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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- President Obama said Thursday he would send up to 300 additional U.S. Special Operations troops to Iraq as advisers who will take stock of the situation on the ground. With the “situational awareness” provided by them and with other intelligence, Obama said, “we will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it.” He added, "American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again." (Washington Post)
-- U.S. officials said Sunni militants in Iraq occupied what used to be a chemical weapons facility under Saddam Hussein. But they don't anticipate the militants will be able to construct weapons that work out of anything at the site. "We remain concerned about the seizure of any military site by the ISIL," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. "We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely move the materials." (Wall Street Journal)
-- Prosecutors allege that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was part of a “criminal scheme” to improperly coordinate fundraising among conservative groups. No charges have been filed. In a statement, Walker called the allegations “categorically false.” (Washington Post, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
-- House Republicans elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) their new majority leader and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) to be the next majority whip. Both Republicans won easily; Scalise secured his victory on the first ballot against two other contenders. There was uncertainty heading into the vote bout whether a second ballot might be needed in the whip race. (Washington Post)
-- Former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer (D) took to Facebook to apologize Thursday for remarking in an interview with National Journal that Eric Cantor set off his "gaydar" and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) "was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, 'I'm a nun,' when it comes to this spying!" Said Schweitzer: "I recently made a number of stupid and insensitive remarks to a reporter from the National Journal. I am deeply sorry and sincerely apologize for my carelessness and disregard."(Time)
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- WH'16: The Faith and Freedom Coalition is currently holding its "Road to Majority" conference in Washington. Among the potential GOP presidential candidates slated to speak today: Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.
-- Colorado: Rep. Cory Gardner (R) penned an op-ed titled, "Women should be able to buy the pill without a prescription," setting off a round of debate over contraception and abortion in the race for U.S. Senate. Democrats charged that Gardner is trying to move to the left and "rewrite history." Gardner said earlier this year it was a mistake to back a so-called "personhood" ballot measure. Democrats want to keep the attention on this issue in an effort to cast Gardner as too conservative, noting he supports a similar federal measure. (Denver Post)
-- Mississippi: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will travel to the state to stump for Sen. Thad Cochran (R) two days ahead of his runoff election against state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R). Meanwhile, a shouting match erupted at a McDaniel campaign event that was crashed by a Democrat. (Washington Post, Wall Street Journal) Sean's take: The runoff campaign has been busy, but there have been no big, blockbuster developments with the potential to send voters en masse toward one candidate or the other. Cochran needs a momentum-shifter more than McDaniel, coming out of the primary in which he (narrowly) received fewer votes. Runoffs have tended to favor the challenger in recent years.
-- New Hampshire: A Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll shows Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading former senator Scott Brown (R) 49 percent to 39 percent. Obama's approval rating is downright bad in the poll. But it hasn't prevented Shaheen from holding a comfortable advantage. (Washington Post)
-- Rhode Island: And the endorsement goes to .... no one. For the first time in 12 years, the state party will not endorse a candidate in the governor's race. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello wrote state representatives to inform them the leading Democratic candidates -- Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell -- all want it this way. (Providence Journal)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama has no public events on his schedule.
-- Vice President Biden will travel from the Dominican Republic to Guatemala City, Guatemala, where he'll meet with President Otto Pérez Molina.
-- The House will gather at 9 a.m. to continue considering the Defense Appropriations Act.
-- The Senate stands adjourned until Monday afternoon.
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.
-- The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has reserved about $1.7 million worth of fall airtime in the Iowa Senate race. The money is gong toward broadcast time in the Des Moines media market. Recent polling shows a close race between Rep. Bruce Braley (D) and state Sen. Joni Ernst (R).
-- Walker reserved $250,000 worth of TV airtime for a 12-day flight, as scrutiny from prosecutors claiming he was at the center of an illegal scheme erupted into public view. (Politico)
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- A push to expand Medicaid though a ballot initiative in Montana isn't going to happen. Backers said they don't have enough signatures. They needed about 25,000. (Montana Standard)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $7.3 million in May and ended the month with about $46 million in the bank. Democrats need to pick up 17 seats to win back the majority. Strategists in both parties agree that's simply not going to happen. (AP)
-- Republicans filed an ethics complaint against former Florida governor Charlie Crist (D) over his appointment of partner at the law firm he later joined to a judicial nominating commission seat. The Crist camp called the complaint "absurd." (Miami Herald)
-- Targeted Victory, an online ad and data firm that worked for Mitt Romney in 2012, has formed a new partnership with The Data Trust, a right-leaning voter file and data management company. Targeted Victory co-founder Michael Beach said in an interview that in the past, there hasn't been enough effective collaboration between Republican data firms. "Probably one of the biggest challenges on the right is that we didn't really have an ecosystem," he said.
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- There is a notion among some in New York's 13th district, writes Wesley Lowery, that longtime Rep. Charlie Rangel (D) is past his prime. Rangel, who recently turned 84, faces a tough Democratic primary Tusday against state Sen. Adriano Espaillat. Rangel "is not going quietly. He has unleashed pointed attacks at Espaillat and is stressing his ties to the Hispanic community, noting in stump speeches that he is part Puerto Rican. He is making a virtue of his long tenure." (Washington Post)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- The Boston Globe calculated how much Massachusetts candidates for office spent on coffee and donuts over the years. (Hint: a lot.) Dunkin Donuts was by far the most popular place to get them. Candidates spent more than $157,000 there since 2002, according to campaign finance reports. (Boston Globe)
-- Today's World Cup matches: Italy vs. Costa Rica at noon, Switzerland-France at 3 p.m. and Honduras plays Ecuador at 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- A Webster, Texas man said the manager of his apartment complex instructed him to take his American flag down because it was a "threat to the Muslim community." (KHOU)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- Alabama Attorney Luther Strange (R) explained Thursday why he thinks the state should challenge a recent ruling striking down a gay sex ban. "I intend to ask the Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider its decision," he said. (Huntsville Times)