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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Lunch date

The president meets today with congressional leaders for lunch today at 12:40pm ET.

House Speaker John Boehner warned yesterday that Obama would “poison the well” if he pursues executive action on immigration reform. And he pledged that the House will vote AGAIN to repeal Obamacare, although he acknowledged that repeal legislation might not pass the Senate.

The Wall Street Journal reviews the last two years of the Obama-Boehner negotiations over immigration . “The White House isn’t ruling out an immigration deal with Congress before the next president takes office in 2017, and one remains possible. But in the eyes of many of those involved in the talks, the Obama-Boehner discussions were the last, best chance to reach an agreement.”

The New York Times editorial board is pretty unequivocal on immigration action: “Now the election is over, and the only thing to say to the president is: Do it. Take executive action. Make it big.”

“Three days after voters registered their sourness about the U.S. economy, the government said Friday that employers added a solid 214,000 jobs in October, extending the healthiest pace of hiring in eight years,” reports the Associated Press. “The Labor Department also said 31,000 more jobs were added in August and September than it had previously estimated. Employers have now added at least 200,000 jobs for nine straight months, the longest such stretch since 1995.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is making the case to keep her job, telling members that “I know where the money is,” reports Roll Call.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday: “President Barack Obama secretly wrote to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the middle of last month and described a shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to people briefed on the correspondence. The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.”

OFF TO THE RACES : An exit ramp for Paul Ryan?

The New York Times reports on a “new urgency” for Clinton’s 2016 efforts: “A number of advisers saw only upside for Mrs. Clinton in the party’s midterm defeats. Before then, opinions had been mixed about when she should form an exploratory committee, the first step toward declaring a presidential candidacy, with some urging her to delay it until late spring. But over the past few days, a consensus formed among those close to Mrs. Clinton that it is time to accelerate her schedule: She faces pressure to resurrect the Democratic Party, and she is already being scrutinized as the party’s presumptive nominee, so advisers see little reason to delay. No action will be taken before the Dec. 6 runoff in Louisiana between Senator Mary L. Landrieu, a Democrat and a Clinton friend, and her Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, putting the likely date for the establishing an exploratory committee in early next year, said several Clinton advisers who insisted on anonymity in discussing private conversations.”

Is Paul Ryan done? The National Journal reports that allies and family members of Paul Ryan say the former vice presidential nominee doesn’t want to run for president – and, in fact, wants to leave politics after a stint as the House Ways and Means Chairman – but that he’s not closing the door until he sees the field develop. “The only way Ryan runs for president, his family members and political allies say, is if he sees a fatally flawed Republican roster and caves to what will by then be a full-scale draft campaign,” writes Tim Alberta. But asked about who’s out there who would really excite him as a presidential candidate, Ryan cited only Mitt Romney and Mitch Daniels.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Tom Steyer won just three out of the seven races he played in.

ALASKA: The latest from the Alaska Dispatch News: “If voting trends hold true in Alaska’s 40 districts, gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker will keep his lead after nearly 24,000 absentee and early votes are counted starting Tuesday, according to an analysis of voting trends and districts. But that’s just part of the picture. There are likely gobs more votes to be counted beyond those, some of which have not yet arrived at the state Division of Elections. On top of that, a political science professor with the University of Alaska Anchorage suggests the trends that favored Walker may not hold because an extra-large number of the uncounted ballots are from Republican voters.”

COLORADO: The governor’s race has been called, but there’s still some suspense in Colorado, notes the Denver Post. “Control of the Colorado Senate has come down to one seat in Adams County, where the Republican was holding a lead of fewer than 900 votes in a county that usually leans Democratic but this election favored Republicans.”

IOWA: NBC News confirms that a spokeswoman for Joni Ernst resigned from the campaign on October 31 after she was arrested for driving under the influence on October 29. A source with knowledge of the situation said the campaign asked Hamel for her resignation after learning of the incident, reports NBC’s Kasie Hunt.

KENTUCKY: In his wide-ranging interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, Mitch McConnell said he wants one of his top priorities to be “reining in the EPA.” And he said he’s “for” Rand Paul – including, it appears, for a presidential run. “I don't think he's made a final decision on that. But he'll be able to count on me,” he said.

And here’s McConnell on his popularity, or oft-cited lack thereof: “I also think it's noteworthy I've been elected leader of my party four times without opposition and the fifth time will happen a week from today. That's pretty hard to accomplish if you're also unpopular, wouldn't you think?"

NEW HAMPSHIRE: reports on how –although Tuesday was a rough night for Democrats nationwide – it was a mixed bag in New Hampshire.

LOUISIANA: National Democrats are bailing on Mary Landrieu, per the AP: “Senate Democrats' campaign committee on Thursday began canceling plans for television ads in Louisiana's major markets to help Sen. Mary Landrieu's runoff campaign against Republican Bill Cassidy, making her re-election bid an even steeper challenge. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee initially had reserved $1.8 million in television advertising for after Tuesday's first round of voting. On Thursday, the DSCC dumped the bookings in the state's big cities.”

Bill Cassidy has agreed to a debate with Landrieu on December 1, writes the Baton Rouge Advocate.

TEXAS:The Texas Tribune’s Jay Root looks at the turnout machine that fueled Greg Abbott’s big win, costing more than $5 million in paid field operations.

Gov. Rick Perry was defiant Thursday after his first appearance in court over alleged abuse of power, telling reporters “I would make that veto again,” reports the Austin American-Statesman.


*** Friday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Kristen Welker anchors from DC and interviews NBC’s Jim Maceda, Chuck Todd, Jim Miklaszewski, Pete Williams, CNBC’s Hampton Pearson, Jane Wells, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), WaPo’s Paul Kane and Politico’s Manu Raju.

*** Friday’s NewsNation with Tamron Hall: CNBC’s Jane Wells is live at Kennedy Space Center reporting on the upcoming test flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft which is set to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before, and Ozzy Osbourne’s son Jack talks about his new campaign “You Don’t Know Jack about MS” and his life with multiple sclerosis.

*** Friday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports: Andrea will interview Rep. Steve Israel, Rep. Elijah Cummings, NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, Kristen Welker, Pete Williams and Bill Neely, Bloomberg Deputy Managing Editor Jeanne Cummings, the Wall Street Journal’s Carol Lee, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ali Rezaian, brother of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who is detained in Iran.