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READ IN: Tuesday, July 8, 2014: Menendez a possible target of Cuban agents, RNC convention decision today, Christie moves away from RGGI, Cantor needs cash and Crist starts advertising

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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.

-- Israeli military forces hit 50 targets in the Gaza Strip late Monday and early Tuesday after Hamas launched about 80 rockets into populated areas in southern Israel. Israel has called up 1,500 reservists and will place two infantry brigades along the Gaza border. (Jerusalem Post, New York Times) President Obama penned an op-ed in Haaretz today calling on both sides to make peace.

-- The White House signaled Monday it would deport most of the unaccompanied minors who have entered the country illegally this year. The Obama administration on Tuesday will make a formal request of Congress for $2 billion in emergency funding to expedite the legal processing of the more than 52,000 children and 39,000 families who have been apprehended this year. That request is separate from statutory changes that would make it easier to deport children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. (Washington Post)

-- Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has asked the Justice Department to investigate evidence uncovered by the CIA that the Cuban government was behind allegations he used underage prostitutes. The CIA found internet protocol addresses linking Cuban agents to the prostitution claims through business allies and lawyers in the Dominican Republic. (Washington Post) Proposed titles for the inevitable movie: "From Rutgers With Love." "On His Majesty's Foreign Relations Committee." "DSCC Another Day."

-- The National Education Association has called for Education Secretary Arne Duncan's resignation. The big-time Democratic ally adopted a resolution at its annual convention in Denver this weekend urging Duncan to go after statements he made supporting a California judge's ruling striking down tenure for public school teachers. Duncan's response: "I always try to stay out of local union politics. I think most teachers do too." (Associated Press)

-- Members of the RNC's site selection committee are likely to decide today whether to hold the 2016 national convention in Dallas or Cleveland. The nine-member committee holds a conference call at 11 a.m. today. A member of the 9-person committee told us the top concern is whether the cities can raise the estimated $68 million it will take to host the week-long event; the RNC is making both cities put money in escrow in advance. (Washington Post)

-- We surveyed about 50 top Republican strategists around the country to see which city they thought should host the 2016 convention. The overwhelming winner: Cleveland, by about a 4-1 margin. Our favorite pro-Cleveland comments: "I am from there and have no objectivity." "Dallas in the summer, a Texas GOP platform right out of the dark ages, state home to Ted Cruz, a growing Hispanic population at odds with the GOP, and not a swing state (yet) versus Cleveland, a large city in The swing state, a somewhat milder climate, a great story of GOP principles in practice under Kasich. Why is this a contest?" "Downside: Elephant costumed delegates could frighten voters in a key swing state."

-- Our favorite pro-Dallas comments: "Since the location of national party conventions have little to do with carrying the host state, why not pick the best site from a logistical and messaging point of view?" "I've always been a huge fan of the Ewings and Southfork Ranch!"

-- Front Pages: WaPo fronts the White House's aggressive tone on immigration. NYT looks at booming prices throughout the economy. L.A. Times leads with sectarian tension in Iraq. WSJ examines insurance gaps among those who have just received coverage. And USA Today fronts a dramatic photo of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.

-- Mississippi: State Sen. Chris McDaniel's (R) campaign began going through records at every county courthouse across the state on Monday, looking for evidence to overturn results of the June 24 runoff election. McDaniel has said his campaign has found at least 5,000 voters who cast ballots in the June 3 Democratic primary before crossing over to choose Republican ballots on June 24. McDaniel's lawyers say a formal challenge could come any day. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger) McDaniel's attorney still features a photo of himself with Sen. Thad Cochran (R) on his website. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Monday night he wants an investigation into possible voter fraud in Mississippi. (Washington Post)

-- New Hampshire: Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) leads both her potential rivals by more than 25 points, according to a new WMUR Granite State Poll, conducted by UNH. Hassan's approval rating stands at 60 percent, while fewer than 10 percent have favorable views of either businessman Walt Havenstein (R) or conservative activist Andrew Hemingway (R). (WMUR)

-- Kansas: In a battle between two candidates friendly to Koch Industries, the company's political wing says it's supporting Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) over his predecessor, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R). Tiahrt announced in May he would challenge Pompeo; the two men met Monday for their first candidate forum, in which both candidates went negative. (Politico, Wichita Eagle) This race fascinates us: Young member in a hurry vs. well-known member who served forever.

-- New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie's (R) administration on Monday published a proposal to repeal rules associated with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade association of Northeastern states New Jersey joined in 2005. Christie said in 2011 he would move to get the state out of the RGGI program, though a lawsuit from environmental groups stalled the process until now. A comment period expires Sept. 5. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

-- North Carolina: Local county elections boards are moving to reduce the number of polling places across the state, raising ire among Democrats and the African American community already concerned with the state of voting rights after the 2013 overhaul that passed the Republican state legislature. The Justice Department has joined the NAACP and the ACLU in asking a federal judge to block parts of the measure. (New York Times, Washington Post) Partisan control of the governor's office determines the makeup of local elections boards, a big deal when it comes to making the rules. The governor's party controls each board by a 2-1 margin.

DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.

-- President Obama meets NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the White House today to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Obama hosts a reception for the diplomatic corps in the East Room this afternoon, before traveling to Denver this evening. Tomorrow, he hosts a fundraiser for Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

-- Vice President Biden attends the meeting with Rasmussen this morning, then has his own set of meetings scheduled for this afternoon at the White House. Biden travels to Philadelphia tomorrow to address the annual congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

-- The House returns at noon today to consider eight measures under suspension. First votes will take place at 6:30 p.m. The House Veterans Affairs Committee hosts VA whistleblowers at a hearing today. The House special committee investigating the attacks on the diplomatic consulate in Benghazi will have a $3.3 million budget, larger than the Veterans Affairs committee's budget. (USA Today)

-- The Senate meets at 10 a.m. This afternoon, they continue debate on S. 2363, Sen. Kay Hagan's (D-N.C.) measure to open more land to hunters and sportsmen.

-- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's campaign aides have been asking colleagues for donations in the wake of his June 10 defeat. Cantor aides have told members he needs to raise $150,000 or more to shut down his campaign committee. Cantor had $1.5 million in his bank account about two weeks before the primary; he will have to file a new report detailing his campaign finances by July 15. (Politico)

TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.

-- Florida: Not so quietly, and not so surprisingly, the gubernatorial race here has been perhaps the most expensive race to date. Gov. Rick Scott's (R) political action committee, Let's Get to Work, has spent more than $13 million on ads so far, while the state Democratic Party has dropped about $2 million on their own spots. Former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) begins his own ad blitz today, with small buys on broadcast stations in Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach; he'll spend a little under $400,000 over the next two weeks.

-- More Florida: A look at some of Let's Get to Work's ads attacking Crist: "4 Years Ago,", "Tuition Increase," and "GOALLLLLL!" (A Spanish-language radio ad). The most trafficked of the Florida Democratic Party's ads: "Answers," which has been running since the middle of June.

-- Crossroads GPS: The 501(c)(4) group will start running two issue ads in Arkansas and Colorado today. Both ads take on votes by Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.). Crossroads will spend $435,000 in Arkansas and $460,000 in Colorado, the group said.

The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.

-- Pro-Russian separatists blew up two bridges between Donetsk, where rebels remain, and Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, where the Ukrainian military forced them out over the weekend, in an effort to make a final stand as Ukrainian government forces advanced. Ukrainian troops are setting up blockades to isolate separatists. (New York Times)

B1: Business, politics and the business of politics

-- Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his wife Landra have been following the growing political influence of the Koch brothers for years. Landra came up with the "addicted to Koch" line Reid has used on the Senate floor, while top Reid aides Faiz Shakir and Adam Jentleson have worked with the Center for American Progress to raise the Koch brothers' profile. Senate Democrats turned to Chip and Dan Heath, two business strategists who advocate identifying enemies, and pollster Geoff Garin to craft the message. (Politico)

-- Markets are trading lower before the bell after minor losses yesterday. Asian and European markets are mostly down today, too, as earnings season kicks off in earnest after the closing bell. (CNN)

C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.

-- The president's private schedule is such a closely held secret it is only delivered to senior staff in hard copy. It must be disposed of in "burn bags," usually reserved for classified documents. At least 9 aides are identified in the White House's annual report to Congress as playing a role in presidential scheduling, led by Danielle White, assistant to the President and director of Scheduling and Advance. (Yahoo News)

-- ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made a rare public appearance at the Mosul Museum after his forces took the city last month, highlighting the risk that thousands -- if not millions -- of antiquities could disappear onto the black market and fuel the Sunni insurgency's war against the government. (Daily Beast)

-- Reid's Take: Thousands of artifacts have already made their way onto the black market. The dirty little secret is that collectors, including Americans, helped fund the early post-war insurgency to the tune of millions of dollars. Your humble author wrote about this for National Journal in 2007, though that story is still behind the paywall.

C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work

-- Drudge Report Shot: "RICK PERRY REFUSES TO GREET PRESIDENT AT AIRPORT..." (Politico) Chaser: "DEMANDS MEETING TO DISCUS CRISIS ON BORDER..." (Austin American-Statesman)

Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.

-- An emerging meme on the right: Liberals hate the "sharing economy," embodied by companies like Craigslist, Uber, Lyft and AirBnB. Taxi driver unions have stood in the way of Uber and Lyft in cities across the country, and the hospitality industry is pushing for regulations on AirBnB. Two recent columns from Townhall's Mary Katharine Ham and ATR's Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason.

Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today

-- The Texas Republican Party platform proposes to nullify federal laws it doesn't like; repeal the Seventeenth Amendment; abolish taxes, the minimum wage, Social Security, the EPA, the Department of Education, Congressional pensions, Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom and the Bill of Rights; and foreign aid. Fresh outrage from Charlie Pierce and Hendrik Hertzberg.

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.

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