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First Read's Morning Clips

A roundup of the most important political stories of the day

OBAMA AGENDA: Targeting ISIS’s oil refineries

From "U.S. military forces and Arab partner nations targeted 12 ISIS-controlled modular oil refineries in eastern Syria on Wednesday, officials said. Coalition forces also took out one vehicle linked to ISIS in the strikes, which involved Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates."

And/but, from Reuters: "U.S. and coalition planes pounded Islamic State positions in Syria again on Wednesday, but the strikes did not halt the fighters' advance in a Kurdish area where fleeing refugees told of villages burnt and captives beheaded."

Delicate talks with Saudi Arabia were key to building the coalition of Arab states taking on ISIS, the Wall Street Journal writes. "Officials on both sides say the partnership could help rebuild trust between longtime allies whose relations have been deeply strained over the U.S.'s response to the Arab Spring uprisings and Mr. Obama's outreach to Saudi rival Iran. It was also a sign the Saudis might take on a greater security role in the region, something the U.S. has long pressed for."

The AP calls Obama's United Nations speech Wednesday a "striking shift."

The New York Times offers this background on the Khorasan Group: "The paucity of public information about the Khorasan Group makes it hard to draw firm conclusions about its ultimate goals. Intelligence officials and terrorism experts believe that the group, although based in Syria, answers ultimately to Mr. Zawahri and Al Qaeda’s core leadership in Pakistan. They said that its size seemed to fluctuate, but that it consisted of approximately two dozen operatives, most of whom came to Syria from Pakistan and Afghanistan beginning in 2012."

OFF TO THE RACES: Coding mistake!

Karl Rove, in the Wall Street Journal, writes that the 2014 issues are breaking the wrong way for Democrats. But, he adds: "It is not enough for Republicans to remind them of Mr. Obama's many failings; voters want to know how the GOP would move the country forward. Republicans must keep three plates spinning at once: encouraging voters to send Mr. Obama a message, defending themselves against brutal Democratic attacks, and laying out a governing vision."

The Washington Post, on Hillary Clinton: "Now weighing another White House run, Clinton is faced again with the problems in Iraq and her role in shaping U.S. policy in the region. The airstrikes on the Islamic State group have inflamed the Democratic left, adding another potential line of attack against her if she decides to run for the White House."

The New York Times writes about the RGA coding mistake that thrust information about GOP donors into the open.

Both chairmen of the Senate campaign committees are fighting the possibility of a big loss in their home state, writes Roll Call.

Noted: Jim Webb's heading to New Hampshire next month, Robert Costa reports.

And so is Marco Rubio, writes John DiStaso.

“Congress doesn’t understand the internet.” That’s the tagline of a new ad from Generation Opportunity, which is hammering incumbent Dems Kay Hagan and Mark Udall over an internet sales tax proposal.

Opposition research is becoming the bread and butter of outside political groups, writes the Wall Street Journal.

ARKANSAS: A USA Today/Suffolk poll shows Pryor barely leading Cotton, 45%-43%.

COLORADO: The Denver Post, on the prominence of women's issues in the Senate race: "If Colorado's U.S. Senate race were a movie, the set would be a gynecologist's office, complete with an exam table and a set of stirrups."

IOWA: Early voting starts today in Iowa.

No Labels has now given an award to BOTH Joni Ernst and Bruce Braley.

KANSAS: George Will offers a glimpse into Greg Orman's political views (including the nugget that he's currently reading Paul Ryan's new book).

Rick Perry stumped for Sam Brownback, saying the embattled gov is one of those "who really get it when it comes to what the role of a governor is.”

Yet more residency problems for Pat Roberts. From the Topeka Capital Journal: "U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts put a signature to documents associated with the mortgage on a Virginia residence that identify the Fairfax County home as “principal residence” of the three-term incumbent Republican."

Still going.. "Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach jumped Wednesday into a lawsuit filed by a disgruntled voter seeking to force Kansas Democrats to name a new U.S. Senate nominee in hopes of speeding the resolution of a legal dispute shadowing a race with possible national implications."

LOUISIANA: "He's been officially and thoroughly vetted by the Robertson clan." That's the message of a new ad for Vance McAllister's challenger from the Duck Dynasty star.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: A New England College poll shows Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and former Rep. Frank Guinta tied at 45.2 percent. Jeanne Shaheen leads Scott Brown by about seven points.

NORTH CAROLINA: The Upshot describes Kay Hagan's "surprising strength." MORE: "The polls suggest that Ms. Hagan has compensated for her turnout problem by faring well among voters who are 65 and older. The polls showing Ms. Hagan ahead that have released results by age show the two candidates tied among such voters, with both Ms. Hagan and Mr. Tillis at 44 percent of the vote. That’s better than Ms. Hagan’s performance six years ago, when she lost those voters by eight percentage points."

VIRGINIA: Mark Warner is easily besting Ed Gillespie in Virginia, 48-39 percent, according to a new Q-poll.

WISCONSIN: "A federal appeals court on Wednesday overturned a lower court's ruling halting an investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and more than two dozen conservative groups for alleged illegal campaign activity," the AP writes.

The RGA and the Wisconsin GOP are both up with ads hitting Mary Burke for plagiarizing part of her jobs plan.


*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Former Ambassador to the U.N., Thomas Pickering & Time’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Michael Crowley with the latest on the fight against ISIS; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci on President Obama’s remarks on the ebola crisis at the U.N. today; and NY Daily News’ Chelsia Marcius on the rally in Washington DC to demand justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, MSNBC Counterterrorism expert Michael Leiter, Re/code Executive editor Walter Mossberg, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt and Richard Lui, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin and Al Jazeera’s Abdullah Elshamy.