, a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal/ Annenberg poll shows that 55 percent of Americans say that Hillary Clinton can relate to and understand the problems of average citizens as well as other presidential candidates can.

Noam Scheiber writes in the New Republic that Clinton has been able to win over “the skeptical left” despite some concerns about her personal wealth and coziness with business. “Democrats have become so positively disposed to her that, unlike 2008, when they seized on an issue (Iraq) and worked back to her character (cynical), they now begin with her character (moral, honest, straightforward) and work back to the issues.”

The New York Times editorial board: "Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who is toying with the idea of running for president, has yet to show sufficient interest in managing the public’s money in ways that benefit the public."

Carly Fiorina will head up a new "Unlocking Potential Project" aimed at "engaging women in the upcoming midterm elections and closing the gender gap for the GOP," writes the Washington Post.

ALASKA: From over the weekend: Democrats are building their network deep into rural Alaska to reach native populations there, the New York Times writes.

The Anchorage Daily News: "A trove of more than 100 of the leaked Wikileaks diplomatic cables in 2010 provides an unvarnished view of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan's career at the U.S. Department of State, where he spent two-and-a-half years holding high-level meetings on oil and gas, climate change, and a host of other issues, even lobbying a head of state on a secret surveillance program. The cables bolster Sullivan's foreign policy credentials, but also may expose him to criticism from the right over his advocacy for reducing carbon emissions"

GEORGIA: The Wall Street Journal: "Bars, houses of worship, and other public establishments are wrestling with what to do about a new law in Georgia that starting on Tuesday dramatically will expand gun-permit holders' right to carry weapons where people congregate.'

Early voting starts in the primary runoff between David Perdue and Jack Kingston today.

HAWAII: The New York Times looks at the August 9 primary between Colleen Hanabusa and incumbent Brian Schatz, which has become a "test of clout between a living president and a dead senator."

KENTUCKY: Elizabeth Warren stumped for Alison Grimes over the weekend. From the Herald-Leader: "Alison and I don't agree on everything," Warren said. "We don't. But we agree that there is a lot on the line here. Our economy, our country, our values."

LOUISIANA: The Times-Picayune: "Rep. Vance Mcallister, R-Swartz, has scheduled a "special press conference" Monday in Monroe in which he is expected to reveal whether he'll run for re-election this fall in the 5th Congressional District."

MISSISSIPPI: Mark Mayfield, an attorney connected to the nursing home scandal in the Mississippi Senate race, was found dead Friday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

And even more drama, via the Clarion Ledger. A Hinds County official at the center of the ballot review was arrested for a DUI. "McDaniel supporters have criticized Perry's involvement with the elections because his firm received $60,000 during the primary from Mississippi Conservatives PAC, which supports Cochran, to help turn out votes for the incumbent. In Mississippi, political parties and not the state or county run the primary elections."

NORTH CAROLINA: Anti-abortion group Women Speak Out PAC is up with a new ad attacking Kay Hagan, while Senate Majority PAC is taking on Thom Tillis on education.

TENNESSEE: Rand Paul will join Lamar Alexander at a health care roundtable in Nashville Monday. (Paul hasn't endorsed in the Senate primary race, notes the Tennessean.)


*** Monday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews Washington Post’s Dan Balz,’s Beth Fouhy, Becket Fund’s Adele Keim, NBC’s Pete Williams, Center for Public Integrity founder Chuck Lewis

*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Huffington Post Reporter Laura Bassett and and Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health; and Steve Jones Author: Start You Up: Rock Star Secrets to Unleash Your Personal Brand and Set Your Career on Fire.

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Peter Alexander is in for Andrea and will interview Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Elijah Cummings, NBC’s Pete Williams, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus, NPR’s Nina Totenberg and Robert Hilliard, the attorney for families suing GM over the faulty ignition switches.

*** Monday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid interviews’s Irin Carmon,’s Elizabeth Plank, and author & Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe.