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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: More violence in Gaza

The latest in Gaza, from the AP: "Israeli tank shells slammed into a crowded U.N. school Wednesday sheltering Gazans displaced by fighting, killing 15 and wounding 90 after tearing through the walls of two classrooms, a spokesman for a U.N. aid agency and a health official said."

Israelis overwhelmingly support the war, despite mounting casualties, writes the Washington Post.

The New York Times writes that President Vladimir Putin is publicly projecting nonchalance about the newest wave of sanctions imposed on Russia by the West. "But beneath that calm facade, there is growing alarm in Russia that the festering turmoil in Ukraine and the new round of far more punitive sanctions — announced Tuesday by both European nations and the United States — will have an impact on Russia’s relations with the West for years to come and damage the economy to the extent that ordinary Russians feel it."

From one of us(!): "President Barack Obama praised the European Union Tuesday for imposing tough new sanctions on Russia and announced additional U.S. sanctions on the country's defense, energy and financial sectors."

The New York Times profiles new VA chief Robert McDonald, writing that "his life has been a procession of increasingly demanding leadership roles."

CONGRESS: Reid’s “cynical” suggestion

From the New York Times: "House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled their plan to stem the surge of unauthorized child migrants from Central America at the southern border, proposing to spend $659 million — well short of the $3.7 billion President Obama seeks — to ease the humanitarian crisis after weeks of internal divisions and just days before Congress adjourns for its five-week August break."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested Tuesday that the Senate could add comprehensive immigration reform to the border bill. John Boehner's response: "Senator Reid, embarrassed that he cannot strong-arm the Senate into passing the blank check President Obama demanded, is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution."

Remember the highway bill? It's still up in the air with just three days left to go until recess, writes The Hill.

OFF TO THE RACES: Hillary: Time for Redskins to change their name

NextGen Climate, Tom Steyer's environmental group, is kicking off its TV ad campaign, one of us(!) writes. But this ad doesn't focus on climate change; it ties Iowa GOP nominee Joni Ernst to the Koch Brothers and Grover Norquist.

Noted: Hillary Clinton says that the Washington Redskins should change their name. "I think it’s insensitive and I think that there’s no reason for it to continue as the name of a team in our nation’s capital,” she said in an interview with Fusion TV. “I would love to see the owners think hard about what they could substitute."

Rand Paul is working on a new book that will come out early next year, the Courier-Journal reports. He joked that the timing – likely coinciding with a decision about a White House run – is “"Just coincidence, probably just coincidence, yeah.”

John DiStaso reports that a conservative advocacy group is going after Chris Christie in the First in the Nation primary state. "The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative 501c-4 advocacy group, will begin television, radio and digital advertising on Wednesday calling Christie too liberal on judicial appointments and accusing him of breaking a promise to appoint judges who will “not legislate from the bench."

Speaking of Christie, his office is flagging this editorial from the Newark Star-Ledger: “Looks like Gov. Chris Christie is riding in to rescue bail reform. He's called for a special legislative session to force a vote on Thursday, after Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto apparently had difficulty pulling his members in from planned vacations... Good show. It would have been outrageous if our state were unable to fix its broken bail system for years to come, simply because some legislators couldn't abandon their sand castles at the beach.”

ARKANSAS: The Hill has a Pryor campaign internal poll that shows him leading Tom Cotton 45-39 percent among likely voters.

IOWA: Bruce Braley is taking on Joni Ernst over her position on the minimum wage.

KENTUCKY: Alison Grimes is out with another "question from..." ad, this time challenging Mitch McConnell on women's issues.

Getting pickup this morning: Grimes attributed Israel’s ability to deter Hamas tunnel attacks to.. its missile defense system? “The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.”

MICHIGAN: The Free Press notes that, despite big endorsements for Justin Amash's challenger, there's not that much outside money flowing in to help him.

MISSISSIPPI: From the Clarion-Ledger: "An attorney for the Mississippi Republican Party says state law does not prohibit people from crossing over to vote in party’s primary and another’s primary runoff, an issue in Chris McDaniel’s presumed challenge to his GOP runoff loss to Sen. Thad Cochran."

NORTH CAROLINA: Republican leaders -- including Senate candidate and House Speaker Thom Tillis -- are touting a new budget that raises teacher pay.

TENNESSEE: The Hill's Jessica Taylor writes about the quest of a former congressman's son to regain his father's seat in Tennessee.

Joe Carr confirms his two daughters are on his campaign payroll, taking in a combined $6,500 monthly, according to the Daily News Journal.

VIRGINIA: The drama in the Bob McDonnell trial is somethin' else. The Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Defense attorney William Burck told the jury of eight men and four women that the evidence will show that former first lady Maureen McDonnell had a crush on [dietary supplement executive Jonnie] Williams and considered him her favorite 'playmate.'"


*** Wednesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews Global Post’s Dan Peleschuk, Fmr. Amb./NBC’s Mike McFaul, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Matt Salmon, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, NBC’s Martin Fletcher

*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson on the Mideast crisis; Politico’s political reporter Katie Glueck on former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s corruption trial; Former championship boxer and domestic abuse victim Christy Martin on the Senate hearing regarding gun violence against women; Attorney Lisa Green on the murder trial for man who shot Renisha McBride; and Thunder Levin, Screenwriter for Sharknado 2.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Claire McCaskill, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes, UNRWA Spokesman Christopher Gunness, NBC’s Martin Fletcher, Ayman Mohyeldin and Dr. Nancy Snyderman.