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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Ferguson Day at the White House

Obama meets today with young civil rights leaders and law enforcement officials from around the country in the wake of continuing protests over the Ferguson controversy, writes NBC News.

Via the Washington Post: “A year after the Obama administration temporarily shelved an unfinished part of intended for small businesses, it has opened with reports of only modest technical flaws — but with doubts that it will soon benefit the millions of workers at little companies with inadequate health insurance or none at all.”

The Supreme Court will hear a case this week involving a UPS employee who was placed on unpaid leave after becoming pregnant, writes the New York Times.

The Court will also look at the issue of free speech versus threats made on Facebook.

Speaking of the Supreme Court: The Los Angeles Times writes that Obama could lose the benefit of the doubt from Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Washington Post examines Obama’s 2012 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) action. “The 2012 initiative has given temporary protection to slightly more than 700,000 people brought to the United States illegally as children. They say that program has helped them emerge from the shadows, making possible a work permit, a Social Security number and enhanced self-respect.

But hundreds of thousands who advocacy groups say are eligible have not applied under the program.”

Also from the Post: “More than 20 mayors from around the country have formed a coalition to support and help implement President Obama's executive action on immigration. Members of Cities United for Immigration Action said they will work to put the executive action Obama announced last month into effect on the local level, push for congressional action on immigration reform and rally grassroots support.”

"U.S. and Turkish officials have narrowed their differences over a joint military mission in Syria that would give the U.S. and its coalition partners permission to use Turkish air bases to launch strike operations against Islamic State targets across northern Syria, according to officials in both countries," writes the Wall Street Journal.

The life of Washington D.C. "Mayor for Life" Marion Barry will be memorialized this week over the course of three days.

From Reuters: "Interviews with Fed officials and those familiar with its thinking show the mood inside is more somber than the central bank's reassuring statements and evidence of robust economic health would suggest. The reason is the central bank's failure to nudge price growth up to its 2 percent target and, more importantly, signs that investors and consumers are losing faith it can get there any time soon."

A congressional aide has apologized for criticizing President Barack Obama's daughters in a Facebook post.

CONGRESS: Boehner tries to avoid a shutdown -- but will he persuade his rank and file?

From the New York Times today: "John A. Boehner does not want to be remembered as the Shutdown Speaker." MORE: "As Congress returns from recess on Monday facing a Dec. 11 deadline for funding the government, Mr. Boehner and his fellow Republican leaders are working to persuade the rank and file — furious over President Obama’s executive action on immigration — that engaging in a spending confrontation is the wrong way to counter the White House. That would set the wrong tone, they argue, as Republicans prepare to take over Congress and fulfill promises to govern responsibly."

Politico on the lame-duck session of Congress: “Government funding is suddenly in peril, as conservatives fume over President Barack Obama’s decision to end the deportation threat for millions of undocumented immigrants. Republicans and Democrats and the White House are locked in battle over extending lapsed tax provisions popular with corporate America. Congress had already punted a few issues into the new year, such as a broader debate about the president’s war powers and voting on important executive-branch nominees.”

From the AP: "The No Child Left Behind education law could be making a political comeback. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who is the incoming chairman of the Senate committee overseeing education, says his top education priority is fixing the landmark Bush-era law. His goal? Get a bill signed by President Barack Obama early next year."

NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell writes on whether Congress could ruin the holidays with a federal shutdown.

What would immigration reform-minded Republicans do to advance their agenda without alienating the base? The Hill: "GOP immigration reformers are calling for more focused reforms, rather than one big package. Proposals to expand visas for high-tech workers, streamline a guest-worker program for the nation’s farms, establish a mandatory E-verify system for businesses and create an exit-visa registry to rein in overstays could all pass both chambers with bipartisan support, the GOP reform advocates said."

OFF TO THE RACES: Immigration scramble

NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell writes that the issue of immigration reform is scrambling the GOP primary stakes.

The Wall Street Journal looks at the long-shot Republicans nudging their own names onto the potential list of those seeking 2016 bids.

ARIZONA: The Arizona Republic: "Despite Arizona's progress in lowering the number of provisional ballots cast in the recent general election, results in several legislative and congressional races were again delayed because voters continue to drop off their early ballots at the polls. The number of early ballots left to count after this year's Election Day dropped 38 percent compared with 2012. Experts and election officials attributed the decline to this year's decreased turnout."

LOUISIANA: From the Times-Picayune: "The number of people who cast their ballots early in Louisiana dropped off from the Nov. 4 primary election to the Dec. 6 runoff election in every statewide category except one: registered Republican voters. About 85,900 registered Republicans took advantage of early voting for the Dec. 6 runoff, which was held during the week leading up Thanksgiving, as well as Saturday. That's almost 3,000 more than the number of people who voted early for the Nov. 4 election, and it amounts to a 4 percent bump in early voting overall from a month ago."

Hillary Clinton will hold a fundraiser today for Mary Landrieu in New York City.


*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews USA Today’s Yamiche Alcindor who just returned from Ferguson, ESPN’s Jemele Hill who sat down with Janay Rice, and Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women on the NFL reinstating Ray Rice.

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews former NFL player Ben Utecht, Sirius XM’s Evan Cohen, Harvard Law Professor Glenn Cohen, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Wesley Lowery, USA Today’s Susan Page, NBC’s Pete Williams and Actress Alfre Woodard.