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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Here comes the new Defense Secretary pick

Ashton Carter is Obama’s pick for Defense Secretary, with a formal announcement coming Friday morning.

From the New York Times: “The federal civil rights investigation into the chokehold death of Eric Garner could present a new complication for Loretta E. Lynch’s nomination as attorney general, because she will be heading the inquiry as the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York even as she undergoes scrutiny in the new Republican-controlled Senate. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday that the Garner case would no doubt be raised, as would questions about Ms. Lynch’s view of the federal government’s asserting itself in recent cases in which white law enforcement officers have not faced state charges after being involved in the deaths of black Americans.”

The Washington Post wraps Eric Holder’s announcement in Cleveland: “Cleveland police tactics violated rights of citizens, Justice Department probe finds.”

The new jobs numbers: “Employers in the U.S. added 321,000 jobs in November, the most since January 2012, driving wage gains and highlighting increased corporate confidence the economy will endure a weakening in global markets,” writes Bloomberg.

And more economic data, from the AP: “The U.S. trade deficit fell slightly in October as exports rebounded while oil imports dipped to the lowest level in five years. The deficit edged down 0.4 percent to $43.4 billion, a drop from a revised $43.6 billion in September, the Commerce Department reported Friday.”

Rahm Emanuel lived up to his reputation for colorful profanity yesterday, answering a reporter who asked whether he missed the White House.

OFF TO THE RACES: Landrieu’s last stand

“New Jersey lawmakers probing politically motivated traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge last year have found no evidence that Gov. Chris Christie was involved in the scheme,” reports the AP. “Investigators found no conclusive evidence whether Christie was aware or not of the closures last year, but they say that two former Christie aides acted with "perceived impunity" and with little regard for public safety when they ordered the lanes closed, according to a 136-page interim report by a joint legislative panel that was obtained by news organizations Thursday night.”

LOUISIANA:From McClatchy: “The ailing Democratic Party, its stature as a national party teetering, appears poised to be staggered again Saturday if underdog Sen. Mary Landrieu loses her bid for re-election as expected in Louisiana. The likely win by Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in a runoff election would complete a near-sweep this year of Southern Senate seats and governorships, in 10 of the 11 states of the old Confederacy. The Democrats’ only victory was in Virginia, where Sen. Mark Warner barely survived a stunning surge by Republican Ed Gillespie.

The Times-Picyaune reports that conservative advocacy groups have been “unrelenting” in attacks against Landrieu. “Groups backing Landrieu have aired just 100 television ads on her behalf since the Nov. 4 primary. Conservative organizations, meanwhile, have run about 6,000 commercials for Cassidy, according to the The Center for Public Integrity. The election is Saturday.”


*** Friday’s “The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart” line-up: NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin, Council of Economic Advisers chairman Jason Furman, NBC’s Perry Bacon, United We Dream’s Director of Advocacy and Policy Lorella Praeli, Women Veteran Social Justice CEO BriGette McCoy, The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, MSNBC Contributor Steven Clemons, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, General Barry McCaffrey, MSNBC’s Krystal Ball, and MSNBC’s Abby Huntsman.

*** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams, President of GlobalGrind Michael Skolnik, and The Daily Beast’s Michael Daly on the fallout from the Grand Jury’s decision in the Eric Garner case, Cleveland City Councilman Jeffrey Johnson on the DOJ investigation into the Cleveland Police Department, and in today’s Born in the U$A: Jamie Perino, the owner/manager of Euflora in Colorado.

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Luke Russert fills in for Andrea and will interview Rep. Karen Bass, msnbc’s Steve Kornacki and Trymaine Lee, NBC’s Chuck Todd, Keir Simmons, Craig Melvin and Jim Miklaszewski, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and the Atlantic’s Molly Ball.