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First Read's Morning Clips

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

OBAMA AGENDA: Slight improvement

Here's full analysis of the new NBC/WSJ poll (by one of us!): Obama and his party get some small boosts, but there's tough terrain ahead going into November.

MORE: "In a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll, 47 percent of respondents said the U.S. should dial down its activity in foreign affairs, versus 19 percent who said the country should be more active around the globe. Three in ten respondents said the current level is correct."

Driving some GOP glee today -- Maureen Dowd turns on Obama for what she calls small ball politics: "It doesn’t feel like leadership. It doesn’t feel like you’re in command of your world ... You should take a lesson from Adam Silver, a nerdy technocrat who, in his first big encounter with a crazed tyrant, managed to make the job of N.B.A. commissioner seem much more powerful than that of president of the United States."

The New York Times writes that Obama and his administration have inspired a new generation of Hollywood supervillians operating in a bleak security state.

CONGRESS: Minimum wage battle

As Obama prepares to keep up his minimum wage push today, House Speaker John Boehner’s shop is pushing back with research saying that the hike would cost America jobs and mostly benefit more well-off workers. “Raising the minimum wage may benefit a small number of people, but it’s not a real solution to poverty, income inequality, or the harmful side effects of Obamacare. That’s what the science says.”

Today in the Senate, via Roll Call: 'Senate Republican leaders plan to filibuster President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour when it comes up for an initial test vote Wednesday, and are pushing for a vote soon on the Keystone XL pipeline instead."

The Wall Street Journal on Boehner's candid immigration remarks -- and subsequent apology yesterday: "Some chalk up Mr. Boehner's unshackled attitude to a growing acceptance that no strategy he can devise will ever please all House Republicans, including the most conservative lawmakers whose insistence on gutting the Affordable Care Act helped lead to the government shutdown."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is getting threats from "ugly, vile, vulgar and threatening people," he told reporters.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor asked a defiant Rep. Vance McAllister for his resignation Tuesday, reports NBC's Frank Thorp. He didn't get it.

OFF TO THE RACES: NRCC isn’t going to help Grimm

A Washington Post/ ABC News poll shows Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie all running within 4 points.

FLORIDA: A new Quinnipiac poll shows Charlie Crist leading Gov. Rick Scott by 10 points.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Sen. Harry Reid's Senate Majority PAC and Senate candidate Scott Brown are still at war over the latter's allegations of improper coordination between the PAC and incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's campaign, writes NH Journal's John DiStaso.

Brown is out with an op-ed in the Union Leader pushing Shaheen to back the Keystone XL pipeline. “Just as labor and business have come together, I'm hoping Sen. Shaheen and I can bridge the political divide. Six years of delay are long enough. Five separate reviews have proven that we can build this pipeline in a safe way. The concerns of the environmental community have been addressed.”

NEW MEXICO: The organization devoted to getting Democrats elected to governorships doesn't have high hopes for New Mexico or Nevada. DGA head Peter Shulmin yesterday, per RealClearPolitics: "I wish that we could spend money for Democrats in all 50 states .. My job is not to promote governors’ races in states where we can’t win.”

NEW YORK: Indicted Rep. Michael Grimm isn't likely to get much help from the NRCC in his re-election bid, the Hill reports.

NORTH CAROLINA: The world we live in now: The Washington Post points out that 90 percent of all ads run in the North Carolina Senate race are funded by outside groups.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that early voting is slow so far. "Through Monday, 95,277 ballots had been cast – 90,051 of them one-stop voting and the rest mailed in. In a state with 6.5 million voters, that barely counts as a sliver."

OKLAHOMA: Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has prompted a review of the state's execution procedures after a prisoner described as writhing in pain died of a heart attack amid a botched lethal injection. The Tulsa World: "The execution of convicted killer Clayton Lockett was botched Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary before he died of a massive heart attack. The event prompted officials to postpone a second execution that had been scheduled for two hours later." And the New York Times writes: "The appeals for disclosure about the drug sources, supported by a state court in March, threw Oklahoma’s highest courts and elected officials into weeks of conflict and disarray, with courts arguing over which should consider the request for a politically unpopular stay of execution, the governor defying the State Supreme Court’s ruling for a delay, and a legislator seeking impeachment of the justices."

SOUTH CAROLINA: Incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham is up with a new TV ad touting his fight to keep a Boeing plant in South Carolina.

TEXAS: DGA head Peter Shumlin on Wendy Davis's gubernatorial bid: "We’re hopeful in Texas, but we’ll be candid about the fact that we all understand Democrats haven’t won Texas in a long time."

The Davis campaign hit back, bashing “the uninformed opinions of a Washington, D.C., desk jockey who's never stepped foot in Texas.”

VIRGINIA: The Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Attorney General Mark R. Herring declared Tuesday that children of illegal immigrants who are lawfully present in the United States and Virginia under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program qualify for in-state college tuition." (Herring is a Democrat.)

WISCONSIN: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "In a decision that could have implications nationally and in Wisconsin's November elections, a federal judge on Tuesday struck down the state's voter ID law, saying it violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution."


*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Tulsa World reporter on the botched execution in Oklahoma; former NBA player & coach John Lucas & sports lawyer/agent Everett Glenn on the Clippers controversy; Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) on minimum wage; and Author Jason Padgett, a number theorist with Acquired Savant Syndrome.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviewsKareem Abdul-Jabbar, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Human Rights Watch Nigeria Researcher Mausi Segun, NBC’s Chuck Todd and Gabe Guitierrez, MSNBC Terror Analyst Michael Leiter, Bloomberg’s Jeanne Cummings and the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.

*** Wednesday’s “The Reid Report” line-up: MSNBC’s Joy Reid talks to Rep. Marcia Fudge(D-OH) about the war on poverty as well as the push to raise the minimum wage. Plus former NBA Player Norm Nixon and former NBA player & coach Lenny Wilkens discuss Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s ban for life for racist remarks.