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First Read's Morning Clips

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OBAMA AGENDA: Battle to retake Mosul is coming

The U.S. is planning for a spring offensive to retake the city of Mosul, expected to require 20,000 Iraqi troops.

The New York Times reports on how ISIS uses shock value to further its cause

The AP: "Britain's electronic spying agency, in cooperation with the U.S. National Security Agency, hacked into the networks of a Dutch company to steal codes that allow both governments to seamlessly eavesdrop on mobile phones worldwide, according to the documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden."

Writes the Wall Street Journal: "The White House has a new tack for dealing with rising deficits: try to boost the workforce and its productivity in the hopes of muddling through the surge of retirees that will strain the social safety net for the next 20 years."

Chicago is back on track as the expected location for the Obama presidential library, POLITICO reports.

Reuters writes that Greece and the Euro zone are close to a deal on a financing package.

OFF TO THE RACES: Giuliani: “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”

More on the Giuliani story: He told the New York Times that his comments about Obama's upbringing were not racist: "Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people,” Mr. Giuliani said in the interview. “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”

POLITICO gets its hands on emails showing that Debbie Wasserman Schultz offered to change her position on medical marijuana if a Florida donor retracted criticism of her.

The AP previews the NGA.

The Democratic Governors Association releases this memo: “Democratic Governors are squarely focused on the right priorities: being fiscally responsible, improving educational opportunities, creating good-paying jobs, and strengthening the middle class. And they are leading with fresh ideas for college affordability, increasing the minimum wage, and paid sick leave. It’s a very different story for the Republican governors, however. With at least a half dozen Republican governors running for President, they are in a race to the bottom to appeal to the most extreme elements of the Republican Party. While their pandering policies might please the very far-right, they have dire consequences for the people who sent them to office.”

BUSH: Another deep dive by S.V. Date on "Jeb, the Introvert." Last month, Bush said: "I would rather read a book than go out and get in a conga line and go dancing. But I learned that in order to make your case, or in order to serve or in order to advance a cause, you have to connect with people. And you can’t connect with people if you’re back in the corner reading a book."

CHRISTIE: Like our Perry Bacon Jr. did last week, the New York Times and the Washington Post both note today how Christie lacks momentum and is losing supporters fast.

New York Jets owner and megadonor Woody Johnson is leaning towards Jeb Bush, which would be a rebuke to Christie.

CLINTON: More WSJ digging on the Clinton Foundation: The paper finds that the foundation received more than $26 million from companies that lobbied the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure there.

RUBIO: Marco Rubio is facing pressure from fellow Republicans to run for reelection in Florida and help keep control of the Senate.

SANDERS: In Iowa, Bernie Sanders said a "revolution" in college funding is needed.

WALKER: Eighty-five percent of New Hampshire GOP primary voters say a candidate doesn't need a college degree to be president, writes NH1.

And around the country...

ILLINOIS: The Washington Post notes how the Chicago mayoral race is dividing Democrats over economic issues.

VIRGINIA: Former first lady Maureen McDonnell goes before a judge for sentencing today, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

PROGRAMMING NOTES. *** Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Washington Post’s Nia Malika Henderson and Mother Jones Washington Bureau chief David Corn about former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments that the President doesn’t love America, legal analyst Lisa Green about the American Sniper trial, and Simone Bernstein of VolunTEEN Nation as part of our Born in the USA series

*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Rep. Jeff Denham, Fmr. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Terror expert Magnus Ranstorp, Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights Director David Phillips, Rockefeller Foundation President and author Judith Rodin, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus, NBC’s Charles Hadlock and NBC’s Jamie Novograd has an exclusive interview with a former teen Isis soldier.

Breaking News Emails

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