IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: “Global instability”

The Wall Street Journal writes that the Obama administration is being forced to react to an arc of "global instability now unfolding [not] seen since the late 1970s."

(On the other hand, violence in Iraq, instability in Afghanistan, and violence between Israel and Hamas aren’t necessarily new stories – especially over the past 10-plus years, right?)

The latest in Gaza, from the Washington Post: "[T]ens of thousands of panicked residents had fled their homes in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday after the Israeli military dropped leaflets from the sky warning those who stayed behind that they were risking their lives because a large, intense operation was imminent."

Israel says it shot down an unmanned aircraft launched by Hamas, the AP reports.

Complication in Iraq, via the New York Times: "A classified military assessment of Iraq’s security forces concludes that many units are so deeply infiltrated by either Sunni extremist informants or Shiite personnel backed by Iran that any Americans assigned to advise Baghdad’s forces could face risks to their safety, according to United States officials."

Bowe Bergdahl is set to start an Army job at a base in San Antonio, according to officials.

The Austin Chronicle gets the story behind Barack Obama's fist bump with a Franklin BBQ employee who exclaimed "equal rights for gay people!" during the president's visit there last week.

CONGRESS: Battle over the highway trust fund

The push for the highway trust fund continues this week, writes the Wall Street Journal. "The White House this week will try to mobilize support for a large-scale package to fund highway and bridge construction and other infrastructure programs, but prospects in Congress are dim as lawmakers push for a temporary measure to avoid a funding lapse."

More from The Hill: "The president will speak twice on the importance of funding infrastructure — on Tuesday from a facility that tests new highway technologies in Northern Virginia and on Thursday from an infrastructure site in Delaware."

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent writes that Barack Obama isn’t the only politician who faces a potential problem regarding the immigrant children who are crossing the border. “While plenty of attention has been lavished, rightly, on what a major political problem the crisis poses for Obama, if you think a few moves ahead, it could pose a major test for Boehner, too. Can the Speaker get $4 billion in spending for Obama to address the crisis through the House? And even if he does, how can he do it without finding himself in a familiar place, i.e., in the cross-hairs of conservatives who don’t want the spending to pass, leaving him in need of many Dem votes?”

OFF TO THE RACES: Perry vs. Paul

Here's Rand Paul's response to Rick Perry's op-ed last week slamming his "isolationist policies," in a Politico piece: "If refusing to send Americans to die for a country that refuses to defend itself makes one an “isolationist,” then perhaps its time we finally retire that pejorative." MORE: "On foreign policy, Perry couldn’t be more stuck in the past, doubling down on formulas that haven’t worked, parroting rhetoric that doesn’t make sense and reinforcing petulant attitudes that have cost our nation a great deal."

By the way, Perry is headed back to Iowa next weekend, the Des Moines Register notes. -- and Chris Christie's there Thursday, too.

The New York Times' Jonathan Martin writes that governors are falling victim to the same partisanship they love to hate in the nation's capital. "[B]ehind the self-congratulatory rhetoric about attaining results and making tough decisions is an inescapable fact of political life: The same divisions that have stymied policy making in Congress are increasingly evident in the ranks of the governors."

Here's Chris Christie on gay marriage: "The country will resolve this over a period of time. But do I think it’s resolved? No.”

The AP looks at Elizabeth Warren's efforts to help Democrats around the country.

ALASKA: Midterm quote of the day, from the Washington Post's profile of embattled Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and his relationship with the president: "“I’ll be a thorn in his [posterior]."

COLORADO: The Post's Dan Balz wrote over the weekend about Gov. John Hickenlooper, calling him a "consensus-builder with soft edges." The governor also wants to rid the country of negative ads.

GEORGIA: The sole televised debate between Jack Kingston and David Perdue got nasty, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. "Perdue, a former Fortune 500 chief executive, depicted Kingston, a 22-year veteran of congress, as an “out of touch” Washington insider who knowingly took potentially illegal contributions. The Savannah congressman painted Perdue as a gilded executive and an outsider so extreme he’s a renegade." The runoff is July 22.

IOWA: Republican candidate Joni Ernst recorded the weekly Republican radio address this weekend before heading off to two weeks of training with the Iowa National Guard.

KANSAS: The New York Times editorial page weighs in on Gov. Sam Brownback's tax cuts in the state, calling them "spectacularly ill-advised."

MINNESOTA: Stu Rothenberg writes of the Minnesota Senate race: "We are moving the Minnesota Senate race from Safe Democrat to Democrat Favored, but readers should not make too much of the changed rating."

MISSISSIPPI: Chris McDaniel will hold a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the next steps in his efforts to review election records, the Washington Post notes.


*** Monday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Kristen Welker interviews NBC’s Martin Fletcher, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, Quartz’s Bobby Ghosh, Bloomberg News’ Indira Lakshmanan, Washington Post’s Dan Balz, NBC’s Mark Potter, NBC’s Luke Russert, Cuyahoga County Exec. And OH Gov. nominee Ed Fitzgerald

*** Monday’s “José Díaz-Balart” line-up: José Díaz-Balart interviews Texas State Senator and Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, President & CEO of the National Council of La Raza Janet Murguia, Telemundo’s Andres Cantor, and an exclusive interview with a Honduran teen that recently crossed the border.

*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Rula Jebreal & Michael Crowley on the Israel conflict; The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank on the U.S. border crisis; Stephen and Katie Stay family memorial moderator, Angela Bickford & Stay family Go-Fund Me organizer Jody Dellinger on the Texas family who was killed; and Lorraine Toussaint, “Queen Vee” from Orange is the New Black.

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Israel’s Chief spokesperson Mark Regev, Fmr. State Department Advisor Vali Nasr, Acting German Ambassador Philipp Ackermann, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus, NBC’s Martin Fletcher, Ayman Mohyeldin and Ali Arouzi and’s Amna Nawaz.

*** Monday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid will discuss the conflict in Gaza, including the latest U.S. diplomatic efforts. Plus, comedian and co-creator of the “Daily Show”, Lizz Winstead takes on reproductive rights. She joins Joy to talk about her new campaign to bring awareness to the rights being stripped away from women across the country. And it’s “Moral Monday”. The Nation’s Ari Berman reports from North Carolina as the state awaits a judge’s decision on the challenge to the new voting rights law.