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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: “Contrary to who were are, contrary to our values”

The president told MSNBC's Jose Diaz Balart Tuesday that the CIA interrogation practices outlined in yesterday's report were "contrary to who we are, contrary to our values."

The report found that "the harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the years after Sept. 11, 2011, were essentially useless and far more brutal than the spy agency told Congress and the public," writes

And, notes the AP, it concludes that harsh interrogation tactics did not lead to the death of Osama bin Laden.

The New York Times calls the political debate over the torture report "a fight over history, with profound consequences for America’s image and personal implications for former C.I.A. officials in particular."

"The Senate report is a substantial blow to the CIA’s reputation, one that raises fundamental questions about the extent to which the agency can be trusted. And yet, as in those previous instances of political and public outrage, the agency is expected to emerge from the investigatory rubble with its role and power in Washington largely intact," writes the Washington Post.

Former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, joined by three former deputy directors, push back in the Wall Street Journal: "The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation of terrorists, prepared only by the Democratic majority staff, is a missed opportunity to deliver a serious and balanced study of an important public policy question. The committee has given us instead a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation—essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks."

Tom Friedman writes in the Times: "This act of self-examination is not only what keeps our society as a whole healthy, it’s what keeps us a model that others want to emulate, partner with and immigrate to — which is a different, but vital, source of our security as well."

Also yesterday: NBC's Perry Bacon Jr. reports on how MIT professor Jonathan Gruber backtracked from his "glib" remarks about Obamacare during a congressional hearing. But the comments will continue to haunt Democrats.

From the Wall Street Journal: "The Keystone XL pipeline was touted as a model for energy independence and a source of jobs when TransCanada Corp. announced plans to build the 1,700-mile pipeline six years ago. But the crude-oil pipeline’s political and regulatory snarls since then have emboldened resistance to at least 10 other pipeline projects across North America. Using Keystone XL as a template, national environmental groups are joining with local activists in a strategy aimed at prolonging government reviews of proposed pipeline routes and their environmental impact."

CONGRESS: Riders on the Storm

Here's the latest from our Hill team on Congress's legislation to avert a government shutdown -- and the extra steps lawmakers may have to take to push the funding deadline back.

Notes the New York Times: "The rush Tuesday to post the legislation underscored the 113th Congress’s dubious record as one of the least productive in modern history — governing by deadlines and cliffs of its own making, and struggling to pass even some of the most pro forma pieces of legislation."

Complicating the "Cromnibus" -- Congress would block the District of Columbia from implementing this fall's vote to legalize recreational marijuana.

And there's more: "The $1.1 trillion spending deal reached by House and Senate lawmakers Tuesday evening would significantly expand the size of contributions individuals can make to national party committees, a move that swiftly drew fire from campaign-finance watchdogs," writes the Wall Street Journal. "The bill, if passed, would ultimately allow donors to contribute $324,000 to a national party a year—10 times the current limit. In 2014, individuals seeking to donate to a national party were permitted to give up to $32,400 a year directly to the party."

More, from the Washington Post: “It was not immediately clear who authored the provision. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) had been pushing earlier in negotiations to roll back limits on how much parties could spend in coordination with their candidates. That measure was not included in the final deal, and McConnell aides said he had not pushed for the expanded giving to separate party committees.”

Harry Reid, to POLITICO: “We never recovered from the Obamacare rollout. I’m not going to beat up on Obama. The rollout didn’t go well. We never recovered from that.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Perry preparing for 2016

Rick Perry spoke to the Washington Post's Phil Rucker as he prepares to leave the governor's mansion. "As Perry packs his belongings at the governor’s mansion after 14 years in office, he is undergoing exhaustive preparations to run again for president in 2016. He is striving to make a better second impression than his first one." Lots in here on who's advising him and what steps he's taking to overcome his stumbling first presidential campaign.

KANSAS: Roll Call writes that Tim Huelskamp could face a tough primary in 2016.

KENTUCKY: Alison Lundergan Grimes may be mulling a gubernatorial run, which could have big consequences for Democrats, writes Sam Youngman. "Attorney General Jack Conway, the only Democratic candidate for governor who has begun raising money, did a masterful job during the past year of consolidating Democratic support and locking up endorsements from key party figures and union allies. If Grimes wades into that race, it seems all but certain that her entry would mark the start of the next chapter in the Kentucky Democratic Party's rough-and-tumble history, dividing a party that is already in the midst of a soul-searching journey and reopening divisions that Democrats hoped had been healed by their collective disdain for Mitch McConnell, who is about to become U.S. Senate Majority Leader."

NEW HAMPSHIRE: John DiStaso writes that New Hampshire could be key to the effort to draft Elizabeth Warren into a 2016 bid.


*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Craig Melvin interviews Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Fmr CIA Counterterrorism analyst Aki Peritz, and Politico's Chief Political Columnist Roger Simon on the CIA torture report; Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams on the Garner protests and the New York attorney general proposal; Washington Post Editor of the Early Lead on the NFL/Goodell to announce new code of conduct ; and little brother 17 year old Isaac Barnes, of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America who was invited to participate in Monday’s Foster care event at the White House.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Fmr. Counsel for the U.S. Navy Alberto Mora, Human Rights Watch Deputy Washington Director Andrea Prasow, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, Eugene Robinson, Dana Priest and Ruth Marcus, Time’s Nancy Gibbs and NBC’s Luke Russert.