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First Read's Morning Clips

<p>A roundup of the day's most important political stories.</p>

OBAMA AGENDA: “Priorities”

Obama meets with House Speaker John Boehner this morning. USA Today: “They are expected to discuss immigration and other legislative business.”

Chuck Hagel “said the priorities he outlined reflect a consensus view among America's military leaders, but Republicans in Congress were quick to criticize some proposed changes,” AP writes.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): "I am concerned that we are on a path to repeat the mistakes we've made during past attempts to cash in on expected peace dividends that never materialized.”

Dick Cheney on Fox said Obama “would rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”

“Police clashed briefly in the Philippine capital Tuesday with about 300 protesters opposed to a planned visit by President Barack Obama and the continued U.S. military presence in the country,” the AP writes. “Riot police across a road from the U.S. Embassy were pushed back by the demonstrators, prompting the police to retaliate with truncheons.” Obama is scheduled to go to the Philippines in April.

The Obama administration is going to announce today big changes to food labels, the first update in two decades. Politico: “The big changes coming to the iconic Nutrition Facts panel are to be rolled out Thursday, sources say, when First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to make an announcement in the East Room at the White House ‘regarding proposals to help parents and other consumers make healthier choices.’”

Vice President Biden was on Seth Meyers’ show. And he called a senator a “suck up” to Obama. He recalled a State of the Union story in which a senator told him not to stand up so much when Obama spoke, but “Then I counted 17 times this particular senator stood up in front of the president. So I went like this to point to him. Talk about a suck up. I mean this guy was out there, you know, telling me, ‘Don’t stand up.’ Boom, first guy up.”

George W. Bush’s artwork will go on display in April at the Bush Library.

CONGRESS: Another fight over veterans’ benefits?

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on a $21 billion Democratic bill that would expand “health, education and other benefits for veterans.” But “some Republicans consider the measure a campaign season ploy by Democrats to force them to oppose helping veterans. ‘It's all about the elections,’ said Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, top Republican on the veterans panel.”

Sexual assault bills were stopped yesterday because a Republican senator tried to attach a debate on Iran sanctions to them.

Republicans are nervous because on Wednesday Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, will unveil his proposed changes to the tax code. That could be ripe for election-year attacks. Politico: “Put bluntly, Republicans think they will expand their majority in the House — and perhaps take the Senate — by spending the remainder of 2014 concentrating on a still struggling-economy, cutting a raft of regulations and Obamacare’s woes. Many senior figures see no need to open up a new policy discussion in February of an election year without a partner in the Senate and White House.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Bubba heads to the Bluegrass State

“Bill Clinton, popular in territory unfriendly to President Barack Obama, is reprising his role as a super-surrogate for Democrats battling to keep their Senate majority and win other races. In the long run, Clinton could pick up political chits for his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, should she run for president in 2016,” AP writes, adding, “The Grimes fundraiser marked Clinton's first 2014 campaign event and underscored the party's interest in defeating the Republican leader.”

National Journal: “With incumbents now keenly aware of the danger they face in a primary, those same tea-party-aligned hopefuls are finding themselves under more scrutiny than ever. And oftentimes they're not holding up well.”

To that point, “Conservative activists threatened revenge for Republican governors who boosted Obamacare,” Politico writes. “Now it looks like they were mostly blowing smoke. Around the country, Republicans who defied the base and embraced Obamacare’s massive expansion of Medicaid are better positioned for reelection than those who did not. None has garnered a serious primary challenge so far, and even Democrats have struggled to field strong contenders to take them on. Govs. Rick Snyder in Michigan, John Kasich in Ohio, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, Bill Haslam in Tennessee and Terry Branstad in Iowa each embraced some form of Medicaid expansion, accepting federal Obamacare cash to cover their low-income population. Each of those governors is now considered the front-runner for reelection this year.”

In attacking Democrats, Rand Paul is bringing up Bill Clinton’s sex scandal again AND now, Woody Allen: "If the president of your network [NBC] had relations with a 20-year-old girl who was there from college, I think the president of your network would be fired," Paul said. "We don't accept that in the workplace. So if that's what Bill Clinton did multiple times. Really they ought to be concerned about being associated with him."

And: "Kentucky, we're not quite Hollywood as far as accepting sort of different kind of things like that. Woody Allen is apparently a big contributor of [Grimes], too. Woody Allen has been now accused of, you know, having relations with his children. That's not really acceptable in Kentucky. And I think she has to decide whether she's representing Kentucky or Hollywood."

The Hill: “The National Republican Congressional Committee is hitting 24 Democrats and Democratic House candidates running in tough races with a new attack…calling on them to sign a letter urging President Obama to come campaign for them.”

MICHIGAN: Will Debbie Dingell replace her husband in Congress? Roll Call: “On Monday, the consensus among well-placed Michigan Democrats is that Debbie Dingell is moving quickly to consolidate support for run.”


*** Tuesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews The Grio’s Perry Bacon and the Tampa Bay Times’ Tallahassee bureau chief Steve Bousquet. Plus, an exclusive interview with Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and former Senator Mo Cowan (D-MA) to discuss their event later today honoring Black History Month with former African-American senators. All that plus a packed data bank and Chuck’s Tuesday Takeaway.

*** Tuesday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Guest host Ari Melber interviews White House economic adviser Gene Sperling and the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Sam Youngman. Plus, we’ll have DOD Spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby and Gen. Barry McCaffrey on the defense budget. Also, joining Ari will be the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel, the Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, MSNBC Contributor James Peterson and Republican Strategist Susan Del Percio.

*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Elisabeth MacNamara National Director for the League of Women Voters & the Advancement Project’s Judith Browne Dianis on the challenge to Wisconsin Voter ID laws; Dave Zirin on the NFL racial slur penalty proposal; Rep. Steven Horsford on going undercover as a UPS driver to make a push for raising the minimum wage; Yaba Blay author of (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race; and Mary Jo Pitzl legislative reporter for the AZ Republic on the Brewer decision on the controversial religion bill.

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell will interview Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Gov. Peter Shumlin, the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin, the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus, Team Rubicon Co-founder Jacob Wood and NBC’s Chuck Todd and Richard Engel.