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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Biden in Ukraine

The New York Times: “In a display of Washington’s support for the interim authorities here, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. signaled on Tuesday that the United States was ready to support them in securing a unified Ukraine but urged the country’s leadership to battle “the cancer of corruption.”

As Obama departs on his trip to Asia, the New York Times delves into the complexities of policy on the continent. "At a moment when Asia appears more rattled by China’s behavior than it has in decades, America’s fractious allies question its repeated assurances that the United States will be there for them. But the more Mr. Obama repeats his commitments, the more he plays into China’s narrative that his real motive is to contain its rise."

The Wall Street Journal: "This trip will be short on tangible deals. U.S. officials said that the focus is more building momentum than on making major policy announcements."

The Washington Post ed board slams Obama for "dithering" on Ukraine. "For weeks Mr. Obama has held back on forceful measures against Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine on the theory that a measured approach matched with diplomacy would yield results. The policy has failed."

The next health insurance challenge for Obamacare: people who have decided not to buy insurance, often citing cost.

The White House has named its new top lawyer, NBC's Shawna Thomas reports.

The AP: "In his new book, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens calls for no fewer than six changes to the Constitution, two of which are directly related to guns."

"The Justice Department is set to announce new rules this week that could mean reduced sentences for thousands of federal prisoners convicted of non-violent drug crimes," NBC's Pete Williams reported Monday.

OFF TO THE RACES: Elizabeth Warren says she’s not running (again)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren told ABC News again that she's "not running for president," calling Hillary Clinton "terrific" and laughing off the "pundit world" that pit the two women against each other.

GOP strategist Brian Walsh writes of Warren: “In a new book released today, Massachusetts Democratic senator and potential presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren attempts to rewrite history regarding the controversy surrounding her ‘Native American’ ancestry that emerged in the 2012 Senate campaign. What’s remarkable is that, at least in the initial book reviews, the press largely allows her to get away with it. In fact, it’s virtually ignored that to this day Warren still refuses to release any law school records that may shed light on this controversy.”

Chris Christie is in Washington today for a New Jersey Chamber of Commerce event, notes the Washington Post.

ALASKA: A voter-led initiative to legalize marijuana – as well as one on the minimum wage -- is set for the general election ballot in Alaska, writes the Anchorage Daily News.

ARKANSAS: Tom Cotton is up with a new ad touting his military service.

ARIZONA: Sen. Jeff Flake offered praise for Jeb Bush's "act of love" comments in a post on his Facebook page. "I hold no brief for Jeb Bush, but having such a prominent Republican speak so humanely and unapologetically about the motivations behind many of those who have come to reside in this country is good for all of us."

Mitt Romney has made another midterm endorsement, this time for Arizona state Speaker and House candidate Andy Tobin.

FLORIDA: Roll Call's Abby Livingston on today’s special primary election in Florida: "Three of [former Rep. Trey] Radel’s potential successors boast at least $1 million in airtime behind each of their efforts — both from their own campaigns and outside groups boosting them. It’s a staggering number for an otherwise under-the-radar primary in a special election."

National Journal and the Washington Post also preview today's Florida special primary election to replace ousted Rep. Trey Radel.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is out with his first Spanish-language TV commercial, the Miami Herald writes. "No other Florida governor has advertised so heavily — especially in Spanish — nearly seven months before his election."

KENTUCKY: McConnell challenger Matt Bevin is up with a new ad featuring his nine children (four are adopted from Ethiopia.) Opening line: "Mitch McConnell is telling a bunch of lies about my dad."

Meanwhile, a local radio station reports that Bevin's chief spokeswoman has left the campaign.

And Mitch McConnell is up with a new ad calling the Senate Minority Leader a "genuine Kentucky workhorse." (Spotted sharing a frame with McConnell in one shot: Sen. Rand Paul)

MICHIGAN: Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land is up with her first TV ad, pushing back on "Gary Peters and his buddies" for saying she's part of the "war on women." More: "As a woman, I might know a little bit more about women than Gary Peters."


Tuesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Luke Russert interviews NBC’s Jim Maceda, Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA), Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, NBC’s Pete Williams, NBC News Senior Political Editor Mark Murray and the Wall Street Journal’s Amy Harder.

Tuesday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Guest host Richard Lui interviews Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Political Editor for The Grio Perry Bacon,'s Irin Carmon, Political Analyst Zerlina Maxwell, Republican Strategist Tyler Harber, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of California Riverside Karthick Ramakrishnan, Managing Editor for Dafna Linzer, and MSNBC's Ari Melber.

Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Guests include Ryan Reilly, Huffington Post’s Justice Reporter, Gregory Tatum, National Unity Summit Review organizer about Chicago gun violence, Karen DeYoung, Associate Editor for The Washington Post, Mary Price from Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Dr. Alessio Fasano, Director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Emily Haney-Caron from Drexel University about a study on LGBT child custody disputes.

Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Chris Murphy, Hunter Biden, World Food Program Pres. Rick Leach, Fmr. NTSB Investigator Greg Feith, the New York Times’ Jo Becker, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and USA Today’s Susan Page.

Tuesday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid interviews Democratic strategist Kevin Cate & political strategist Angela Rye on Florida politics. Plus, filmmaker Dan Edge talks about the new PSB Frontline documentary “Locked Up in America.”