Let Me Start: 'Sit down and allow me to ask the question!'

CLASH OF THE LEADERS: "As he stood up to leave, Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, spoke into his mic. “Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman, I have a statement.” Issa ignored him and started to leave while Cummings continue. “Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this. You just cannot do this. We’re better than that as a country, we’re better than that as a committee. I have asked for a few minutes–”

Issa reached over and muted Cummings’ mic as Cummings spoke. Issa eventually returned to his seat and turned the mic back on, telling the rest of the chamber they were free to leave. “We’ve all adjourned, but the gentleman may ask his question,” Issa said." (MSNBC)

Programming note: Rep. Elijah Cummings will join Hardball tonight at 7 p.m. ET on msnbc.

'TONE DOWN': "I asked Gates what he thought about the criticism of Obama by McCain and Graham. “They’re egging him on” to take actions that may not be effective, Gates warned. He said he “discounted” their deeper argument that Obama had invited the Ukraine crisis by not taking a firmer stand on Syria or other foreign policy issues. Even if Obama had bombed Syria or kept troops in Iraq or otherwise shown a tougher face, “he still would have the same options in Ukraine. Putin would have the same high cards.”

Gates, a Republican himself, urged the GOP senators to “tone down” their criticism and “try to be supportive of the president rather than natter at the president.”" (Washington Post)

TEXAS' THREE-RING CIRCUS: "The first primary in what Republicans hope is a triumphant election year sent a message that U.S. Sen Ted Cruz and the tea party still wield considerable influence in one of the nation’s most conservative states.

But to find out exactly how much, Texans will have to wait.

In a primary where an extraordinary number of statewide positions were up for grabs following Gov. Rick Perry’s decision not to seek another term, some incumbent candidates successfully fought to beat back tea party challengers Tuesday. But several candidates who forced runoffs in May were either praised by the outspoken freshman senator, Cruz, or who ran with his no-compromising swagger." (AP)