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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Turkey hangs back

The New York Times writes that federal authorities are stepping up their efforts to keep would-be ISIS volunteers from traveling to Syria.

From the Wall Street Journal: "Islamic State militants stepped up their battle Thursday to seize more neighborhoods in the Syrian city of Kobani, despite intensifying airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition trying to stop the radical group’s advance, officials in the city and a monitoring group said."

Turkey hangs back, continued. From the Washington Post: "The Islamic State gains overnight came despite stepped up American air strikes over the past three days, and senior administration officials expressed growing exasperation with Turkey’s refusal to intervene, either with its own military or with direct assistance to Syrian Kurdish fighters battling the militants.”

More Secret Service headlines from the Washington Post: "As nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military were punished or fired following a 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, Obama administration officials repeatedly denied that anyone from the White House was involved. But new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member — yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged."

White House aides are shooting back that the story had already been reported and was acknowledged in a 2013 DHS report.

OFF TO THE RACES: Turned off from the midterms

One of us(!) writes: “A new survey from the Pew Research Center shows that Americans just aren’t particularly interested in the midterms, with only 15 percent saying they’re following election news “very closely,” and nearly one-in-four saying they’re not paying attention at all. Compare that to 36 percent who are paying close attention to the Ebola story, 31 percent concerned about the ISIS strikes, and 21 percent closely following the mistakes of the Secret Service.”

ALASKA: The New York Times writes about how economic anxiety - especially over energy - is influencing the state's Senate race.

A new CNN/ORC International poll shows Mark Begich trailing Dan Sullivan by six points.

ARIZONA: Gabby Giffords appears in a new ad for Ron Barber, speaking straight to camera and calling Barber "independent" and "courageous."

COLORADO: A FOX News poll puts Gardner up on Udall 43% to 37%.

FLORIDA: A new pro-Cuba travel ad in Miami is highlighting a policy difference between congressional candidates Rep. Joe Garcia and Carlos Curbelo.

GEORGIA: The Hill writes that Democrats have "new hope" in the Georgia Senate race after revelations that he said he "spent most of my career" focusing on outsourcing.

IOWA: POLITICO writes that Joni Ernst missed nearly 40 percent of votes in the Iowa state Senate in 2014.

KANSAS: CNN/ORC finds Pat Roberts at 49% to Greg Orman's 48%.

KENTUCKY: A FOX News poll finds McConnell up over Grimes 45% to 41%.

LOUISIANA: Mary Landrieu is shaking up her campaign staff with just weeks to go until the election.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Scott Brown is responding to attacks from Jeanne Shaheen on his record on women's rights, looking straight to camera in a new ad and saying "I'm pro-choice."

Scott Brown’s daughter, Ayla, pens this op-ed: “Jeanne Shaheen should be ashamed of herself. The attack ad she’s running against my dad, Scott Brown, is flat-out wrong, and is a desperate attempt to scare women. As a young voter, I find Shaheen’s smear campaign highly offensive. It’s clearly a last-ditch attempt to distract the people of New Hampshire from her record of voting 99 percent of the time with President Obama.”

A New England College poll has Shaheen leading Brown, 48.5 to 45.9 percent, while a WMUR Granite State poll shows Shaheen up 47 percent to 41 percent.

NORTH CAROLINA: A new USA Today/Suffolk poll shows Hagan at 47 percent and Tillis at 45 percent.

From the New York Times: " The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a brief, unsigned order reinstating provisions of a North Carolina voting law that bar same-day registration and counting votes cast in the wrong precinct. A federal appeals court had blocked the provisions, saying they disproportionately harmed black voters."

SOUTH DAKOTA: From one of us(!): "The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going to spend $1 million for advertising and ground game operations in South Dakota's Senate contest, NBC News confirms. ... The South Dakota Senate seat is currently held by retiring Sen. Tim Johnson (D), and Democrats winning the seat -- or convincing a victorious Pressler to caucus with them (he endorsed Barack Obama in 2012) -- would mean Republicans would have to win AN ADDITIONAL seat to win control of the Senate."

From the Argus Leader: "That's a lot of money for South Dakota, where Rounds had $1.1 million in the bank for the final month and has spent less than $800,000 on television ads all year.”


*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews NYU Medical Ethicist Dr. Art Caplan and Infectious Disease specialist Dr. Frank Esper from UH Case Medical Center on the Ebola crisis; St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, Valerie Schremp Hahn on the new police involved shooting in St. Louis & the Ferguson vigil Thursday night; and our exclusive series, Born in the U$A: with Lisa Roth, creator of “Rockabye Baby.”

*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, SIM USA Pres. Bruce Johnson, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus and NBC’s Stephanie Gosk, Richard Engel and Luke Russert.