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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Boy, that escalated quickly

The New York Times: "The United States and five Arab allies launched a wide-ranging air campaign against the Islamic State and at least one other extremist group in Syria for the first time early Tuesday, targeting the groups’ bases, training camps and checkpoints in at least four provinces, according to the United States military and Syrian activists."

From "In a statement early Tuesday, the U.S. military said that in addition to taking out ISIS targets it mounted eight separate strikes overnight “to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests conducted by a network of seasoned al Qaeda veterans,” also known as “the Khorasan group.” The strikes against Khorasan — which had established a haven in Syria to plot attacks, build roadside bombs and recruit Westerners to fight — targeted the group’s training camps, explosives production facility, communication building and command and control facilities, the Pentagon said."

The AP reports that Washington informed Syria's U.N. envoy before the strikes.

Meanwhile, in Iraq: "After six weeks of American airstrikes, the Iraqi government’s forces have scarcely budged the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State from their hold on more than a quarter of the country, in part because many critical Sunni tribes remain on the sidelines," writes the New York Times.

“A Syrian fighter jet which apparently strayed into Israeli-controlled airspace over the occupied Golan Heights has been shot down by Israel,” the BBC reports.

Reuters: "A French national was kidnapped in eastern Algeria on Sunday, France's foreign ministry said, and his kidnappers issued a video threatening to kill him if Paris did not halt its intervention in Iraq."

"Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi pledged his support for the U.S. war against Islamic State militants, but called on President Barack Obama to widen his campaign against extremism well beyond Iraq and Syria," reports the Wall Street Journal.

The White House has known about security vulnerabilities with potential fence jumpers -- for two decades. From the Washington Post: "The Secret Service commissioned a classified mock attack two decades ago that found an easy way to pierce the White House security zone: Overwhelm Secret Service officers on the compound with six to eight attackers climbing over the fence at the same time. That vulnerability remains, despite the creation of specially trained counterassault and surveillance teams recommended at the time, according to government officials who were briefed on the findings and requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information."

OFF TO THE RACES: Jeb Bush ramps up midterm efforts

Jeb Bush is headlining a fundraising event tonight in Tampa that’s expected to raise more than $500,000 for five of the top GOP U.S. Senate candidates, NBC’s Perry Bacon reports.

ALASKA: The Alaska Dispatch News writes that Dan Sullivan's family is funneling some major cash to his campaign effort via American Crossroads.

ARIZONA: A new Republican poll shows GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey leading Democrat Fred DuVal 44 to 38 percent.

ARKANSAS: The Washington Post fact-checks Tom Cotton's ad about Obama's "hijacking" of the farm bill. Rating: Four Pinocchios. (Points off for Cotton's "self-righteous tone")

COLORADO: Cory Gardner is pushing foreign policy issues in his race against Mark Udall, reports the Denver Post. "It's an unusual maneuver, as foreign policy rarely has much bearing on House or Senate races. Adding to the difficulty is Udall's experience in that arena, especially on intelligence matters. But with Election Day less than two months away and President Barack Obama's approval numbers on foreign policy in the basement, Gardner has broadened his criticism of Udall to include both terrorism and the crisis in the Middle East."

IOWA: Chris Christie is headed to Iowa for Gov. Terry Branstad's birthday bash on October 25, the Des Moines Register reports.

KANSAS: Guess who's riding to the rescue for Pat Roberts? Jeb Bush will stump for him on Sept. 29 and - on Thursday - Sarah Palin's expected to appear with him as well. And Bob Dole!

LOUISIANA: One of us(!) writes that the "kissing congressman," Vance McAllister, is up with a new ad starring the wife to whom he was unfaithful.

MAINE: Michelle Obama will stump next month for Mike Michaud, the Democrat running for governor in Maine, writes the Portland Press Herald.

NORTH CAROLINA: The New York Times does a deep dive on battleground North Carolina: "The North Carolina of 2014, it seems, is neither red nor blue, but a shade of deep Dixie purple. It is a state where Republicans could retain control of the legislature for years, thanks to an aggressive 2011 redistricting and also because of white conservatives’ abandonment of the Democratic Party after years of post-Civil War fealty. But it is also a state where a modern-day Democratic candidate like Ms. Hagan — or even like Hillary Rodham Clinton — may still dream of a statewide victory."

To that point: A new High Point University poll shows Hagan hanging on to a 42-40 percent edge among likely voters. But her approval ratings are barely better than the president’s.

PENNSYLVANIA: Deeply endangered incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett "behaved more like a challenger than a sitting governor" in a debate, MSNBC's Michael LaRosa reports, "going on offense early and challenging [Democrat Tom] Wolf on numbers in his economic plans and Wolf’s charges against education funding."


*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), Fmr. Amb. To the U.N. for Special Political Affairs Stuart Holliday, Middle East Expert Fawaz Gerges, New York Times Beirut-based reporter Ben Hubbard, and NBC News Terrorism Analyst Evan Kohlmann, on the first U.S. airstrikes in Syria; and People’s Climate March Spokeswoman Maryam Adrangi on the UN Climate Summit the President is attending today.

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, NBC’s Brian Williams, Jim Miklaszewski and Anne Thompson, Wall Street Journal’s Carol Lee and the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg.