IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Drone lands inside White House grounds

This morning's alert: "A drone landed inside the White House grounds early Monday, a federal law enforcement official told NBC News. The official gave no further details about the unmanned aerial vehicle, other than to say it landed in a tree at 3 a.m. ET. The Secret Service responded and determined the drone did not pose a threat, the official said."

From the AP in New Delhi: "President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared an era of ‘new trust’ in the often fraught relationship between their nations as the U.S. leader opened a three-day visit to New Delhi. Standing side by side at the stately Hyderabad House, Obama and Modi cited progress toward putting in place a landmark civil nuclear agreement, as well as advances on climate change and defense ties. But from the start, the day was more about putting their personal bond on display. Modi broke with protocol and wrapped Obama in an enthusiastic hug after Obama got off Air Force One."

Analysis from the Wall Street Journal: "U.S. President Barack Obama joined Indian leaders on the reviewing stand at a military parade here Monday in a display of strengthened ties between the world’s largest democracies as an increasingly assertive China shifts Asia’s power balance."

Eye on the environment -- in Alaska. "The Obama administration is moving this week to designate areas of Alaska off limits to oil and natural gas drilling in its latest effort to bolster its environmental legacy," writes the Wall Street Journal. "The Interior Department announced on Sunday that it was proposing to preserve as wilderness nearly 13 million acres of land in the 19.8 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including 1.5 million acres of coastal plains that is believed to have rich oil and natural gas resources."

Eurozone Watch, from the AP: “A radical left-wing party vowing to end Greece's painful austerity program won a historic victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections, setting up a showdown with the country's international creditors that could shake the eurozone. Alexis Tsipras, leader of the communist-rooted Syriza party, immediately promised to end the "five years of humiliation and pain" that Greece has endured since an international bailout saved it from bankruptcy in 2010.”

CONGRESS: Surgery day for Reid

Roll Call reminds us: Harry Reid's eye surgery is today.

OFF TO THE RACES: Wrapping up the cattle calls in Iowa, California

A couple of takes from NBC's Perry Bacon Jr. in Iowa here and here

The Wall Street Journal reports from Iowa: "Signs emerged here this weekend that the 2016 Republican presidential field is dividing into two camps: candidates focused on grass-roots support, and others who will rely on big-donor funding."

At the Koch forum Sunday night, foreign policy was the major divider. From the Hill: "During the 90-minute debate-style panel, moderated by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, there was little difference between the trio on fiscal issues. But on questions of international relations, the senators’ disagreements were stark and often heated — underscoring the foreign policy experience the lawmakers, as opposed to the party’s governors, would bring to the 2016 conversation. "

CHRISTIE: NBC's Kelly O'Donnell: "Sources tell NBC News that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has taken a critical step on the path to a potential presidential run. Christie filed paperwork late Friday with the FEC to form the "Leadership Matters for America" political action committee. Christie is staffing up and plans several political trips in February. Christie aides say the Governor has not made a final decision about a White House run at this time."

The New York Times listens in to Christie's call-in radio show, concluding: "What the people of New Jersey receive in return is the unfiltered id of their governor, Chris Christie: over-sharing, thin-skinned, openhearted and needy. It is the quality, repellent or endearing, that his supporters say is missing from the buttoned-up rivals now crowding the Republican presidential field, whose demeanor they quietly dismiss as too stilted (Mitt Romney) or too cerebral (Jeb Bush)."

CLINTON: Writes POLITICO: “Hillary Clinton is in the final stages of planning a presidential campaign that is likely to launch in early April, and has made decisions on most top posts, according to numerous Democrats in close contact with the Clintons and their aides.”

PALIN: The day after suggesting (sort of) that she just might be interested in a 2016 run, Sarah Palin apparently didn’t seem to do herself any favors with her speech in Iowa.

Here’s Byron York on the speech: “Yes, Palin is still a draw. Yes, conservatives still empathize with her over the beating she took from the media in 2008. But if there is indeed nothing behind her ‘seriously interested’ talk — and it appears there is not — should she be included in events leading up to the 2016 caucuses? A lot of GOP activists may come to agree with one of those well-connected Iowa Republicans quoted above, who remarked, ‘The sooner these forums in Iowa focus on those actually running, the better.’”

PAUL: The Washington Post delves into Rand Paul's dad problem: "Rand, 52, is contemplating a presidential run — at its heart, an act of optimism. He is moderating some hard-line positions and introducing himself to donors and voters. At the same time, Ron, 79, has embraced a role as libertarianism’s prophet of doom, telling his supporters that the United States is headed for catastrophes — and might actually need catastrophes to get on the right track."

ROMNEY: The New York Times, on how Romney's faith is influencing his possible 2016 run: "[A]s Mr. Romney mulls a new run for the White House, friends and allies said, his abiding Mormon faith is inextricably tied to his sense of service and patriotism, and a facet of his life that he is determined to embrace more openly in a possible third campaign."

SANTORUM: The Des Moines Register follows Rick Santorum after the cattle call - to Sioux City, where he talked about his anti-abortion stance. But that won't be the focus of a 2016 campaign, he said. "It's not that I'll never talk about these issues," Santorum told The Des Moines Register. "But I think it's going to be clear what the focal point of the campaign is going to be: laying out what people don't know about Rick Santorum."

And around the country...

CALIFORNIA: Via the Sacramento Bee: "Brown, employee unions set to tangle over health insurance"

NEW YORK: Longtime speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver is relinquishing his duties for now as he faces federal corruption charges.

NORTH CAROLINA: Renee Ellmers may have her first primary challenger, Roll Call reports.


*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall will have all the latest on the coming Blizzard set to hit the Eastern seaboard this afternoon, she also speaks with Editor of the Nation Dave Zirin about the latest on “Deflate Gate”, AP Chief Africa Correspondent Michelle Faul about John Kerry’s visit to Nigeria and another attack by extremist group Boko Haram, and one member of the hit group TLC: Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas talks the group funding their new album through the website Kick Starter.