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First Read’s Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: Don’t call it an invasion

Few are using the word "invasion" to describe the conflict in Ukraine, the New York Times writes.

The Associated Press: "Talks expected to bring a much-anticipated cease-fire to the fighting in eastern Ukraine began Friday in the Belarusian capital even as the rebels kept pressing their offensive against a strategic port city."

More, from Reuters: “Fighting raged between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels just east of the strategic port of Mariupol on Friday, shortly before envoys from Ukraine and Russia were expected to announce a ceasefire as the starting point for a wider peace plan.”

From the Wall Street Journal: "American allies including the U.K. and France said they would help form an international military coalition to fight a growing threat from Islamic State militants. While members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting here on Thursday were weighing what role they would play, U.S. officials urged them to commit to a strategy that includes providing more arms to Kurdish forces fighting the Islamist insurgents in northern Iraq."

A hacker broke into a part of the Healthcare.Gov website this summer, but there's no evidence that any personal data was stolen, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Senate Democrats are pushing Obama to delay executive action on immigration until after the November elections, POLITICO writes.

OFF TO THE RACES: So you’re saying there’s a chance…

Jeb Bush allies say "the chances are better than 50-50 that he runs," the Wall Street Journal reports.

After coming under fire for using references to domestic violence to describe Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's positions on women’s issues, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she "shouldn't have used the words I used," one of us(!) reports.

ALASKA: After announcing a unity ticket with Democrat Byron Mallet, independent Bill Walker is walking back a pledge on abortion issues. The Alaska Dispatch News: "Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker on Thursday took back a promise to veto any legislation that would weaken abortion rights in Alaska, saying he shouldn’t have committed himself to a position on hypothetical bills. 'That’s further than I wanted to go,' Walker said. 'I did something poorly and I went further than what I was comfortable with.'"

ARKANSAS: Mark Pryor is up with a new ad defending his vote on Obamacare (without mentioning that moniker) as a move for positive Medicare reforms. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent argues that's another sign that Democrats are finding more political room to talk about the good things in the law, allowing them to mitigate the damage it could otherwise cause their campaigns.

A CNN/ORC International poll finds that Tom Cotton narrowly leads Pryor 49% to 47%.

CALIFORNIA: Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari sought to portray California as an economic shambles under incumbent Jerry Brown in the two men's only scheduled debate Thursday.

FLORIDA: Former President Bill Clinton is headed to Florida Friday to stump for onetime Republican Charlie Crist, NBC's Perry Bacon writes.

KANSAS: Secretary of State Kris Kobach says that Democrat Chris Taylor doesn't have legal standing to pull his name from the ballot in November, throwing another wrench into the wacky Senate contest. Taylor says he'll challenge that decision, and the matter could end up in court.

Leroy Towns, the campaign manager for incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, is out, the Washington Post reports.

Jonathan Martin in the New York Times: "The National Republican Senatorial Committee is sending Chris LaCivita, who has served as a political troubleshooter in past Republican campaigns, to counsel Mr. Roberts and help oversee his campaign. The committee will also seek to hire a local lawyer in any legal challenge against Mr. Taylor, who had tried to drop off the ballot on the last day candidates were allowed to do so."

KENTUCKY: From one of us(!): Alison Lundergan Grimes is up with a new ad targeting Mitch McConnell's absences at committee hearings, something the Senate Minority Leader says reflects an inaccurate view of how party leaders' jobs are structured.

LOUISIANA: From the Times-Picayune: “U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu has been issued a subpoena for Friday's Baton Rouge court hearing over her Louisiana residency, though the Senator has not seen it yet .. Since the subpoena had not reached the Senator yet on Thursday evening, it is unlikely that Landrieu will have to appear in court Friday. State Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, filed a lawsuit against Landrieu Friday alleging that she lives full-time in Washington D.C. and cannot represent Louisiana because she is not a state resident.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE: An American Crossroads poll has Jeanne Shaheen up three points over Scott Brown, NHJournal reports.

VIRGINIA: The Richmond Times-Dispatch lede: "Virginia’s 71st governor, Bob McDonnell, on Thursday became the first in the state’s history to be convicted of a felony, turning a legacy dominated by steering the state through austere times into one tarnished by corruption."

Notes the Washington Post: "It was a stunning outcome for the couple, all the more so because in December, McDonnell declined to accept a plea agreement in which he would have been found guilty of just one felony count of lying on a loan document, according to people familiar with the case. Maureen McDonnell would have faced no charges."

The Times-Dispatch also writes that the McDonnells have "substantial grounds for appeal" according to legal experts.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Thursday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Peter Alexander interviews NBC’s Sarah Dallof, Moody’s Mark Zandi, CNBC’s Hampton Pearson, NBC’s Keir Simmons, Chris Jansing, Richard Lui, Perry Bacon, Mark Murray and Pete Williams, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and NBC News’ Political Director and the new moderator of “Meet the Press” Chuck Todd.

*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Judy Gold, comedienne and friend of Joan Rivers; Legal Analyst Lisa Green on the father indicted on murder charges for leaving his son in a hot car; Zachary Karabell on the August unemployment report; and Erica Reid, Author of "The Thriving Child."

*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Robert Menendez, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Fmr. Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Fmr. Talk show host Dick Cavett, NBC’s Chuck Todd and the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus.