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OBAMA AGENDA: More poor marks for Obama

A new AP/GfK poll shows poor marks for Obama's handling of the crises in Gaza, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Iraq. Overall, just 43% approve of his handling of foreign policy.

Another ceasefire breaks down. From Reuters: "A Gaza ceasefire crumbled only hours after it began on Friday, with at least 40 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and Israel accusing militants of violating the U.S.- and U.N.-brokered truce by firing rockets and mortars.The 72-hour break announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the most ambitious attempt so far to end more than three weeks of fighting, and followed mounting international alarm over a rising Palestinian civilian death toll."

And here's the latest in Ukraine, where pro-Russian forces reportedly ambushed Ukrainian troops near the MH-17 crash site.

From the Wall Street Journal: "The Obama administration is fashioning a new strategy to prosecute Syrian war crimes based on a trove of photos smuggled out of the country by the defector code-named Caesar, U.S. officials said."

"For months, CIA Director John Brennan stood firm in his insistence that the CIA had little to be ashamed of after searching the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee," writes the AP. "His defiant posture quickly collapsed after a devastating report by his own inspector general sided against the CIA on each key point of the dispute with the Senate."

CONGRESS: Another day of dysfunction

Breaking overnight: Former Majority Leader Eric Cantor will resign his House seat effective August 18, setting up a special election designed to give his likely successor, Dave Brat, a leg up on seniority and a role in the lame duck session. Cantor tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch: "I want to make sure that the constituents in the 7th District will have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session."

Here’s Kevin McCarthy, the new Majority Leader, in a Washington Post op-ed: “Good policies can help the country along, but the true strength of this country rests in the people, not Washington. To this end, my House colleagues and I will work to ensure that Washington empowers Americans by restoring the promise of the American Dream.”

Where to start? Here's our roundup of yesterday's chaotic day in the House: "After an embarrassing retreat for Republican leaders, a divided U.S. House is postponing its summer recess to attempt another vote on a bill to address the border crisis. House leaders abruptly called off a scheduled vote on the legislation Thursday after a Tea Party revolt that siphoned off GOP support needed to pass it. Conservative Republicans – cheered by Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Jeff Sessions of Alabama -- threatened to break with their own party to vote against the GOP-authored measure, arguing that the legislation doesn’t do enough to stem the flow of new migrants into the United States. But others in the party fumed, saying that leaving Washington without doing anything to address what both sides have called a humanitarian crisis would earn the ire of their constituents just months before the November midterms."

The New York Times analysis: "While Republicans were stunned by Thursday’s setback, the inability of either chamber to reach a consensus on even a scaled-back bill to deal with the border crisis yielded no clear winners."

A big loser though? New Majority Whip Steve Scalise, writes POLITICO: "The episode is most embarrassing for Scalise, whose allies crowed this week about running a more effective whip organization than McCarthy, the longtime Republican vote counter who will now be the majority leader."

The Washington Post's Dan Balz: "Republicans may yet win the elections in November. They may end up in control of both houses of Congress come January. But in the final week before a lengthy August recess, they have shown a remarkable capacity to complicate their path to victory."

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The Post's Robert Costa reports that Ted Cruz is denying that he worked against the House GOP border bill: "The suggestion by some that House members are unable to stand up and fight for their own conservative principles is offensive and belittling to House conservatives," he said in an interview. "They know what they believe and it would be absurd for anyone to try to tell them what to think. In order for Washington to work better, and for Republicans to work better, and for Republicans to come together to defend conservative principles, we need to build relationships between both chambers and I’m working hard to do so. There should be much more of that in Washington."

A lot of attention is focused on the House, but the Senate also left town Thursday night after failing to advance its version of the border bill.

But the Senate did get the VA and highway bills done, even if immigration's still going unaddressed.

And , in a last minute change of heart, it did allow the new ambassador to Russia to be confirmed AFTER a fight over blocking him.

OFF TO THE RACES: Previewing Fancy Farm

The Clintons will be vacationing in the Hamptons this weekend, but they'll kick things off with a good old fashioned huge-dollar fundraiser, the New York Times reports.

GEORGIA: Michelle Nunn is poking some fun at her campaign's leaked strategy memo. She tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "“I always thought I wanted to run an open and transparent campaign. But this has gone beyond what I anticipated or intended.”

IOWA: Marco Rubio is heading to Iowa to raise cash for Joni Ernst, the Des Moines Register reports.

KANSAS: In a new (digital) ad, the Pat Roberts campaign clips a 2010 Fox News appearance in which Milton Wolf says he wants to see (his cousin) succeed, "and I know he will."

Meanwhile, Wolf is airing a radio ad using audio of Roberts dismissing Wolf's demands for a debate.

KENTUCKY: Previewing Fancy Farm (and filing under "good luck with that one:) The Courier-Journal: "When Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes get up to speak Saturday at Fancy Farm, organizer Mark Wilson doesn't want the constant chanting and noisemaking that has made the event more a test of will than a political speaking contest."

MISSISSIPPI: The New York Times visits the Neshoba County Fair, where Thad Cochran agreed to speak for the first time in 17 years.

NEW YORK: Here's the latest statement from Gov. Cuomo on the ethics commission dust-up: "The New York Times published a story last week that generated a wave of news reports across the state, some with numerous inaccuracies, and we wanted to correct them. We discussed these concerns with relevant parties. Several members of the Commission (District Attorneys and a law school dean) issued personal statements to correct the public record. These statements reiterated comments they had made over the past year. As I believe the U.S. Attorney has made it clear that ongoing public dialogue is not helpful to his investigation, we will have no additional comment on the matter."

VIRGINIA: Your daily update on the McDonnell corruption trial, via the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “The McDonnells were not my personal friends,” Williams said on the witness stand, just a few steps away from the former governor and his wife. Asked by federal prosecutor Michael Dry why he gave the gifts to the McDonnells, Williams responded: “I thought it was good for my company.”

WEST VIRGINIA: The New York Times takes a look at the 2nd District race, which has quickly become "a referendum on whether local ties even matter in a district so sprawling that it lacks a unifying regional identity in an era marked by a highly mobile population."


*** Friday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. Kevin Brady, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, NBC’s Martin Fletcher, and CEA Chair Jason Furman.

*** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Guests include Dr. Frank Esper, Infectious Disease Expert at UH Case Medical Center on the American ebola patient being transferred to the U.S., Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) on unfinished business in Congress, and Zachary Karabell, Columnist and author of “Leading Indicators” on today’s jobs report.

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Martin Heinrich, Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Fund at the Palestine Center, NBC’s Chuck Todd, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Martin Fletcher and Ayman Mohyeldin, the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, Bloomberg Deputy Managing Editor Jeanne Cummings and author and Reuters investigative reporter John Shiffman.

*** Saturday’s “MSNBC Live Weekends” line-up at 2pmET: TJ Holmes fills in for Craig Melvin and his guests include former Mideast peace envoy and former Sen. George Mitchell, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Bloomberg News’ Jonathan Allen, The Washington Post’s David Nakamura, National Reporter Alex Seitz-Wald and political strategist Angela Rye.

*** Sunday’s “MSNBC Live Weekends” line-up at 3pmET: TJ Holmes fills in for Craig Melvin and his guests include former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Reuters investigative reporter David Rohde, Latta, SC Mayor Earl Bullard, and Jordan Wright, granddaughter of Redskins founder George Preston Marshall and proponent of changing the NFL team’s name.