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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Protecting LBGT employees

President Obama will sign an executive order at 10:15am ET Monday that will protect LGBT employees of federal contractors from workplace discrimination, NBC's Peter Alexander reports.

The New Yorker has a lengthy piece on Vice President Joe Biden's tenure, including a lot of 2016 talk. "For all my skepticism about taking the job, it’s been the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done in my life," Biden said of being vice president. “I can die a happy man not being President.” And there's this from Obama: "I think that, for both Joe and for Hillary, they’ve already accomplished an awful lot in their lives. The question is, do they, at this phase in their lives, want to go through the pretty undignifying process of running all over again.” Writer Evan Osnos “I concluded that, for Biden, running for President is less important than confirming that people afford him the respect of taking it seriously. In that light, Biden is unlikely to challenge Clinton if she runs, because the pain of a loss would drown out the thrill of the chase. But, if Clinton does not run, Biden probably will.” (That’s our take, too.)

The latest on the Ukraine jet crash: "Mr. Putin issued a brief statement early on Monday saying that Russia would work to ensure that the conflict in eastern Ukraine moved from the battlefield to the negotiating table," writes the New York Times. "He said that a robust international investigating team must have secure access to the crash site, but also accused unspecified nations of exploiting the disaster in pursuit of “mercenary political goals.”

Secretary of State John Kerry called the crash a "moment of truth for Russia."

The latest in Gaza, from the Wall Street Journal: "Israel repelled two underground infiltrations by Hamas militants into its territory from the Gaza Strip on Monday following a night of Israeli attacks that left a heavy toll of casualties in the Palestinian territory. The Palestinian Health Ministry said the Palestinian death toll in the two-week-old Israeli offensive, aimed at destroying Hamas's cross-border tunnel network, rose by more than 80 during the night and now exceeds 500."

Obama told Netanyahu he has "serious concern" about the growing number of casualties from Israel's ground offensive, per a White House readout.

John Kerry is heading back to the Middle East to urge a ceasefire, the AP reports.

From over the weekend, the Washington Post reports on researchers' warnings to the administration about the influx of Central American migrants into the United States. "The administration did too little to heed those warnings, according to interviews with former government officials, outside experts and immigrant advocates, leading to an inadequate response that contributed to this summer’s escalating crisis."

CONGRESS: Senate dysfunction

Your United States Congress at work? Via Paul Kane at the Washington Post: "Senators say that they increasingly feel like pawns caught between Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose deep personal and political antagonisms have almost immobilized the Senate. The two men so distrust each other, and each is so determined to deny the other even the smallest political success, that their approach to running the Senate has been reduced to a campaign of mutually assured dysfunction."

Roll Call: "With the Senate’s regular appropriations work all but dead and an unexpected supplemental spending request for child migrants consuming time and energy on Capitol Hill, a government-wide continuing resolution now appears to be a near certainty for the fall."

OFF TO THE RACES: Hillary earned $12 million in 16 months

Bloomberg: "Hillary Clinton has earned at least $12 million in 16 months since leaving the State Department, a windfall at odds with her party’s call to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor." (Um, doesn’t the Democratic Party want to shrink the income gap by taxing the wealthy more -- not restricting how much folks can earn writing books and giving speeches?)

Rick Perry in Iowa over the weekend, talking immigration: "We've sent the message that if we don't get the satisfaction that the federal government's going to move and move quickly, then the state of Texas will in fact fill that void."

And this from the Monitor: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to announce he will activate the Texas National Guard at a news conference Monday in Austin, said state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. Hinojosa did not have details of the effort, but an internal memo from another state official’s office said the governor planned to call about 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley — at a cost of about $12 million per month.”

Dr. Ben Carson won the Western Conservative Summit straw poll in Denver over the weekend, with Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin taking other top spots, writes the Denver Post.

From the Wall Street Journal: "Corporate inversions, the practice of U.S. companies reincorporating overseas to avoid U.S. taxes, have moved from the margins of the tax code to the midterm campaigns as Democrats are attempting to put heat on Republicans."

A personalized super PAC funded by wealthy patrons is the latest must-have even in downballot races, writes the Washington Post: "For the first time, the kinds of super PACs that became prominent in the 2012 presidential campaign also are a basic requirement in competitive, down-ballot House races. As one of their first to-do items, congressional hopefuls are asked to identify wealthy family members, friends or business associates willing to spend on their candidacies. As a result, deep-pocketed political patrons and special interests have a greater ability to influence the outcome of individual races with a relatively modest investment of funds."

GEORGIA: The Wall Street Journal previews tomorrow's Senate primary runoff between Jack Kingston and David Perdue.

MORE, from the AP: "For Kingston, being the bridge-builder is a delicate exercise for a veteran member of an unpopular Congress who’s refusing the label of either faction. Yet it also raises questions about just what kind of senator Kingston would be. Kingston said he’d continue to be “a proven conservative” who uses practical Washington experience without losing touch with constituents."

MICHIGAN: Outside groups have spent nearly $14 million so far on TV ads for the Michigan governor and Senate races.

MISSISSIPPI: The Clarion-Ledger: "State Sen. Chris McDaniel doesn't mind being a sacrificial lamb if he challenges the outcome of the Republican U.S. Senate primary runoff — as long as it means a more honest election system for the state of Mississippi."

TENNESSEE: Ted Cruz's father appeared at a Tea Party rally in Nashville with Lamar Alexander opponent Joe Carr, the Times Free Press reports. Once again, Cruz -- the senator -- serves as a vice chair at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to re-elect its incumbents.

WEST VIRGINIA: Elizabeth Warren raised over $100,000 for Natalie Tennant during her appearance for the West Virginia Democrat last week, NBC’S Kasie Hunt reports.


*** Monday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Luke Russert, filling in for Chuck Todd, interviews NBC’s Jim Maceda, Keir Simmons, CFR’s Gayle Lemmon, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Rep. Jim Moran, NBC’s Martin Fletcher, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, msnbc’s Jose Diaz-Balart, NYT’s Jonathan Martin, NBC’s Perry Bacon, Roll Call’s Shira Center, Democratic candidate Jack Trammell.

*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Craig Melvin interviews: Rep. Marcy Kaptur co-chair of the Ukranian caucus on the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down, NY Daily News reporter, Chelsia Marcius on the Staten Island man who died after being put in a chokehold by police; Attorney Eric Guster on Theodore Wafer’s trial for the fatal shooting of Renisha McBride; and Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs on today’s Medal of Honor being awarded to Ryan M. Pitts.

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Israeli Prime Minister’s Spokesperson Mark Regev, Fmr. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, Fmr. Ambassador Nicholas Burns, NBC’s Keir Simmons, Richard Engel and Martin Fletcher, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, David Nakamura and Anne Gearan and the AP’s Julie Pace.