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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Mission creep?

The New York Times editorial board zeroes in on Gen. Martin Dempsey's testimony yesterday that he might recommend that American advisers accompany Iraqi troops on missions. "The alarming uncertainty that General Dempsey has injected into the still evolving military strategy makes it even more important that Congress carry out its constitutional duty and debate and vote on the new mission in Iraq and Syria."

Here's the quote from Dempsey that caught attention: ""If we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President."

The Washington Post's Paul Kane compares this war authorization vote to the one in 2002.

Associated Press headline: "Wary Lawmakers Ready to OK Arms for Syrian Rebels."

And/but, via the LA Times: "Elements of both parties, ranging from liberal Democrats to Republican isolationists, are voicing concerns, including whether opposition fighters will be properly vetted and how to ensure U.S. military equipment doesn't end up in enemy hands."

The mayors of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are launching a new effort to help more immigrants become citizens, the Wall Street Journal reports.

CONGRESS: Benghazi committee begins first hearing

The Washington Post's Robert Costa and Ed O'Keefe delve into the role of new Majority Whip Steve Scalise. " Leaders of both parties are sounding confident that they can pass both initiatives by the end of this week, but privately, Republicans are unsure whether they can convince enough conservatives to come along on the spending package, while some Democrats are worried that the doves in their caucus could splinter off because of the military engagement vote," they write. "As the GOP’s chief vote counter in the House, Scalise largely bears responsibility for the outcome."

The House Select Committee on Benghazi is holding its first opening hearing today. From the AP: "On the surface, the hearing should be noncontroversial. It will center on the State Department's implementation of an independent review board's recommendations to correct "systemic failures" that led to grossly inadequate security in Benghazi. The department endorsed the recommendations and there is little disagreement between congressional Democrats and Republicans about them. But on almost everything else related to Benghazi — interpretations of what happened before, during and after the attack — far greater partisan divide prevails."

OFF TO THE RACES: Q-poll shows Ernst up in Iowa

Notes the New York Times: "The Democrats’ strategy of making an increase in the minimum wage a midterm election rallying cry has been drowned out by world events. The party continues to talk about it, but it appears that few are listening."

The Wall Street Journal writes that the Obamacare issue is "losing some of its punch in the 2014 campaign."

Stop Hillary PAC is up with an ad campaign pegged to the start of the Benghazi committee hearings.

The Wall Street Journal writes that Republicans in South Carolina still aren't forgiving Chris Christie for hugging for Barack Obama in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Marco Rubio will deliver a policy address on "Rebuilding American Defense" this afternoon. "This speech has been in the works for months and will take a long-term look at our Armed Forces and national security in the 21st Century," an aide tells NBC News. "Senator Rubio will call for new investments in our military and have specific proposals for each branch."

COLORADO: The Chamber of Commerce is up with an ad tying Andrew Romanoff to Nancy Pelosi.

The latest from Tom Steyer's NextGen Climate, targeting Cory Gardner: "He'd like to make your most private choices for you."

IOWA: A new Quinnipiac poll finds Joni Ernst up 50-44 with likely voters.

And/but: The Washington Post looks at the tightening Iowa Senate race. "In Iowa — which Republicans have looked to as a potential insurance policy for taking control of the Senate — the debate increasingly has centered on issues that could give Democrats the edge. The question is whether Iowa is part of a broader political shift in other competitive states that would allow Democrats to maintain their Senate majority, even if by the slimmest of margins."

KANSAS: From the AP: Pat Roberts might not catch a break after all, with Kansas Supreme Court justices appearing to question why Democrat Chad Taylor shouldn't be able to get his name off the November ballot.

KENTUCKY: The New York Times writes on the contrast between Kentucky voters' benefits under Obamacare and their dislike of the president.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: John Boehner is heading to New Hampshire next week to headline a fundraiser for former Rep. Frank Guinta, reports.

Also heading to New Hampshire: Bill Clinton.

NEW YORK: What indictment? Rep. Michael Grimm leads Domenic Recchia 44-40 percent, via a Siena College poll. And here's a crosstab that matters in this borough battle: "Grimm has a nine-point Staten Island lead while Recchia is ahead by seven points in Brooklyn."

OHIO: MSNBC’s Michael LaRosa writes that Republican Gov. John Kasich is walking away from debate negotiations with Ed Fitzgerald.


*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Rep. Gregory Meeks on the ISIS threat and today’s congressional hearings; and The Washington Post Editor of The Early Lead, Cindy Boren on the NFL controversies.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Joe Manchin, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Financial Times Assistant Editor Gillian Tett, Bloomberg Deputy Managing Editor Jeanne Cummings, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and NBC’s Pete Williams and Peter Alexander.