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First Read's Morning Clips

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OBAMA AGENDA: The final countdown!

The first enrollment period for Obamacare is in its final hours today, but it's too early to know how the law is doing overall, writes the Washington Post. "In the months and years ahead, other questions will loom: How will Americans react when they get fined next year for not having insurance? Will more states expand Medicaid under the law? And will the federal courts make future changes to the law, including barring the use of government subsidies to help pay for coverage in the federal marketplace?"

The HealthCare.Gov site was down from 3:20am to about 8am ET, reports NBC's Shawna Thomas. Here's the statement issued by HHS about the outage: " marketplace application and enrollment system is currently unavailable. The tech team is working now to bring the system online as soon as possible. Consumers are able to leave their email and will be invited back when the system is available. Consumers may also complete their application by calling the call center at 1-800-318-2596. The federal data services hub is working normally."

The New York Times does a deep dive into the new health care law's effects in Kentucky.

No breakthroughs over the weekend in Secretary of State John Kerry's talks with his Russian counterpart in the effort to calm the crisis in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Sunday's meeting was viewed by the U.S. as a test of whether Russia's surprise overture on Friday, when Mr. Putin called President Barack Obama to discuss a diplomatic resolution, was a genuine effort to start talks or a delaying tactic before another assault on Ukraine's borders. The outcome appeared to leave Russian intentions no less clear."

And it's worth keeping an eye out today for reaction to this: Scientists say that the effects of climate change are likely to become much worse without substantial efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. "The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct," the New York Times writes.

Finally.. it's Opening Day! We reported last week that a White House petition to make it a national holiday had enough signatures to prompt an official response. Here it is (The upshot: Sounds great, but you're going to have to ask Congress.)


Wyden: Obama’s NSA reforms don’t go far's Tom Curry writes of Sunday's Meet the Press interview with Sen. Ron Wyden: "Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden said Sunday President Barack Obama has not gone far enough in curbing the powers of the National Security Agency and should order an immediate halt to the bulk collection of telephone metadata records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act."

Intel Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein offered a “cautious welcome” to the plan – with some caveats.


“Occupied territories”POLITICO reports on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 's apology for his "occupied territories" flub at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting this weekend. "Not long after his speech, Christie met with Adelson privately in the casino mogul’s office in the Venetian hotel and casino, which hosted the RJC meeting. The source told POLITICO that Christie ‘clarified in the strongest terms possible that his remarks today were not meant to be a statement of policy.’ Instead, the source said, Christie made clear ‘that he misspoke when he referred to the occupied territories. And he conveyed that he is an unwavering friend and committed supporter of Israel, and was sorry for any confusion that came across as a result of the misstatement.’ Adelson accepted Christie’s explanation, the source said."

Despite the misstep, the Las Vegas Review-Journal dubbed Christie the clear winner of the "Adelson Primary."

A Scott Walker tidbit, per the Wall Street Journal: "In a private session, Mr. Walker told 50 or so potential backers about death threats directed at his family during his push to limit collective bargaining for public employees, according to people who attended. During the session, the Wisconsin governor also waded into a debate sure to be part of the 2016 contest, reminding people that the two other governors who addressed the coalition had supported an expansion of Medicaid under the 2010 health law."

With immigration reform stymied for now, some Latinos are upset enough with both parties to avoid the polls altogether in November, writes Jackie Calmes of the New York Times. And that's bad news for Democrats. "Across the country, immigrant-rights advocates report mounting disillusionment with both parties among Latinos, enough to threaten recent gains in voting participation that have reshaped politics to Democrats’ advantage nationally, and in states like Colorado with significant Latino populations."

Al Hunt runs through the profound policy implications of a GOP-dominated Senate after 2014.

The AP writes that Republicans have a built-in advantage for November because of redistricting. "Republican strategists spent years developing a plan to take advantage of the 2010 census, first by winning state legislatures and then redrawing House districts to tilt the playing field in their favor. Their success was unprecedented."

IOWA: The Wall Street Journal writes (dateline: Osceola!) that Republicans are betting that Rep. Bruce Braley's "farmer" misstep last week could open up a competitive Senate race in Iowa. "Mr. Braley's gaffe may dissipate, as Democrats predict, but for now, it has injected a greater sense of competition into a race that the party had hoped to simply bank in the win column. Republicans said party activists are bumping the state up on their priority lists, and the party faithful are reveling in the attention."

Team Braley says the GOP will pay for overreaching on hyping the mistake, the Des Moines Register reports. "Braley's campaign strategists say the candidate knew he was being videotaped at the private fundraiser when he made the remark that has the political world buzzing, describing Chuck Grassley as ‘a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.’ They think the GOP is seriously overhyping the videotape, and that it will backfire."

MARYLAND: This probably won’t be a boost to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's presidential prospects. The Washington Post: "On Tuesday, Maryland will begin the process of replacing its troubled exchange, which has had so many problems since its launch on Oct. 1 that officials have decided it would be better to start anew."

MICHIGAN: Ways and Means chief Rep. Dave Camp hasn't filed for re-election yet, POLITICO reports.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and challenger Scott Brown started to hone their attacks on each other -- immediately after an "awkward encounter" at a community event in Manchester.


*** Monday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews White House Advisor Phil Schiliro, The New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore and Susanne Craig, The Washington Post’s Dan Balz and Jon Ralston.

*** Monday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Vox’s Editor in Chief Ezra Klein, the Washington Post’s Jackie Kucinich, Former NTSB Investigator Greg Feith, Republican Strategist Matt Schlapp, Political Strategist Angela Rye, and Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran Kevin Strouse.

*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Craig Melvin interviews: Jay Angoff, the fmr head of health care law implementation at HHS, on the ACA deadline; Michael Wysession, Assoc Prof of Seismology at Washington Univ in St. Louis on LA area earthquake & numerous aftershocks; Minn State Rep. John Lesch, on a bill he authored that would compensate wrongly imprisoned people if passed; and Jerry Johnson, President & CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters on the controversy over the movie, Noah.

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews

Rep. Karen Bass, Ambassador Nicholas Burns, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and Rajiv Chandrasakaren, The New York Times' Jackie Calmes and NBC's Richard Engel, Chuck Todd and Bill Neely.

*** Monday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid interviews Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) about the ACA deadline. Plus, NJ State Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Bob Ingle from The Asbury Park Press talk to Joy about the latest in the Gov. Chris Christie bridgegate scandal

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