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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: A victory lap?

The Washington Post writes: "After years of fighting with Republicans over where to take the country, Obama delivered an hour-long defense of his policies that at times sounded like a victory lap. He asserted that the brightening economic picture — including accelerating job growth, more people with health insurance and lower gas prices — had proved that he was right, and his adversaries misguided, all along.

The Post also wrote that President Obama is committed to a liberal legacy.

In its headline, The New York Times uses the word defiant to describe President Obama. "Mr. Obama implied that the Republican economic agenda lacked an ambition equal to his own. At one point, he mocked the party’s unshakable determination to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels of petroleum per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast. “Let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline,” he chided."

Obama defends financial reform but avoids bashing Wall Street, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Fact check: Obama claims credit for an incomplete recovery says the AP.

Mic check: Obama's speech was largely free from political attacks, which are common during his speeches, but he couldn't resist, giving this unscripted line, NBC News' Andrew Rafferty reports.

The Times has this to say about that: "Watching an emboldened Mr. Obama, it would have been easy to forget that he was standing there just two months after the biggest electoral repudiation of his presidency."

Obama's tan suit stayed in the closet, but Twitter wished it didn't.

CONGRESS: “Loud and clear”

Freshman Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa gave the Republican response, telling voters Republicans heard voters' message "loud and clear" in November. "Instead of focusing on Obama, Ernst laid out a GOP agenda that will face stiff opposition in Congress, even with Republican control of both the House and Senate," NBC's Andrew Rafferty writes.

Republicans have one word for Obama's proposals and latest veto threats: No, The Times notes.

The Hill says "President Obama’s decision to pitch tax changes for individuals in his State of the Union address has only complicated the chances for tax reform. Now that Obama has floated raising capital gains taxes on the wealthy and expanding tax incentives for the middle class, Republicans insist those proposals show that the president isn’t serious about tax reform."

The Tea Party offered a different tone than one it usually expresses, Politico writes: "He talked about embracing diversity, welcoming immigrants and teamwork. At one point, he spoke in Spanish. Rep. Curt Clawson didn’t give a typical tea party speech," Politico wrote of the tea party response.

OFF TO THE RACES: 2016ers respond to Obama

Possible presidential candidates used the SOTU as a prime opportunity to respond to Obama and present their positions. NBC News' Perry Bacon Jr. details potential presidential candidates' responses to the speech and writes that President Obama's "plans are unlikely to get any traction in the GOP-led Congress but Obama provided an opening salvo in a coming debate over tax reform and domestic politics that will impact both his last two years in office and the 2016 campaign."

BIDEN: "I think I could do a good job" as president, Biden said on the TODAY Show.

CLINTON: Praised the president's speech in a tweet, NBC News notes: "#SOTU pointed way to an economy that works for all. Now we need to step up & deliver for the middle class. #FairShot #FairShare"

CRUZ: Had to start his personal You Tube response over. Here's what one of his spokespeople had to say about it:

PAUL: His video response was a whopping 12 minutes long!

ROMNEY: Mitt Romney's speaking fees at public universities are $50,000 - much lower than Clinton's, The Washington Post reports.

RUBIO: Criticized Obama over Cuba on NBC News.

Climate-Change skeptics (and potential presidential candidates) Cruz and Rubio now help oversee nation's climate science.

Potential Republican presidential candidates will grovel before the wealthy Koch brothers this weekend near Palm Springs, California.


*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Democratic Congressman from South Carolina and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, POLITICO’s Senior Washington Correspondent Anna Palmer, The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, Former Republican Governor of Oklahoma Frank Keating, and Presidential Historian and Professor with American University Dr. Allan Lichtman about President Obama’s second to last State of the Union address.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Peter Alexander fills in for Andrea, who is on assignment in Cuba. Peter will interview Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell and Luke Russert.