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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Drop it like it’s hot

Under pressure from some fellow Democrats, Obama is dropping a controversial proposal to tax 529 college savings plans, NBC News reports.

Reuters reports that federal budget cuts have been felt the most acutely in red states.

From the Wall Street Journal: "Janet Yellen ’s job is about to get harder after a relatively easy first year as Federal Reserve chairwoman. She and her Fed colleagues on Wednesday are likely to repeat after a two-day policy meeting that they ‘can be patient’ in deciding when to start raising short-term interest rates later this year—meaning no rate increases at their next gatherings in March or April. But in the weeks ahead, she’ll face the challenge of forging consensus on whether to formally open the door to rates increases in June."

The AP wraps Obama's stop in Saudi Arabia: "Obama's presence here underscored the key role Saudi Arabia plays in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and highlighted Washington's willingness to put national security priorities ahead of concerns about human rights issues. Hours before arriving in Riyadh, Obama spoke at length about the importance of women's rights during an address in India, setting up a jarring contrast with his warm embrace of Saudi Arabia, a country where there are strict limits on women's freedom."

Breaking overnight, from the BBC: "Four Israeli soldiers have been injured in an attack on an army patrol near the border with Lebanon, the Israeli military says. A military vehicle was hit by an anti-tank missile in the disputed Shebaa Farms area. Hezbollah said it carried out the attack. The Israeli army responded by firing shells into southern Lebanon."

Lots of people had lots of things to say about Michelle Obama's decision not to wear a headscarf in Saudi Arabia: for example, here, here and here.

CONGRESS: Lynch appears before Senate Judiciary Committee

Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch faces the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and she'll try to differentiate herself from Eric Holder, writes the New York Times.

NBC’s Alex Moe reports that House Speaker John Boehner is mulling another lawsuit against Obama on immigration executive action.

OFF TO THE RACES: Scott Walker ramps up

Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina will speak at the February conference of Lincoln Labs, a conservative and libertarian technology group.

CLINTON: Hillary Clinton will testify before the House committee investigating Benghazi, Rep. Elijah Cummings told CNN.

HUCKABEE: Mike Huckabee is not happy about "trashy" women cursing in professional settings in New York.

The Washington Post's take on Huckabee in Iowa: "When former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee walked into Walnut Creek Church here on Sunday night, fresh off his gleaming navy-blue bus, he was greeted by the crowd of suburban evangelicals as a visiting celebrity rather than a 2016 presidential candidate."

PALIN: Kathleen Parker writes that Palin was used and then tossed aside by her party.

PERRY: "A judge refused to dismiss a case against former Texas Governor Rick Perry Tuesday, which means that a case over abuse of power will move forward against the potential presidential candidate."

The Texas Tribune delves into what might be some legal silver linings for Team Perry.

ROMNEY: The Boston Globe looks at the pricey real estate Romney built after his 2012 loss.

The New York Times looks at how Romney can't get no love from Rupert Murdoch, who's voicing surprising early support for Jeb Bush.

RUBIO: An informal straw poll of donors at the Koch summit puts Marco Rubio at the top.

WALKER: He's started a 527 organization as he ramps up for a possible presidential bid.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Calling his plan a "common-sense, fiscally conservative approach," Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday said new growth in income tax revenue from Milwaukee Bucks players, employees and visiting teams will generate enough money to cover debt payments on $220 million in state-issued bonds for a new arena." MORE: "In a statement, David Fladeboe, director of Americans for Prosperity's Wisconsin chapter, said the group feels Walker's plan "would put the state and taxpayers on the hook for future obligations. Funding for sports arenas should not be the responsibility of the state and the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin.'"

And around the country...

INDIANA: "Indiana on Tuesday announced plans to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act after securing concessions from the Obama administration that could pave the way for other Republican-led states to widen health coverage for low-income residents."

KENTUCKY: Matt Bevin is back, and he's running for governor.

NEW YORK: Sheldon Silver will be replaced as speaker of the New York State Assembly next week as he faces federal corruption charges.


*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Rep. Joaquin Castro, Nantucket Police Chief William Pittman, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes, NBC’s Pete Williams and Ayman Mohyeldin and MSNBC’s Chris Pollone.