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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- Iran has endorsed Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi, leaving incumbent Nouri al-Maliki without supporters as he fights to hold on to power. A new team of U.S. Marines and Special Operations forces landed in Irbil, bringing the number of troops and military advisors dispatched by the Pentagon to about 900. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signaled Tuesday the U.S. may be laying groundwork for a more ambitious rescue mission. (Washington Post)
-- Ferguson, Mo., police chief Thomas Jackson said Tuesday he will not release the name of the officer who shot and killed an unarmed African American teenager on Saturday, after threats made against the officer and the town's police department on social media. The FAA banned aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet over Ferguson after county helicopters were shot at. A St. Louis County police officer shot and wounded a man police said pointed a gun at him overnight. Protestors marched to the St. Louis County prosecutor's office on Tuesday. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, New York Times)
-- The World Health Organization said this week the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone had surpassed 1,000. Authorities have recorded more than 1,800 cases. Another 69 people were infected between Aug. 7-9. (Associated Press)
-- The Department of Health and Human Services has mailed letters to 310,000 people in three dozen states that rely on the federal Healthcare.gov exchange, warning them that they must send copies of documents proving their citizenship or immigration status by Sept. 5 in order to stay eligible for health care insurance. There are still about 2 million cases in which applications still have discrepancies. (Washington Post)
-- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called President Obama on Tuesday to assure him comments she made in an interview with The Atlantic were not meant as criticism. The two will be at the same party tonight, hosted by Democratic lobbyist Vernon Jordan, on Martha's Vineyard. (Washington Post)
-- Front Pages: WaPo and NYT lead with the political standoff in Iraq. WSJ and USA Today lead with the military standoff, and a potential U.S.-led rescue mission. LA Times leads with the reappointment of Police Chief Charlie Beck, with a big follow-up on Robin Williams taking up most real estate above the fold.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- Connecticut: Businessman and 2010 nominee Tom Foley (R) bested state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R) by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin to win the right to take on Gov. Dan Malloy (D) in November. Malloy's approval ratings are low enough to make Democrats worried. Party nominees in all five Congressional races were unopposed in their primaries (How rare is that?). (Results here)
-- Minnesota: Finance executive Mike McFadden (R) easily outpaced the field, winning 72 percent of the vote and the Republican nomination against Sen. Al Franken (D). Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R) took 30 percent of the gubernatorial vote, a bare plurality that pits him against Gov. Mark Dayton (D) this November. Former state Rep. Tom Emmer (R) took 73 percent to win the Republican nomination in the 6th District, where Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) is retiring. (Results here)
-- Wisconsin: Madison County School Board member Mary Burke (D) easily won the Democratic gubernatorial primary with 83 percent of the vote, setting up a fall showdown with Gov. Scott Walker (R). State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R) leads state Sen. Joe Leibham (R) by just 215 votes in the contest for an open 6th District seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Petri (R). A recount is likely. (Results here, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
-- More Wisconsin: Milwaukee County voters delivered a narrow victory for the National Rifle Association over former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Tuesday in a local race that attracted big spending. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a conservative who won election four years ago as a Democrat, won renomination by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin, with absentee votes left to count. Liberal groups, including Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC, spent more than $550,000 trying to beat Clarke. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
-- Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D) official office paid $3,200 to charter a plane to take her to a fundraiser in Lake Charles, La., last November. Official funds covering campaign travel is, of course, a violation of federal law. A spokesman said the charter company mistakenly billed the Senate office, and the campaign has since paid the bill. (CNN)
-- Mississippi: State Sen. Chris McDaniel's (R) legal team has flagged hundreds of what it believes are illegal or irregular votes from the June 24 runoff, including those of Mitch and Sloane Tyner -- McDaniel's own lawyer and his wife. McDaniel's camp also flagged Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) and Jordan Russell, Sen. Thad Cochran's (R) campaign spokesman, for casting irregular votes. McDaniel said he expects to file a legal challenge to the runoff results today. (Jackson Clarion Ledger)
-- Arkansas: Bill Clinton will headline a fundraiser Friday at the Capital Hotel in downtown Little Rock, benefitting the state Democratic Party. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) and Virgin Islands Gov. John de Jongh (D) will also attend. (Associated Press) Clinton has quietly reasserted himself in his home state by holding fundraisers or campaigning for gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross (D), Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and congressional candidates Pat Hays (D) and James Lee Witt (D). But we all know de Jongh is the real draw here.
-- California: Voters will likely decide on a $7.2 billion water bond package after Gov. Jerry Brown (D), the state Farm Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce announced a last-minute agreement on Tuesday. The package needs two-thirds support in the Assembly and the state Senate by the end of today to make the ballot; it would issue $7 billion in new debt for water storage and delivery and redirect another $200 million from previous bond sales. (Bloomberg)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama, Vice President Biden and everyone else is on vacation. The only one working, it seems, is Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who travels to Pittsburgh today for an event on early learning.
-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has traveled to 21 states as RGA chairman, and he's got 5 more on the schedule by the end of this month, including Maine, Alabama and Mississippi. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.
-- DCCC: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is up with its first fall ads, running in New Jersey's open 3rd District and Rep. Michael Grimm's (R-N.Y.) 11th District. Later this month, they'll step into Georgia's 12th District, where Rep. John Barrow (D) faces yet another tough fight.
-- NRCC: The National Republican Congressional Committee also kicked off its fall advertising blitz on Tuesday. The committee is running ads in Rep. Steve Southerland's (R-Fla.) 2nd District. On Friday, they kick off a 1,000-point blitz against Barrow in Georgia.
-- Michigan: Freedom Partners, the Koch brothers affiliate laying out big bucks on Senate races, has canceled air time it reserved on behalf of former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R). (Washington Examiner) The NRSC bought $1.5 million in cable and broadcast ads set to run Aug. 26 to Sept. 22. (The Hill) Freedom Partners had reserved $715,000 in ads for Land this month. A source tells us they wanted to avoid duplication among various outside groups backing Land.
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- Quotes of the day, courtesy Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R): "I can't feel my fingers," said Mackenzie Goodyk, after shaking Perry's hand. Perry's review of his own performance on the Register's Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair: "I'm awesome!" And Perry's advice to "no one in particular" after wolfing down chicken strips, fries, lemonade and country-fried bacon: "Don't lick your fingers in public." (Des Moines Register)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Smart take from GOP operative Mark Harris: "Nothing has done more to ruin young press operatives than Twitter. The basic blocking and tackling of press has been lost to the instantaneous food fight of the social media site famous for its 140-character delivery. ... As all encompassing as Twitter seems in the Beltway Bubble, many voters, especially older voters who are your most reliable voting demographic, don’t use it. Some have no idea what Twitter is."
-- "Campaign communication plans need to be balanced with both traditional and new media, which means we need operatives who are balanced, and most importantly, know how to filter out the noise. As operatives we have to remember that Twitter is not a representative sample. One or two Twitter loudmouths can make minor issues seem tremendously important when they are, in fact, completely irrelevant." (Campaigns & Elections)
-- Stock futures are up about half a percentage point before the bell after markets eased down slightly on Tuesday. World markets are trading higher almost across the board today. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- The Justice Department has intervened in more than two dozen local or state law enforcement departments in the last two decades. DOJ has signed consent agreements with 21 police departments since 1997, most often involving departmental relations with minority communities. The latest is Ferguson, Mo., where 18 year old Michael Brown was shot and killed over the weekend. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- The 31 million Americans who participate in fantasy football may cost the U.S. economy $13 billion in lost productivity this year, according to the Chicago-based firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. That's less than 1 percent of wages paid during the final quarter of the year, not enough to cause a measurable dip in GDP. Banning fantasy sports at work, the firm said, would likely cost enough morale that productivity would suffer anyway. (Chicago Tribune)
-- Speaking of lost productivity, spend some time this afternoon building your own California! The ballot initiative that would split the Golden State into six smaller states inspired this interactive map from the L.A. Times that allows you to build your own state within California's borders.
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- The Empire State Building on Tuesday lit up in blue in an effort to win over representatives from the Democratic National Committee, in town to check out venues in advance of the 2016 convention. That decision apparently violated the building's own policies against illuminating for political figures or campaigns. (CNS News)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- A new study from the Stockholm Environmental Institute says the environmental impact of the Keystone XL pipeline could result in up to 110 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, as much as four times more than the State Department forecasted in its own report. The State Department did not consider increased production associated with the pipeline's access to market, the researchers said. (ThinkProgress)