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First Read's Morning Clips

A roundup of the day's most important political stories

OBAMA AGENDA: The “fix it” part

Some centrist Democrats - including some facing tough re-election races - are eyeing plans to improve the politically thorny health care law, the Wall Street Journal writes. "Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as Sen. Angus King (I., Maine), plan to introduce as soon as Thursday a set of principles and legislation aimed at strengthening the health law, according to lawmakers and Senate Democratic aides."

On immigration reform, House Democrats are keeping up their push to pile political pressure on Republicans with a discharge petition, reports Suzanne Gamboa of

Even post-nuclear option, the administration is struggling to get its nominees through Congress. The Washington Post: "White House officials are scrambling to reassess their confirmation strategy in the wake of two major setbacks this month: the Senate’s rejection of lawyer Debo P. Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division and signs that surgeon general nominee Vivek H. Murthy could go down in defeat as well."

The Senate is poised for a Friday vote on an extension of unemployment insurance benefits, writes Roll Call.

OFF TO THE RACES: Are you innocent if your own legal teams says so?

The results of the internal investigation into the George Washington Bridge scandal are set to be released Thursday morning, and it looks like there won't be any additional members of Gov. Chris Christie's staff implicated. The Wall Street Journal: "The review narrows responsibility for planning the disruptive lane closures to those who have already been named: Bridget Kelly, Mr. Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official David Wildstein, according to a person familiar with the findings. No other Christie administration members were involved in planning the closures or seeking to cover them up after, the person said."

The Bergen Record: “The governor hired a team of lawyers from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher – led by Randy Mastro who served in former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration – to investigate after firing a top aide in January… Since the New York Times announced Monday that the report would clear Christie, Democrats have questioned how independent Mastro’s investigation was. Mastro served as a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York under Giuliani, then the U.S. attorney for that district. When Giuliani was elected mayor, Mastro served in his administration as chief of staff and a deputy mayor. Giuliani has been an ardent Christie supporter and sat alongside the governor at the Super Bowl.”

NBC’s Michael Isikoff on the report: A report commissioned by Gov. Chris Christie to be released Thursday will include an email that could raise questions about the account of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, one of the governor's chief accusers and a key witness in the criminal investigation of his administration, according to sources familiar with the report. "I would be more than happy to come and say a quick hello and welcome Gov. Christie when he comes to Hoboken tomorrow," Zimmer wrote to Christie's chief political consultant Mike Duhaime, in an Aug. 21, 2013 email, a copy of which is included in the Christie commissioned report, according to a source familiar with the document. That email, which sources say has been turned over to federal prosecutors, is potentially significant because it was written three months after Zimmer has said she was threatened by Christie's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno that her city would lose Hurricane Sandy funding if she didn't back a billion dollar development project.

Christie will join other GOP presidential potentials at the annual conference of the Sheldon Adelson-affiliated Republican Jewish Coalition this week, NBC's Michael Isikoff reports.

ALABAMA: Pulling a Manchin: The Daily Caller reported yesterday that Alabama GOP House candidate Will Brooke "uses a .40 Glock pistol, a .270 Cooper rifle and an AR-15 to destroy a copy of the Obamacare bill in a new video released by his campaign."

COLORADO: The Mark Udall (D) campaign is up with a video hitting Cory Gardner (R) for reversing his previous position supporting Colorado’s “personhood” initiatives.

GEORGIA: Benjy Sarlin of profiles Senate candidate Rep. Paul Broun, the conservative firebrand whose supporters in Georgia are counting on him to "wage total legislative war."

MICHIGAN: As one of us reported earlier this morning, Democratic congressman Gary Peters is up with his first TV ads of the Michigan Senate race. They'll air on Friday, when both Michigan and Michigan St. play in the NCAA basketball tournament's Sweet Sixteen.

NEBRASKA: Nebraska Republican Senate candidate Shane Osborn took heat earlier this week for presenting an unofficial document as evidence that his handling of a collision with a Chinese fighter jet in 2001 was appropriate. Now, he's being defended by Joseph Wilson Pruehe, the U.S. ambassador to China at the time of the incident and a former military commander. "As the United States ambassador to China at the time and a former commander of our U.S. military forces in the Pacific, I can say that Osborn did exactly what he was supposed to do and followed U.S. Navy protocol," Pruehe writes in the Omaha World-Herald. Osborn has said his use of the document was "regrettable."

WISCONSIN: Gov. Scott Walker's approval rating has dropped, but he is still leading Democratic challenger Mary Burke, according to a new Marquette Law School poll.


*** Thursday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Kristen Welker interviews Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd and NBC’s Ian Williams. Plus, we’ll continue our #TDR50 look at The Dakota’s with Senator John Thune (R-SD).

*** Thursday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews Father John Bambrick, Father Dave Dwyer, National Catholic Reporter’s Kate Childs Graham, and Washington Post Columnist E. J. Dionne to discuss President Obama’s visit with Pope Francis. Joining Chris to discuss the situation in Ukraine will be Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). Also, joining the show today will be National Correspondent for the New York Times Josh Barro and MSNBC Contributor Rula Jebreal.

*** Thursday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Father Cleao Milano on the president's meeting with the Pope; geomorphologist Gail Ashley on the Washington mudslide, sports management professor Ellen Staurowsky on the Northwestern players' new right to unionize; Civil Rights Project of UCLA's Gary Olfield on the new report that says New York City has the most segregated schools; and Attorney Faith Jenkins on the newylwed who pushed her husband of a cliff now withdrawing her plea.

*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Al Franken, Rep. Mike Rogers, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, White House Advisor for Health Policy and Reform Phil Schiliro, Father Thomas Reese, NBC’s Anne Thompson and Jennifer Bjorklund and James Wood, the brother of Malaysia Flight 370 passenger Philip Wood.

*** Thursday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid speaks with Fr. James Martin about Pres. Obama’s meeting with Pope Francis. Plus, Reid interviews Former NFL player Roman Oben about a judge’s ruling allowing football players at Northwestern University to unionize.