First Read's Morning Clips

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

OBAMA AGENDA: Declaring victory

The New York Times’ health care lede: "President Obama declared victory Tuesday in the government’s aggressive push to enroll seven million people in private health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, even as his senior aides braced for an escalated political battle over the law ahead of the fall’s crucial midterm elections."

Millions of newly insured Americans aren't counted in the 7.1 million announced by the White House Tuesday because they enrolled directly through their own insurance provider. The New York Times: "Politicians and policy makers have focused on the number of people who signed up through the exchanges — at nearly seven million and counting a day after the March 31 deadline — but they have largely overlooked the group that did not use the exchanges, even though it could have a major impact on the program’s financial success in the years ahead."

The folks over at take a look at what's next for Obamacare.

The Washington Post: "Repeated scandals involving Secret Service agents are "absolutely not" evidence of a cultural problem within the agency, its Director Julia Pierson said Tuesday."

"The Obama administration's campaign to forge a Middle East peace agreement appeared near collapse Tuesday, despite a U.S. move to negotiate the release of a convicted American spy in a last-gasp effort to win more concessions from Israel," the Wall Street Journal reports.

A new Quinnipiac poll shows Obama with negative ratings for his handling of the crisis in Ukraine and a 39-55 grade for his handling of foreign policy overall.

CONGRESS: Battling over Ryan's budget

NBC's Frank Thorp and Luke Russert report on Paul Ryan's newly unveiled budget proposal. "The plan, which Ryan says would balance the budget over the course of the decade, would repeal the Affordable Care Act, restructure entitlement programs and reshape food stamp programs into block grants."

The New York Times op-ed page calls Ryan's budget plan "destructive to the country’s future."

It's looking like more gridlock in the Senate over Democrats' minimum wage bill. Roll Call: "Republicans say they might block consideration of minimum wage and pay equity bills after Senate Democrats moved to block GOP amendments to the unemployment extension bill expected to pass later this week."

"The House on Tuesday passed legislation to provide economic assistance to Ukraine and sanction Russia, sending the package to President Obama a few weeks after Russia formally took control of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula," The Hill reports.

After a grilling yesterday, GM CEO Mary Barra's testimony on Capitol Hill will continue today. The Wall Street Journal: "Ms. Barra faced tough questions on what she and others running GM knew about the decisions made as GM sought to rebuild its sales of compact cars. Many times on Tuesday, she said she didn't know why GM officials had not recalled Chevrolets, Saturns and Pontiacs with faulty ignition switches, saying the answers would come from an internal probe."

Charles Keating Jr. -- of the "Keating Five" scandal -- has died at the age of 90.

The recent forcing of the Medicare reimbursement rate patch through the House has even longtime allies clashing, POLITICO writes. "The tension ran so high that Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the panel’s typically reserved chairman, late last week laced into Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a tense interaction in a closed-door meeting of the tax-writing panel, accusing the Ohio Republican’s staff of being dishonest, multiple Republican sources said."

The Lexington Herald-Leader: "U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, and Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, joined U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on Tuesday to introduce legislation that they said would "preserve the century-old tradition of the Tennessee walking horse while ending the contemptible practice of the illegal soring of horses."

OFF TO THE RACES: Focusing on Jindal

The Washington Post reports that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will announce a replacement for the Obama health care law Wednesday, "an effort by the Republican to insert himself into the increasingly competitive early maneuvering for his party’s presidential nomination."

Green Eggs and Ham -- and more green. Sen. Ted Cruz will get an advance of close to $1.5 million for a personal memoir, the Washington Examiner reports. Also, the AP previews his appearance at Liberty University today.

D.C.: The Washington Post reports on councilmember Muriel Bowser's big win against incumbent mayor Vincent Gray in Tuesday's primary. "Bowser (D-Ward 4) moved deftly to capitalize on public doubts about Gray’s trustworthiness fueled by the still-unresolved federal corruption investigation into his 2010 campaign. Alone among seven Democratic challengers, she amassed a coalition that crossed demographic and geographic lines allowing her to outpoll Gray’s shrunken but steady base of African American voters."

The Post also profiles Bowser, a protege of former mayor Adrian Fenty. "Her reticence and her emotional distance are qualities that might have been a liability at times during the campaign, but her straightforward, drama-free approach to getting things done could be an asset in a city that prizes accomplishment."

In his concession speech, Gray slammed the timing of the primary election. "'One thing I have to say, I hope the city will change the date of the primary," Gray said. "This is really poor ... having to run a campaign in winter. Trying to knock on doors in February is hard, it's complex and it's cold.'"

GEORGIA: The super PAC led by Joe Ricketts is airing ads against Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn. The theme? Obamacare.

MISSISSIPPI: “Mississippi quietly passed its “religious freedom” law Tuesday, prompting alarm from gay and lesbian rights activists who say it could be used to justify discrimination in the name of religion,” reports Adam Serwer of

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Sen. Scott Brown stopped by the Capitol Tuesday to see his former (and possibly future) Republican colleagues in the Senate.


*** Wednesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interviews Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), The Wilson Center’s Aaron David Miller, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Executive Director of the Working Families Party Dan Cantor and NBC Meteorologist Bill Karins.

*** Wednesday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews Renee Trautwein and Phil Trautwein who are family members of Sarah Trautwein who was a victim of the faulty GM ignition switch. Also, joining Chris to discuss the GM recall is Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) who was in the House Congressional Hearing yesterday. The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim and the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus will be discussing the ACA and minimum wage. The President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget Maya MacGuineas and the Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth Heather Boushey will break down Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for 2015. Also, to discuss World Autism Awareness Day will be Liz Feld, the President of Autism Speaks.

*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Greg Gardner from the Detroit Free Press on General Motors capitol hill testimony today; Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee on today’s press conference on minimum wage; Dr. Donna Plecha from UH Case Medical Ctr on the new mammogram study; NJ State Sen. Nicholas Scutari on his proposal to legalize pot in New Jersey; and Angela Benton, CEO of NewMe, on her company push to put minority women in tech field.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Anita Hill, Autism Speaks Founders Bob and Suzanne Wright, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez and Anne Pollard Henderson, the ex-wife of spy Jonathan Pollard.

*** Wednesday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid interviews Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) about the Affordable Care Act. Plus,’s Zachary Roth on GOP efforts to block the vote.