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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: A different kind of problem over at the VA

In a statement, VA Secretary Bob McDonald is apologizing for suggesting to a homeless veteran that he served in special forces. "That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement."

In an op-ed in The Hill, the president writes that “It’s time to end the era of manufactured crises, put politics aside and focus on doing what’s best for America. So while I will fight any attempt to turn back the progress we’ve made or break up families across our country, I welcome the opportunity to work with anyone who wants to build on the improvements we’ve put in place, and fix our broken immigration system once and for all.”

The AP notes how Obama is facing opposition from both parties on his trade proposals as well as his request for congressional authorization to continue the fight against ISIS.

The Wall Street Journal reports: "The European Commission on Tuesday backed proposals made by the Greek government for reworking its bailout program, putting Athens one step closer to securing a four-month extension to its expiring bailout."

Ukraine alleges that separatists haven't really begun pulling back heavy weaponry as they claim.

Bloomberg: “For anyone hoping a nuclear deal with Iran might stop the Tehran government from destabilizing the Middle East or free its political prisoners, the Obama administration has some bad news: It's just an arms control agreement. As details of a proposed pact leaked out of the Geneva talks Monday, administration officials told us they will ask the world to judge any final nuclear agreement on the technical aspects only, not on whether the deal will spur Iranian reform.”

POLITICO notes that Barack Obama is wooing the Warren wing of the Democratic Party by taking on legislation targeting financial advisers. "After years of dragging its feet on the issue, the White House is getting fully behind a proposal strongly opposed by the industry to police financial advisers who steer clients toward products that may not be best for them but bring in bigger commissions and fees."

Our Perry Bacon Jr. writes that there's little hope for an immediate fix to Obamacare as the Supreme Court's ruling on federal subsidies looms.

CONGRESS: McConnell’s possible way out

NBC's Frank Thorp reports that Mitch McConnell has introduced a bill specifically targeting the president's immigration action in an effort "to get the Senate unstuck."

The Washington Post has more.

The Washington Post editorial board, on the DHS standoff: "Whatever its merits or shortcomings, a federal judge’s decision last week blocking the Obama administration’s immigration policy offered congressional Republicans an escape path from the corner into which they had painted themselves by imperiling funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its 240,000 employees. Thus far they have not shown the wisdom to accept this gift."

Mitch McConnell and John Boehner write in a joint USA Today op-ed: "Keystone is a no-brainer in every way, but the White House says the president will veto this jobs bill. Americans deserve to know why, and what a veto would mean."

The Aaron Schock story continues, per the AP: “Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, a rising Republican star already facing an ethics inquiry, has spent taxpayer and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by some of his key donors, The Associated Press has found. There also have been other expensive travel and entertainment charges, including for a massage company and music concerts.”

OFF TO THE RACES: 2016 – a foreign-policy election?

The New York Times writes that foreign policy is becoming a top issue for GOP 2016 hopefuls. “Doubts that crept into the minds of conservatives about engagement abroad after George W. Bush’s presidency and the protracted war in Iraq are dissipating, and they are increasingly pressing for more action against the Islamic State.”

The AP notes how the earlier primary date for Texas is creating a new sense of urgency in the Lone Star State.

CHRISTIE: "In a major blow to Gov. Chris Christie, a New Jersey judge ruled on Monday that he violated state law when he declined to make the full payment into the state’s pension system for public employees last year and ordered him to find a way to fund it now,” the New York Times reports. “The decision further complicates Mr. Christie’s hopes of reviving his presidential ambitions, which have suffered in recent weeks as his approval ratings in New Jersey have sunk to the lowest point of his tenure, and Republican donors have moved to other contenders for the party’s nomination."

CLINTON: National Journal reports on how Hillary Clinton plans to bring gender into her 2016 campaign in a way she shunned in 2008.

CRUZ: Ted Cruz urges no votes against Loretta Lynch's AG nomination in a POLITICO op-ed: "Personally, I wanted to support Ms. Lynch’s nomination. Six years of Eric Holder has done enormous damage, and Ms. Lynch’s service as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York has earned her a reputation as a relatively no-nonsense prosecutor. However, the answers she gave at her confirmation hearing are, in my view, disqualifying for serving as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer."

JINDAL: The Baton Rouge Advocate: “Jindal, who is flirting with a presidential run, spent about 165 days — or 45 percent — of 2014 in places other than Louisiana. In 2013, he was gone about 74 days.”

RUBIO: The New York Times writes on how Marco Rubio is being dogged by the question of how Jeb Bush's candidacy affects him.

WALKER: The right-to-work fight is on: "Leadership committees in both houses of the Legislature voted Monday along party lines to approve an extraordinary session to take up so-called right-to-work legislation later this week in committee and on the Senate floor,” writes the Journal Sentinel. “Right-to-work laws ban labor contracts in the private sector that require workers to pay union fees."

And around the country…

ALASKA: Alaska today becomes the third state in the U.S. where recreational pot is legal.


*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) about funding for The Dept. of Homeland Security, Former Congressman and Iraq War Veteran Patrick Murphy about VA Secretary McDonald falsely claiming that he had served in the United States Special Forces legal analyst Lisa Green about the American Sniper trial, Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter Bill Ruthhart about the Mayoral race in Chicago, and domestic abuse survivor Destiny Mabry and Day One Supervising Attorney Andrew Santa Ana about Teen Violence awareness month

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the Atlantic’s Jeff Goldberg, Fmr. RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Fmr. Gov. Ed Rendell, the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, the AP’s Julie Pace and NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, Luke Russert, Kelly O’Donnell and Charles Hadlock.