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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: A new ceasefire in Gaza

From the AP: " Israel and Hamas began observing a temporary cease-fire on Tuesday that sets the stage for talks in Egypt on a broader deal on the Gaza Strip, including a sustainable truce and the rebuilding of the battered, blockaded coastal territory. Israel withdrew its ground forces from Gaza's border areas, and both sides halted cross-border attacks as the three-day truce took effect at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) Tuesday. The shelling stopped and in Gaza City, where streets had been deserted during the war, traffic picked up and shops started opening doors."

And/but: Headline, via the New York Times: "U.S. Diplomacy on Gaza Has Little Sway on Israel"

Obama signed into law Monday a bill to provide $225 in funding for Israel's Iron Dome system.

Also driving the president's day, via the Washington Post: "Speaking at a landmark meeting of African leaders, President Obama will announce Tuesday that American companies plan to invest more than $14 billion in the continent in sectors including banking, construction and information technology."

“Using secret tunnels built by Saddam Hussein and rough terrain to outfox Iraqi troops, Islamic State insurgents are getting dangerously close to Baghdad with the support of heavily-armed Sunni tribesmen, Iraqi security and intelligence officials said,” Reuters reports. “The al Qaeda offshoot, which poses the biggest security threat to Iraq since the fall of Saddam in 2003, has made new bold advances in the north, reaching a major dam and seizing a fifth oilfield and three more towns after routing security forces from the Kurdish autonomous region."

Ruth Bader Ginsberg says that the Supreme Court has never embraced "the ability of women to decide for themselves what their destiny will be."

From the Wall Street Journal: "A rush of newly insured patients using health services has boosted hospital operators' fortunes but has racked up costs that insurers didn't anticipate, corporate filings and interviews with executives show."

The Washington Post's obit for James Brady, who died Monday: "James S. Brady, the often-irreverent press secretary to President Ronald Reagan who was shot in the head during an assassination attempt on his boss in 1981 and who became an enduring symbol of the fight against unfettered access to guns in American society, died Aug. 4 at a retirement community in Alexandria, Va."

And then there's this on immigration from Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, flagged by the Huffington Post: "This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else,” he said during an interview Monday with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham."

OFF TO THE RACES: Primary Day!

Via NBC's Alex Moe, here's what Rep. Steve King had to say on the issue of whether he and Rand Paul are on the same page re: impeachment. "We want the president to abide by the constitution, we don’t want to have to take any kind of action to restrain him, and we don’t want to see a president create a constitutional crisis. I think that is a fairly moderate position."

Writes the Des Moines Register of Rand Paul's trip: "Paul is touring Iowa from end to end in a Ford Expedition this week, testing his attractiveness to voters in every congressional district. On his fourth trip to Iowa of the 2016 presidential election cycle, Paul has scheduled more than a dozen public and private events."

John Harwood, in the New York Times, writes on how social issues - long a weapon in Republicans' political arsenals - are helping Democrats keep the other party on the defensive as the country's attitudes change.

Here's Roll Call's list of the 10 most vulnerable senators. All Dems, except Mitch McConnell.

Rick Perry Watch: He’s started RickPAC. The political action committee will help other GOP candidates and could help his campaign if he decides to run for president again.

ALASKA: The biggest social issue separating the three GOP candidates for Senate appears to be access to abortion in the case of rape or incest, per the Alaska Dispatch News writeup of the latest debate.

ARKANSAS: The immigration issue explodes into the hard-fought Senate race. A new ad from Tom Cotton: 'Our Southern border. Chaos and crime. Washington made the mess. Senator Mark Pryor voted for amnesty. Citizenship for illegals."

COLORADO: Good news for Democrats up for re-election who feared that the GOP would successfully use Dems’ disagreement on energy issues as a wedge. From the Denver Post: "Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday unveiled a delicately balanced compromise on local control of oil and gas drilling that will remove all the initiatives on the issue from the November ballot. The ballot battle was shaping up to be the most expensive campaign in the state's history."

HAWAII: Two looming storms could impact Saturday's primary election.

KANSAS: It's primary day! Here's the Kansas City Star's six things to watch.

The AP on two congressional primaries in Kansas, where GOP incumbents are facing tough challenges from their own parties.

The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin: "Senate Republicans who have been prepared for challenges from the right have won easily. The one Republican senator who nearly lost his bid for renomination, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, had done little to get ready for his re-election before he suddenly announced late last year that he intended to seek a seventh term." MORE: "2014 could signify a departure from 2010 and 2012, when Republican senators were toppled by Tea Party-backed challengers."

KENTUCKY: A Democratic operative is in hot water after having tweeted last weekend: "Hey Mitch, nothing against your wife and spouses should be off limits; since you mentioned, She isn't from KY, she is Asian."

MISSISSIPPI: Chris McDaniel has formally filed his challenge of the primary against Thad Cochran, the Clarion-Ledger writes. "McDaniel's challenge doesn't appear to contain any new smoking guns but is more of a kitchen-sink approach, seeking to show a "pattern of conduct" of illegal and questionable voting through which McDaniel claims the primary was stolen from him."

VIRGINIA: The latest in the McDonnell case, with a cameo from a would-be First Lady of the United States. "In January 2012, Gov. Bob McDonnell boarded Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign bus in South Carolina, and went to the rear with the Republican hopeful, whom he had just endorsed. But Maureen McDonnell sidled up to Romney’s wife, Ann, — and made a pitch for Anatabloc, suggesting it as a possible cure for Mrs. Romney’s multiple sclerosis."


*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Dr. Ambreen Khalil, infectious disease expert, on the Ebola crisis;’s Trymaine Lee with an MSNBC Original on Chicago violence and PTSD; and Attorney Lisa Green on Theodore Wafer taking the stand.

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Associate Professor Kartik Chandran, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross, Fmr. Rep. Jane Harman, USA Today’s Susan Page, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and NBC’s Kate Snow.