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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Refugee plan

From the New York Times: The Obama administration is considering a plan to treat young adults and children from Honduras as refugees. "If approved, the plan would direct the government to screen thousands of children and youths in Honduras to see if they can enter the United States as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds." MORE: “Administration officials stressed that no decision had been made to move forward, saying the idea was one of many being discussed by officials at the White House and the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services. Among the factors surrounding the decision are how many people in Honduras would be eligible to apply for the program, and how many would probably be approved.”

Obama will meet with three Central American leaders to discuss the border crisis today.

The national mood seems to be shifting towards more support for increased deportations. A CNN/ORC poll shows that 45% percent of Americans say the government's main focus should be developing a plan to allow undocumented immigrants to become legal residents, versus 51% who say the focus should be on stopping the flow of illegal immigration and deporting undocumented people who are already here. Compare that to a 54%/41% split earlier this year.

Obama on CNBC yesterday, on companies performing tax inversions: "For you to continue to benefit from that entire architecture that helps you thrive, but move your technical address simply to avoid paying taxes, is neither fair, nor is it something that's going to be good for the country over the long term."

"U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed regional proxies to nail down a Gaza ceasefire on Friday as the civilian death toll soared, threatening to spread Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed to the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem," Reuters writes. "With Israel and Hamas-led Islamist fighters setting seemingly irreconcilable terms for a truce that mediators hope will begin by a Muslim festival next week, Kerry worked the phones from Egypt, while aides made clear his patience was limited."

U.S. officials say Russia is firing artillery across the border into the Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reports.

CONGRESS: Dysfunction junction

NBC's Kasie Hunt writes on the breakdown of the VA talks on Capitol Hill.

And one of us(!) notes just how bad Washington's gridlock has gotten. "[W]hat is new is how the legislative process has essentially stopped, making Capitol Hill more dysfunctional than it's been in decades."

From Roll Call: “House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa is offering to allow top White House political adviser David Simas to testify via deposition instead of in a congressional hearing.”

OFF TO THE RACES: “Two sentences is really the goal [on abortion]. Then stop talking”

The New York Times notes how conservatives are honing their script on how to talk about abortion. "'Two sentences is really the goal,' said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, the anti-abortion group that hosts the boot camps. 'Then stop talking.'"

The Wall Street Journal's take on Paul Ryan's anti-poverty plan. "The absence of program cuts is a departure for Mr. Ryan and the budgets he has guided through the GOP-led House. In previous proposals, spending on a number of social-welfare programs has been trimmed to help balance the budget."

The Washington Post ed board sees some good in Ryan's ideas. And Melissa Henneberger writes for the Post that the plan is so bipartisan it may signal that Ryan’s not interested in 2016 after all.

ALASKA: The Alaska Dispatch News on the complicating coincidence of having two statewide candidates sharing one name: Dan Sullivan.

ARIZONA: Onetime POW Sen. John McCain says the drawn-out death of an executed Arizona inmate amounts to "torture," POLITICO reports.

KANSAS: Gov. Sam Brownback's problems keep getting worse. (Caveat: It's a robopoll, but worth noting for the headlines it's generating.) A SurveyUSA poll conducted for KSN News shows Brownback trailing Democratic challenger Paul Davis by EIGHT points, 40% to 48%.

The same poll showed Pat Roberts leading challenger Milton Wolf 50%-30%.

MICHIGAN: Terri Lynn Land continues to face questions about her finances. From the Detroit Free Press: "Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land’s campaign insisted Thursday that her nearly $3 million in contributions to herself are legal and proper, even as Michigan Democrats called on state and federal authorities to investigate. Land’s campaign this week filed a correction to her federal financial disclosure, revealing a previously undisclosed joint checking account she controls with her husband Dan Hibma from which she has drawn $2.9 million for her race."

MISSISSIPPI: “The Mississippi Supreme Court said Thursday it won't reconsider its ruling that voters' birth dates must be redacted before poll books are opened for public inspection,” writes the AP. “State Sen. Chris McDaniel had asked the nine justices to hold a hearing and reconsider the ruling they issued last week. On Thursday, a majority said no.”

Headlines that don't help, via the Clarion-Ledger: "McDaniel spokesman gets angry over FEC questions"

Ann Coulter(!) tells Chris McDaniel supporters they should take their ball and go home. "If Chris McDaniel's supporters want to show what badass studs they are, how about walking across the Mississippi River and getting Tom Cotton elected in Arkansas? He's running against a Democrat, fellas! Or how about walking a little farther down the river, to Louisiana, and helping Bill Cassidy take out another Democrat?"

MONTANA: "The United States Army War College determined in a preliminary review on Thursday that Senator John Walsh of Montana appeared to have plagiarized his final paper to earn a master’s degree from the institution, and it sent a letter to the senator instructing him that an investigative panel will meet next month to conclusively assess any culpability," writes the New York Times.

And then there's this: "A little further down the "fact sheet," Walsh's campaign says this: "While commanding the 1-163rd Infantry Battalion in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, Walsh survived hundreds of IED explosions while in a Humvee, he was targeted – by name – by Al Qaeda in Iraq, and his unit endured hundreds of rocket attacks." If surviving "hundreds of IED explosions" sounds unbelievable, that's because it didn't happen. Walsh's campaign followed up with a correction (which they call a clarification), noting that he personally didn't survive all those IED attacks."

RHODE ISLAND: Olympic figure skater Michele Kwan cut an ad for her husband Clay Pell, who’s running for governor.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Lindsey Graham seems to be safe so far, according to a Palmetto Politics poll. Graham leads Democrat Brad Hutto 45% to 33% with third-party candidate Thomas Ravenel getting 10%.

VIRGINIA: A Roanoke College poll shows incumbent Sen. Mark Warner leading challenger Ed Gillespie 47%-22%, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis picking up 5%.


*** Friday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews Rep. Paul Ryan, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, Jay Barbree, Fmr. Bush 43 Political Director/CNBC’s Sara Fagen

*** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews NBC News Contributor Raul Reyes on the border crisis; Yahoo Sports writer and NBC Sports Network contributor Jay Busbee on Ray Rice’s NFL suspension over his domestic abuse incident: Attorney Eric Guster on the Renisha McBride murder trial; and Bear Grylls on his NBC series that Tamron is in called “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” which premieres Monday.

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Gil Kerlikowske, Fmr. Defense Secretary William Cohen, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino, Dutch TV correspondent Michiel Vos, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes, NBC’s Lester Holt, Martin Fletcher and Ayman Mohyeldin and “Good Morning Mr. Mandela” author Zelda La Grange.

*** Saturday’s “MSNBC Live Weekends” line-up at 2pmET: Craig Melvin’s guests include Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien; Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) of the House Intel Committee; Benjamin Chavis of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Jamilah Lemieux, senior editor; and Viviana Hurtado of the Wise Latina Club.

*** Sunday’s “MSNBC Live Weekends” line-up at 3pmET: Craig Melvin’s guests include Latta, S.C. Mayor Earl Bullard, senior editor Beth Fouhy, and Gen. Barry McCaffrey