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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Pushing ahead

The New York Times writes on how the president - despite midterm losses and dismal approval ratings - is pushing ahead with legacy-building initiatives. "While losing Congress was a grievous blow that will further challenge his capacity to govern, advisers said that he feels liberated. He can now pursue his long-term agenda, they said, without being tethered to the short-term electoral concerns of his party’s leadership in Congress."

The AP, from Myanmar: "President Barack Obama mounted a warm show of support Friday for Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, voicing opposition to a constitutional rule that's keeping the pro-democracy icon off next year's ballot. While crediting Myanmar for progress in its transition to democracy, he offered a blunt assessment of the distressing shortcomings that have called that transition into question."

Obama reiterated Friday that he will act on immigration by year's end. And here are the details leaked by the New York Times Thursday afternoon: "Asserting his authority as president to enforce the nation’s laws with discretion, Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away."

Republicans are split on how to respond to the immigration move, writes the Washington Post.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is set to announce major changes in the nation's nuclear arsenal system, the Associated Press reports.

An internal review of the White House fence jumper incident is, well, not good. From the Washington Post: "There were nearly a dozen failures in the Secret Service’s rings of security that helped Omar Jose Gonzalez, 42, get inside the White House and deep into the East Room, according to a Department of Homeland Security review, a summary of which was obtained Thursday by The Washington Post."

CONGRESS: Can moderates flex their muscles?

The NBC News Hill team has all the leadership developments from yesterday's elections: here, here and here.

NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell looks at whether the Senate's moderates will be able to flex their political muscles in the new power structure on the Hill.

Here's the Washington Post on Harry Reid's survival despite big Senate losses: "Quelling a small but vocal rebellion, Reid (D-Nev.) won reelection to another term atop the caucus, now as minority leader after eight years in the majority. But his victory came only after a 31 / 2-hour meeting that became a forum for political grievances and a rollout of an expanded leadership team meant to balance the caucus’s ideological and regional diversity."

John Boehner could expand the (as-yet stalled) federal lawsuit against Obama to include the immigration issue, writes the Washington Post.

OFF TO THE RACES: And they’re off…

NBC's Perry Bacon Jr. writes on how - without any formal announcements - at least five Republicans are already running for the White House.

Rob Portman, to CNN: "I probably have more experience than other people who are running or thinking about running."

Ron Brownstein's history lesson looking ahead to 2016: "President Obama has weakened his party’s position in Congress—but not uniquely so. Since World War II, with just one exception, every time a party has held the White House for two presidential terms, it has lost congressional seats over that period—and then surrendered the White House in the election to replace the outgoing president. How Obama handles his final two years may decide whether Democrats repeat that pattern in 2016."

That one exception: Reagan to HW Bush in 1988….

CALIFORNIA: The latest in the Bera-Ose contest: "In Sacramento’s Bera-Ose race, the counting continues. And as tensions mount, the candidates aren’t saying much. Bera, in a statement, said he remains optimistic he’ll retain his lead. Ose, who traveled to Washington this week, declined interview requests.

IOWA: "An Urbandale police officer told a former spokeswoman for U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst that he would not arrest her if she told the truth about whether she had been driving drunk, video of the incident shows," writes the Des Moines Register.

LOUISIANA: Times-Picayune headline: "White House says Keystone bill probably won't get President Obama's OK"

NEW HAMPSHIRE: What makes New Hampshire-1 voters so darn fickle, asks the Boston Globe. "Unlike districts elsewhere that skew Republican or Democratic, the First District has become one of the most competitive in the country and, as a result, a bellwether for the national mood."

Kelly Ayotte is raising eyebrows by playing in the New Hampshire House Speaker's race, writes John DiStaso. "Republican activists told the New Hampshire Journal that the move by Ayotte, while not without political risk, allows her to “insulate herself” from a potential return of controversy to the House under O’Brien as she moves toward a potentially tough reelection bid in 2016, possibly against Gov. Maggie Hassan – and possibly with Hillary Clinton topping the Democratic ticket."


*** Friday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Luke Russert anchors from DC and interviews NBC’s Kristen Welker, Gabe Gutierrez, Bill Karins, Richard Engel, msnbc’s Jose Diaz-Balart and Alex Seitz-Wald, WaPo’s Robert Costa and Ruth Marcus , Politico’s Manu Raju and Fmr. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA).

*** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) on the Keystone vote, Criminal Defense Attorney John Burris on the Ferguson grand jury; and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on his domestic violence initiative.

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Rep. Mike Rogers, Rep. James Clyburn, NBC’s Chuck Todd, Richard Engel and Luke Russert, the Atlantic’s Molly Ball, USA Today’s Alan Gomez and Voto Latino Pres. and CEO Maria Teresa Kumar.