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First Read's Morning Clips

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


From the AP: "Obama arrived in Myanmar's capital of Naypyitaw on Wednesday amid persistent questions about whether the government would follow through on its pledges — and whether the U.S. had made too many overtures to the long-isolated country too soon. Myanmar won wide sanctions relief from Obama after its sudden and unexpected shift from a half-century of military rule, but there's little certainty about the country's future."

"President Obama’s landmark agreement with China to cut greenhouse gas pollution is a bet by the president and Democrats that on the issue of climate change, American voters are far ahead of Washington’s warring factions and that the environment will be a winning cause in the 2016 presidential campaign," writes the New York Times.

And/but, from the Wall Street Journal: "President Barack Obama ’s plan to curb greenhouse-gas emissions alongside China sets the stage for lengthy confrontations with other nations resistant to making cuts, Republicans who want to roll back regulations and environmentalists pushing for bigger reductions."

POLITICO looks at some of the drama behind the climate deal.

The New York Times reports on how military cuts are forcing officers out of jobs, often receiving smaller pensions than they planned.

Understanding the Kurdish forces defending Kobani, via the Wall Street Journal: "One of the many political complications facing the U.S. in the arrangement is that these Kurdish fighters—an offshoot of a group designated by the U.S. and Turkey as a terror organization—want to keep control of the territory they have seized to create their own vision of a utopian society."

From the Washington Post: “The Republican Party’s ardent campaign against President Obama’s health-care law gained new momentum Wednesday as lawmakers reacted angrily to assertions by an architect of the policy that it was crafted in a deliberately deceptive way in order to pass Congress.”

Health care competition is pulling down the value of federal tax credits, writes the Wall Street Journal. "In a twist, an influx of lower-priced health plans on could lead many Americans to pay more for coverage next year thanks to smaller insurance tax credits."

CONGRESS: Jockeying over Keystone

From NBC's Frank Thorp and one of us(!): The Louisiana Senate race is fueling a series of votes on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Our Capitol Hill team also reports on what to expect from the leadership elections that start today.

Roll Call compares this week to freshmen orientation for college students.

Freshman senator Gary Peters could be a crossover vote for Republicans on tweaks to Obamacare, writes Roll Call.

Bloomberg: "Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren met with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid ahead of today’s leadership elections to discuss a potential role for her in 2015, said a party aide."

OFF TO THE RACES: What happens to Huckabee’s TV contract?

2016 is already starting – in House races. NRCC head Greg Walden tells Roll Call about his top targets to watch next cycle.

FOX is looking at its deal with Mike Huckabee amid buzz about a presidential run, the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning on the power of demographics: How Obama’s 0.9-point win in Florida in 2012 could be a 3.4-point win in 2016.

ALASKA: The Senate race has been called for Dan Sullivan, but Mark Begich isn't conceding, saying that ballots in Democratic areas have been undercounted so far.

The Alaska Dispatch News: "While carefully avoiding a victory declaration, leading gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker announced the co-chairs of his transition team Wednesday afternoon -- former two-time Alaska Senate President Rick Halford and Bethel Native leader Ana Hoffman."

ARIZONA: The McSally-Barber race is headed to a recount.

That strange story involving the son of Sen. Jeff Flake and the deaths of dozens of dogs hits the New York Times.

CALIFORNIA: Looks like incumbent Democrat Julia Brownley hung onto her seat in the tight race against Jeff Gorrell.

Via the Sac Bee: “Freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera has captured the lead over Republican Doug Ose in the expensive and closely watched race for suburban Sacramento’s 7th Congressional District.”

IOWA: Bloomberg speculates that Joni Ernst may not endorse anyone in the 2016 caucuses.

KANSAS: The Kansas City Star does a deep dive into the governors' results, looking at Brownback's success in Johnson County.

LOUISIANA: The (below the fold) headline in the Times-Picayune, on Keystone: "Pair of pipeline votes aim to influence Senate runoff."

And in the Baton Rouge Advocate: "Cassidy promised spot on committee"

NEW YORK: Democrat Louise Slaughter is the winner in her re-election bid against Republican Mark Assini.

TEXAS: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root gets his hands on some internal campaign memos showing dysfunction within the Wendy Davis campaign.


*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Democratic Whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Politico’s Roger Simon on the Congressional leadership voting, The Science Guy Bill Nye on the historic comet landing, White House advisor Valerie Jarrett on a new PSA to raise awareness on campus regarding sexual assaults, and Al Roker on “Rokerthon”-his quest for the Guinness world record for the longest continuous live weather report.

*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews comedian and film director Jon Stewart, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Karen Tumulty, MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee and NBC’s Richard Engel, Luke Russert, Kasie Hunt, Katy Tur and Kristen Welker.