TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: Aug. 3

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

President Obama is unveiling a new climate change plan to limit power plant emissions today that is already becoming the subject of controversy on the 2016 campaign trail. Hillary Clinton quickly endorsed the rule, as Republicans lined up to oppose it. In Dana Point, California, this weekend, five GOP presidential contenders gathered to pitch themselves to the Koch Brothers’ political network, including hundreds of well-heeled donors. And though he wasn’t invited, GOP front-runner Donald Trump still loomed large over the event, as candidates struggle with his rise in the polls.

In advance of this week’s GOP debate, 14 candidates will take questions tonight at a New Hampshire Union Leader Forum. A series of new polls released in the next 34 hours will determine who makes the cut in Cleveland on Thursday, as Republican candidates complete a blitz of Fox News and other nationwide media in hopes of getting their poll numbers up.

And amid reports he is now leaning toward running, aides said Vice President Joe Biden is still considering a 2016 bid. But a decision is not expected for more than a month and the VP has personally sent few signals either way about his intentions. Should he get in, he would instantly claim about 15 percent of the Democratic vote, according to recent polling, but his path to topple Clinton remains unknown.

Here are your must-reads:

Uninvited Donald Trump Crashes Koch Retreat in Spirit
His shadow looms large over donor retreat, TIME’s Philip Elliott reports

The Left’s Quest to Create Hundreds of Elizabeth Warrens
TIME’s Sam Frizell reports on progressives eyeing down-ticket races

As Joe Biden Resumes Official Work, So Does Talk About a 2016 Run
No decisions yet [Los Angeles Times]

Obama’s New Climate-Change Regulations to Alter, Challenge Industry
Already a divisive 2016 issue [Wall Street Journal]

Sound Off

“If people don’t like it, that’s just tough luck.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on his record fundraising haul

“Quite a few members of this field have attacked Donald Trump. A lot of folks in the media have asked me ‘Ted Cruz, will you do the same?’ I have been glad to praise Donald Trump for speaking out boldly and brashly and for focusing on illegal immigration.” — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

Bits and Bites

Ted Cruz Says Climate-Change Fears Falsified by Scientists and Politicians [TIME]

Hillary Clinton Praises Mother in First TV Ads of 2016 [TIME]

Iowans to Chris Christie: Take It to Donald Trump [Des Moines Register]

Scott Walker Still Isn’t Sure If President Obama Is Christian [TIME]

Hillary Clinton Releases Eight Years of Tax Returns [TIME]

Jeb Bush’s Camp Sees an Upside to Donald Trump’s Surge in the G.O.P. [New York Times]

Doctor: Hillary Clinton In ‘Excellent’ Physical Condition [TIME]

Sen. Graham Moved Up in Air Force Reserve Ranks Despite Light Duties [Washington Post]

Bush Rolls Out Six-PointPplan to Address Border Security, Illegal Immigration [WMUR]

Obama Had a $3 Golf Bet with House Democrats. Guess Who Won. [Washington Post]

RNC Set to Vote on Anti-Gay Resolutions at Summer Meeting [Washington Blade]

John McCain in New Hampshire: ‘Lindsey Graham, He’s My Man!’ [Washington Post]


Morning Must Reads: July 31

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Republican candidates and their aides are locked in preparations for next week’s inaugural debate, but one thing they can’t control for is Donald Trump, whose presence is likely to dominate a substantial part of the debate. Strategies range from direct engagement and mockery to trying to fly under the radar, and are largely dependent on what Trump’s rivals need to accomplish, or not, next week.

In a preview of one potential general election matchup, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will share the same stage Friday at the National Urban League conference as they each seek to win over black voters. After turning out at record rates for President Obama‘s campaigns, black voters are very much in the mix this time around. Clinton is looking to maintain the Obama coalition, as Bush is hoping to shave off just a few percent in hopes they will boost him to victory.

Bush will use his remarks to highlight his education reform efforts in Florida, as well call for economic growth in urban centers and reforms for the nation’s safety net programs. He will likely also address the ongoing national debate over mistrust between police and the communities they serve. Clinton, after early missteps, has embraced the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which will be key a component of her remarks.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Republicans Debate the Best Way to Debate Donald Trump
TIME goes inside the strategic dilemma the rest of the GOP is facing

Koch Brothers Brave Spotlight to Try to Alter Their Image
The billionaire mega-donors show off their softer side [New York Times]

Congress Takes Off for the Summer, Setting Up an Autumn Showdown
Another shutdown? [Washington Post]

For Young Voters, Crushing Student Debt Is Front And Center
The issue is taking center-stage in New Hampshire as candidates try to adjust [NPR]

Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush to Share Stage at National Urban League
An effort to re-assemble or break the Obama coalition [CNN]

Sound Off

“I think it is regrettable that Republicans are once again trying to undermine, even end those services that so many women have needed and taken advantage of. I think that it’s another effort by the Republicans to try to limit the health care options of women and we should not let them succeed once again.” — Hillary Clinton criticizing GOP efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of several controversial videos

“I think I would get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so.” — Donald Trump

Bits and Bites

Obama Rallies Grassroots to Get ‘Active’ in Iran Deal Organizing [TIME]

Clinton Campaign Complains of’ ‘Egregious’ New York Times Reporting Errors [Politico]

Here’s What the Bernie Sanders Cocktail Tastes Like [TIME]

With Debate and Convention, G.O.P. Looks to Reclaim Ohio in 2016 [New York Times]

Elizabeth Warren Wants You to Run For Office [TIME]

Slide Back in Time with the GOP Candidates [ABC]

Clinton Campaign Donors Also Big Backers of Foundation [Wall Street Journal]

Activists Release Fourth Planned Parenthood Video [TIME]

Sen. Schumer in Tight Spot on Iran Pact [Wall Street Journal]

No, Donald Trump Can’t Land his Helicopter at the Iowa State Fair [Des Moines Register]

Hillary Clinton Delivers ‘Cautious’ Message on Trade to AFL-CIO [Wall Street Journal]


Morning Must Reads: July 30

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

The GOP top-tier is not firmly established going into the first debate. At the top is Donald Trump, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush. Then things get complicated — real complicated. Nine candidates are in a statistical tie in the latest Quinnipiac University Poll for 4th-12th place, making next week’s winnowing of the field to 10 candidates on the first debate state essentially arbitrary if coming polls produce similar results. With 17 GOP candidates declared—former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore entered the race Wednesday—there is unlikely to be a statistically significant polling difference between the person occupying the 10th spot on stage and the 11th person left off it.

Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server that allegedly contained classified information opens up a legal can of worms for the former Secretary of State if investigators determine that she knew the information was classified. The controversy is already leading to a major hit to her national poll numbers, as Bush and Walker now poll even with Clinton in hypothetical general election match-ups. Clinton’s favorability and trustworthiness ratings are also at new lows.

Elsewhere in politics, Rick Perry has an unusual challenge for Donald Trump, and Ben Carson‘s surgeon’s hands breeze through a game of “Operation.”

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Donald Trump Dominates in New National Republican Poll
Nine candidates in a statistical tie for 4th place [TIME]

Facebook Expands in Politics, and Campaigns Find Much to Like
The new advertising “monster” [New York Times]

Clinton’s Planned Parenthood ties run deep
Videos are “disturbing,” she says, but Clinton has long been a supporter [Politico]

The Legal Question Over Hillary Clinton’s Secret Emails
Her exposure depends on what she knew, TIME’s Massimo Calabresi writes

Koch Network Takes Cue from Obama Playbook
A 1,000-strong ground game more than a year from Election Day [Washington Post]

UBS Deal Shows Clinton’s Complicated Ties [Wall Street Journal]
Donations to family foundation increased after secretary of state’s involvement in tax case

Sound Off

“Let’s get a pull-up bar out there and see who can do more pull-ups.” — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry challenges Donald Trump

“She wanted to breast pump in front of me and I may have said that’s disgusting, I may have said something else. I thought it was terrible. She’s a vicious, horrible person.” — Donald Trump on lawyer Elizabeth Beck, with whom he allegedly clashed with over breastfeeding

Bits and Bites

Hillary Clinton Losing Strength in New National Polling [TIME]

Facts in Clinton’s ‘Secret’ Emails Came From Five Intelligence Agencies [McClatchy]

The Trumpification of Congress [TIME]

How to Beat ‘Operation’ With Ben Carson [IJ Review]

Bernie Sanders Hosts Biggest Organizing Event of 2016 So Far [TIME]

Hillary Clinton to Call for Lifting Cuba Embargo [TIME]

James Gilmore, Ex-Virginia Governor, Files Papers to Run for President [New York Times]

Donald Trump Says His Past Politics Were Transactional [Wall Street Journal]

Judge Explodes Over Hillary Email Delays [Politico]

Planned Parenthood Website Hacked [CNN]


Morning Must Reads: July 29

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard will be released later this year, fulfilling a long-held request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The White House said it played no role in the parole decision, but speculation that it was tied to the Iran nuclear deal abounds. Republican Rep. Mark Meadows motioned Tuesday to overthrow Speaker of the House John Boehner amid frequent clashes between the GOP leader and the conservative wing of his conference. The motion is all-but-certain to fail, but it is another embarrassment to Boehner.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is signaling he will leave the Florida primary to the dueling campaigns of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. The two native sons are locked in a pitched battle for the state’s delegates, and the outcome on March 15 may be one of the most decisive moments of next year’s primary season. Rubio, for his part, is laying low during a season of candidates making more and more outlandish statements to get attention. Content with running below the radar, the freshman senator with broad appeal needs to pick his moment to break out — and hope that his would-be supporters are still around.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Marco Rubio Takes Low-Key Approach

But when will he break out? [New York Times]

GOP congressman launches bid to oust John Boehner as House speaker

A mutiny attempt on the House floor [Washington Post]

Israeli Spy Pollard Will Be Released by U.S. in November
The White House says it was not a concession to Israel [Wall Street Journal]

Under Oath, Donald Trump Shows His Raw Side

Legal records paint unflattering portrait [New York Times]

Rand Paul defends campaign during N.H. swing

Stagnant, Paul says he’s playing the long game [Boston Globe]

What We Can Learn From Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Dick Cheney on 9/11

A never-before-seen look at a White House during crisis [TIME]

Sound Off

“Imagine a NASCAR driver mentally preparing for a race knowing one of the drivers will be drunk. That’s what prepping for this debate is like” —John Weaver, strategist for Ohio Gov. John Kasich on preparing for the GOP debate.

“This is President Obama’s decision and I’m not going to second-guess him. If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.” —Hillary Clinton, once again punting on the Keystone XL pipeline Tuesday.

Bits and Bites

Watch the Trailer for Michael Bay’s Benghazi Thriller ’13 Hours’ [Wall Street Journal]

Walker Tells Private Group He’ll Skip Florida Primary [RealClearPolitics]

The Kochs freeze out Donald Trump [Politico]

White House Responds to Petition Urging Obama to Pardon Edward Snowden [TIME]

Former members of Congress not invited to pope’s speech [Washington Post]

Small Businesses Bear Burden of Ex-Im Bank Shutdown [Wall Street Journal]

Feds call meeting with Christie and Cuomo to discuss new transit tunnel [Bergen Record]

The Unique Challenges of Vetting Hillary Clinton’s Email [Wall Street Journal]



Morning Must Reads: July 28

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

In the latest indication in recent months of corporate America wading in to provoke social change, Facebook and other corporate bigwigs are backing new protections for LGBT Americans, TIME’s Philip Elliott reports. This comes after the business community played a major role in halting a proposed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in Indiana over concerns it would sanction discrimination and encouraging South Carolina to remove the Confederate battle flag from its capital grounds.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is fading in the polls and in his influence in the GOP race. Overshadowed by Donald Trump, and marginalized on national security issues by a Republican base that has grown more hawkish with the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, Paul is resorting to stunts, like taking a chainsaw to the tax code, in order to get attention.

President Obama took a swing at his would-be GOP successors’ inflammatory rhetoric on Monday, which only emboldened those he criticized. In his first extended Spanish-language interview of the campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke of the time his children were taunted for their skin tone. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is unveiling her climate change plan, but is remaining silent on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. And Obama, speaking at the African Union Tuesday morning, lamented not being able to run for another term. “I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” he said. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t.”

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Facebook, Corporate Giants Back New LGBT Protections
TIME’s Phil Elliott with the exclusive

President Obama Says GOP Criticism ‘Ridiculous’
Obama responds to Republican rhetoric [TIME]

U.S. Prepares to Fly Deeper into Syrian Civil War
TIME’s Mark Thompson on the latest anti-ISIS plan

‘The Most Interesting Man in Politics’ Isn’t Drawing Much Interest in New Hampshire
Rand Paul’s influence is waning [Washington Post]

Jabbing at Republican Rivals, Jeb Bush Calls for Civility
Having it both ways [New York Times]

Sound Off

“We are very Hispanic, in that we speak Spanish in the house. Columba is a good Mexican, proud of her citizenship of this country, of course, but we eat Mexican food in the home. My children are Hispanic in many aspects. We don’t talk about it, but the Hispanic influence is an important part of my life.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaking in Spanish in an interview with Telemundo

“I will refrain from commenting because I had a leading role in getting that process started and we have to let it run its course.” — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline during remarks about climate change

Bits and Bites

Donald Trump Is Not as Aggressive on Immigration As He Sounds [TIME]

Jon Stewart’s Secret White House Visits [Politico]

N.S.A. Will Not Be Allowed to Keep Old Phone Records [New York Times]

Jewish Americans Support the Iran Nuclear Deal [Washington Post]

Bush, Cruz, Rubio and Walker to Court Koch Donors [Politico]

Arizona Senator May be Best Shot for Bipartisan Support of Iran Deal [Wall Street Journal]

Trump Slams Walker as Governor Leads in Early Voting Iowa [Associated Press]




Morning Must Reads: July 27

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

With just 10 days to the first GOP debate, the Republican National Committee is defending its efforts to take control of the debates process that will leave six candidates off the main stage next week. In anticipation of the culling, which will be determined by position in nationally polling, the candidates on the bubble are going up on television, increasing their travel schedule, and dialing up their rhetoric to gain attention. For instance, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee resorted to invoking the Holocaust over the weekend in a bid to highlight his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is out with the first leg of her climate change plan, but she can’t outrun lingering questions over her use of private email while at the State Department. A pair of inspector generals said Friday that there were at least four instances of classified information being found on her unsecured server in violation of handling rules. And she and the House Benghazi Committee remain locked in a war of words over the conditions under which she will testify later this year.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Officials: Classified Emails ‘Should Never’ Have Been On Hillary Clinton Server
More questions for Clinton over private email use [TIME]

Donald Trump Staffers Eye Third-Party Run
TIME’s Philip Elliott reports on the candidate’s flirtations with an independent run

Hillary Clinton Unveils Far-Reaching Climate Change Plan
500 million new solar panels by 2020 [New York Times]

Senate Smackdown: Ted Cruz, Mike Lee Efforts Squelched by Leaders
Drama in the Senate chamber [Politico]

Republicans Alter Script on Abortion, Seeking to Shift Debate
The GOP goes on offense after controversial videos emerge [New York Times]

Sound Off

“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama.

“I think every state should strengthen their laws. Every state should make sure this information is being reported in the background system. We need to make sure that background system is working. Absolutely, in this instance, this man never should have been able to buy a gun.” — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on CBS “Face the Nation” after last week’s mass shooting in Lafayette

Bits and Bites

John McCain to Campaign for Lindsey Graham Next Week [TIME]

Dispute Continues Over Hillary Clinton Testifying Before Benghazi Panel [TIME]

Here’s Jeb Bush’s Underwhelming Review of Sharknado 3 [TIME]

George Pataki Is Wearing Two Hats: Presidential Candidate and Cattleman
[Wall Street Journal]

Jeb Bush to Seek Latino Support in Central Florida [Washington Post]

Marco Rubio, Absentee Senator [Politico]

American Crossroads Gears Up for 2016 Elections, Aims to Stay Top GOP Super PAC [Wall Street Journal]

Exodus from Puerto Rico Could Upend Florida Vote in 2016 Presidential Race [Washington Post]

GOP: It’s No Longer Playing Catch-Up to Clinton on Tech Outreach [San Francisco Chronicle]

Where Candidates Stash Their Cash [Bloomberg]




Morning Must Reads: July 24

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Two inspectors general have requested that the Department of Justice open a criminal investigation into the handling of classified information surrounding Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server while at the State Department. There are no indications yet that Clinton herself is the subject of the potential probe, but it is the latest embarrassment for Clinton on a sensitive subject that goes to her trustworthiness. The State Department has previously redacted some documents contained on her server as classified, but only marked them such after the fact.

President Obama has embarked on a four-day trip to Kenya and Ethiopia — a trip of many firsts — that will take him back to his father’s homeland. Obama is expected to deliver a speech on Sunday that references his complex personal relationship with Kenya. In an interview with the BBC, Obama lamented that he has yet to make significant progress on gun control reforms in the U.S., just hours before another mass shooting in Louisiana.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush criticized former Maryland New Jersey Gov. Martin O’Malley for apologizing for saying “all lives matter” during a “Black Lives Matter” protest. Chris Christie is out with a new television ad criticizing the Iran nuclear agreement. And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal comes under fire for having his state pick up some of his campaign travel tab.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

President Obama Heads to Kenya and Ethiopia for Trip Filled with Firsts
TIME’s Maya Rhodan previews the Obama visit

Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account
Classified information on server draws legal scrutiny [New York Times]

Hillary Clinton, Republicans Play Different 2016 Gender Cards
The Clinton campaign sees an opportunity, TIME’s Jay Newton Small writes

#BlackLivesMatter Is Winning the 2016 Democratic Primary
TIME’s Sam Frizell reports on how the movement is changing Democrats’ rhetoric

How Donald Trump Cashes in Even When His Name-Brand Properties Fail
It’s all about celebrity [Washington Post]

Sound Off

“Certainly not to Vader. I was always a Han Solo guy. And when it comes to comics, I was more of a Spider-Man guy.” — Sen. Ted Cruz asked by the New York Times Magazine whether he’s been attracted to anti-heroes

“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient commonsense gun safety laws even in the face of repeated mass killings.” — President Obama in an interview with the BBC

Bits and Bites

Hillary Clinton to Call For the Raising of Some Capital Gains Taxes [TIME]

Donald Trump Unapologetic on Visit to U.S.-Mexico Border [TIME]

Chris Christie Sidesteps Questions on N.J. Transit Train Delays [New York Times]

Mike Huckabee Trolls Hillary and Bill Clinton to Tap Republican Id [TIME]

Bush Says O’Malley Should Not Have Apologized for Saying ‘White Lives Matter’ [Yahoo]

U.S. to Step Up Battle Against Corporate Espionage [Wall Street Journal]

Lawmakers to Introduce Historic LGBT Non-Discrimination Bills [TIME]

Hillary Clinton to Return to the Hamptons for Vacation [New York Times]

Lieutenant Governor to Jindal: End State Spending on Campaign Travel [Associated Press]

New Chris Christie Ad Attacks Obama on Iran Deal


Morning Must Reads: July 23

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush sit down with TIME’s Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy exclusively for this week’s cover story, exploring the dynamics of two patriarchs of American politics watching loved ones compete for their old job. They tell TIME that they are not rushing to play large roles in 2016, but that they will help when and if asked, which makes sense, since both are double-edged swords for Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, respectively. Clinton’s dynamism on the road serves to highlight his wife’s discomfort with retail campaigning, while the elder Bush is still tainted from his time in office.

Donors who have given to multiple campaigns do it for a multitude of reasons, usually boiling down to helping their friends, raising questions about the role of money in politics when it’s no longer about supporting a candidate. Republican fire against Donald Trump is escalating, with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry calling him a cancer on the GOP and Lindsey Graham undeterred by Trump releasing his phone number to the masses. Trump will visit the U.S.-Mexico border today, where things are expected to get heated. And John Kasich and Hillary Clinton had an unlikely meeting in 1993 to discuss healthcare reform that colors today’s debate.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and the American Game of Thrones
TIME’s Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy talk to the two ex-presidents on the cover of this week’s magazine

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush’s Plan for 2016
The former commanders-in-chief aren’t rushing to play a big role this cycle, they tell TIME.

Here’s Why These Donors Gave to Both Hillary Clinton and a Republican
It’s about helping their friends, TIME’s Tessa Berenson explains

The On-Demand Economy Takes Workers for a Ride
TIME’s Katy Steinmetz goes behind the scenes on 2016’s newest campaign issue

Inside the Next Social Security Crisis
American women are bearing the brunt of the retirement crunch, TIME’s Haley Sweetland Edwards reports

Africa Trip Takes Obama Back to a Complex Part of Himself
Obama returns to his father’s birthplace [New York Times]

Sound Off

“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that I have woken up in cold sweats wondering how I’m going to deal with a Donald Trump who’s not listening.” — Fox News anchor and 2016 GOP debate moderator Bret Baier to TIME’s Michael Scherer on how he will keep time with Trump on stage

“He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued. Let no one be mistaken – Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry taking his criticism of Trump to the next level

Bits and Bites

Hillary Clinton Dined With John Kasich Over Healthcare Reform—In 1993 [TIME]

Donald Trump: As President, ‘I’ll Change My Tone’ [CNN]

Jeb Bush’s Reform Myth [Politico]

Why Hillary Clinton and Her Rivals Are Struggling to Grasp Black Lives Matter [Washington Post]

Can Congress Pass Criminal Justice Reform? [TIME]

Unmanned Aerial Vengeance: Drone Takes Out Terrorist Linked to Marine’s Killing [TIME]

Watch What Donald Trump Made Lindsey Graham Do to His Phone [TIME]

What Did Hillary Clinton Talk About During Those Speeches? Cookies, Cars, Camp [Wall Street Journal]

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 22

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Two weeks out from the first GOP presidential debate, Donald Trump‘s candidacy has dominated news headlines and TV airwaves with his nothing-to-lose bombast. On Tuesday, his feud with Sen. Lindsey Graham escalated when he read the hawkish lawmaker’s personal cell phone number on live television in retribution for Graham calling him a “jackass.” With Trump still riding high in the polls and likely to earn a spot at center-stage in Cleveland, Republican candidates are struggling with how to handle the volatile threat in their midst. None wants to be seen as deferring to the real estate magnate and reality television star, but going on offense has risks of its own. But the weekend’s showdown with Sen. John McCain has made the prospects of fireworks all the more likely. Get your popcorn.

Conservatives are rallying over a series of videos purporting to show a Planned Parenthood doctor negotiating over the price for the tissue of aborted fetuses. The group claims the videos have been edited unfairly, but GOP presidential candidates and House Speaker John Boehner are calling for investigations into the revelations, igniting a controversial debate going into a presidential year.

On the lighter side: Seeking attention, Sen. Rand Paul used a chainsaw to destroy a pile of papers representing the federal tax code. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been caught flip-flopping on his favorite New Jersey rock star. And try your hand at our new Donald Trump insult generator.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

How George W. Bush Made Both Barack Obama and Jon Stewart Possible
TIME’s Philip Elliott explores the dynamic as Obama and Stewart meet no air for a final time

With Planned Parenthood Videos, Activist Ignites Abortion Issue
Republicans prepare to go on the offensive [New York Times]

Donald Trump Heaps Insults on Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Other Foes
Gives out Graham’s cell phone on live television [TIME]

Lawmakers, White House Explore Tax Revamp for U.S. Firms Overseas
Effort to fund highway bill shows early signs of bipartisan progress [Wall Street Journal]

Will GOP Debate Be the Trump Show?
Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Definitely, yes. [Politico]

Sound Off

“Bon Jovi.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to conservative radio host Laura Ingraham flip flops when asked to choose between Bruce Springsteen and his fellow New Jersey rock star.

“I can’t believe you’re leaving before me. I’m going to issue an executive order. Jon Stewart cannot leave the show. It’s being challenged in the courts.” — President Obama on his final appearance on The Daily Show. Stewart, who will leave the air next month, replied, “to me this is a state’s rights issue.”

Bits and Bites

Donald Trump Insult Generator [TIME]

O’Malley Moves Wall Street Speech So He Can Meet the Press on his Own Terms [Washington Post]

Obama’s Plan for Guantánamo Is Seen Faltering [New York Times]

As Lockheed Gobbles Up Sikorsky, Are Defense-Contractor Giants Getting Too Big? [TIME]

Rand Paul Destroys the Tax Code With a Chainsaw

Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman Joins Chris Christie Campaign as National Finance Co-Chair [Bloomberg]

Conservative Airwaves Grapple With Donald Trump, Aiding His Rise [New York Times]

Parents Are Campaign-Trail Rivals, But Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton Are Pals [LA Times]

Old Senate Colleagues Critical of Kerry’s Work on Iran [Boston Globe]

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 21

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Finally, they’re all in. Ohio Gov. John Kasich becomes the 16th major Republican presidential candidate today when he announces at The Ohio State University. Brash and outspoken, the governor is hoping his announcement will be enough to boost his name recognition to get him in the first debate in just two weeks. Kasich is something of a hybrid candidate: Bucking party orthodoxy, Kasich expanded Medicaid in his state and has frequently clashed with conservatives in the GOP, but he launched a fight against his state’s public sector unions. He’s hoping his style gains traction in New Hampshire, where he may be the worst thing to happen to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The Iran nuclear agreement has become the first major battleground for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The pair are squaring off over what they will pledge to do on their hypothetical first day in office, with Walker suggesting he’s prepared to strike on Day 1 and Bush advocating a more cautious approach. With tens of millions of dollars (and more than $100 million in Bush’s case), this is only the beginning. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a Facebook Q&A Monday in which she embraced the “Black Lives Matter” movement after stumbles by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley over the weekend. She also quipped about her love for pantsuits and fired off at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who suggested she was playing the “gender card.” And President Obama makes his final appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight.

Here are your must-reads:

Jeb Calls For ‘Disrupting’ Government
Targeting lobbyists and bureaucrats, Bush pledges to modernize Washington [TIME]

Like It or Not, Donald Trump Is News
TIME’s James Poniewozik on his rise.

Bush-Walker Dispute Catches Fire Over Iran Nuclear Deal
The gloves come off over what to do on “day one” [Weekly Standard]

John Kasich Keeps It Real, Maybe Too Real
The latest candidate doesn’t shy away from speaking his mind [Yahoo News]

Democratic Party Machinery Shows Rust
Midterm losses highlight the party’s troubles in the states [Wall Street Journal]

Sound Off

“I don’t want a pollster. Because if a pollster’s so good, why aren’t they running? I don’t need a pollster, I don’t want a pollster.” — Donald Trump to the New York Times on his untraditional campaign

“There are so many men and some women who have served and sacrificed who happened to have been held prisoner — to denigrate that service I think is offensive to most of our veterans.” — Sen. John McCain on Trump’s criticism of him in an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe

Bits and Bites

Judge Slams State Department Over Hillary Clinton-Related Records [Politico]

Scott Walker Proposes Shutting Wisconsin Ethics Board [New York Times]

Sarah Palin Says Donald Trump and John McCain Are Both Heroes [TIME]

Hillary Clinton Bashes Wall Street, But Only a Little [Washington Post]

Groups Supporting Scott Walker Have Raised $26 Million [Washington Post]

Hillary Clinton Holds a Facebook Q&A

What Donald Trump Was Up to While John McCain Was a Prisoner of War [Washington Post]

NRA: Give Guns to Military Recruiters [CNN]

Fox News Changes Plans for GOP Forum [Politico]

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