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First Read Flash: Give 'em Hill

NBC's Michael O'Brien reports on Hillary Clinton's step back into politics with her speech on Monday criticizing "stricter voter ID laws and a recent Supreme

NBC's Michael O'Brien reports on Hillary Clinton's step back into politics with her speech on Monday criticizing "stricter voter ID laws and a recent Supreme Court decision striking down a central component of the Voting Rights Act. Clinton, who is viewed as a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, decried a series of state laws enacted — often by Republicans — to tighten restrictions on who may vote in elections. Clinton criticized a 'sweeping effort to construct new obstacles to voting, often under cover of addressing a phantom epidemic of "election fraud."' And she said that those laws have driven a disparity in access to the ballot, which Clinton claimed threatened to undermine the thrust of the Voting Rights Act, the historic, 1960s-era civil rights legislation."

Voters head to the polls today in the New Jersey special Senate primary, with voting open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. On the rail with frontunner, Cory Booker, NBC's Kasie Hunt got an interview with the Newark mayor, who "defended his role in an Internet video startup company and insisted he's set the standard for transparency during his campaign to become New Jersey’s next senator. 'I do believe we have met requirements for disclosure and transparency and we've gone above and beyond what most of the -- all of the candidates in this race have submitted to in terms of disclosure....I believed in an idea and thought it was great, helped get a business off the ground, which is an experience politicians often don't have. And a lot of people found that interesting and invested in that idea.'"

New York Times: ""Mr. Booker has crisscrossed the state aboard a campaign bus over the past few days, presenting himself as a new breed of solution-minded politician at a time when Washington is mired in old political feuds. In a reminder of his national celebrity, he appeared at one event in Newark alongside the actress Eva Longoria. 'It’s time to send a message to Washington that we need change agents,' he said in a packed auditorium at a senior center in Camden. 'It’s time to send people to Washington who can carry our message.'"

The Newark Star-Ledger looks at what's expected to be record low turnout in the unusual mid-August contest.

The New York Times looks at the decline of congressional town halls over the August recess: "Though Republicans in recent years have harnessed the political power of these open mic, face-the-music sessions, people from both parties say they are noticing a decline in the number of meetings. They also say they are seeing Congressional offices go to greater lengths to conceal when and where the meetings take place."

Are seniors souring on the GOP? The Atlantic's Molly Ball takes a look: "Just 28 percent of voters 65 and older had a favorable view of the Republican Party in a national survey conducted last month by the Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, versus 40 percent who had a positive view of the Democrats. That's a reversal from a poll Greenberg conducted in early 2011, when 43 percent of seniors saw Republicans favorably and 37 percent saw Democrats that way."

MARYLAND. Washington Post: "Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler told a group of campaign volunteers last month that Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, his chief Democratic rival for governor, has a thin record of accomplishment and is trying to rely on his race to get elected next year. 'I mean, right now his campaign slogan is, "Vote for me, I want to be the first African American governor of Maryland,"' Gansler (D) told the group. 'That’s a laudable goal, but you need a second sentence: ‘Because here’s what I’ve done, and here’s why I’ve done it.'"

SOUTH CAROLINA. The Columbia State reports that Republican Gov. Nikki Haley will officially kick-off her re-election bid on Aug. 26 in downtown Greenville, with Sen. Tim Scott emceeing the event, and fellow governors -- and 2016 potential candidates -- Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas, and Bobby Jindal -- also in town for the rally and a subsequent fundraiser.

VIRGINIA. Richmond Times Dispatch: "Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Monday praised the economic development deal that brought the Washington Redskins’ training camp to Richmond, but he sidestepped questions about his involvement in a startup car company that is under a federal securities investigation."

McAuliffe released a new ad, featuring independent GOP former state Del. Katherine Waddell praising McAuliffe's bipartisan work. Republican Ken Cuccinelli released a new ad on Monday, hitting a populist tone in highlighting his economic agenda.

NEW YORK MAYOR. "His poll numbers have plummeted, and his campaign donations have dwindled, but in a wide-ranging interview Monday night, Anthony Weiner appeared defiant, hopeful, and even a bit annoyed by the suggestion that he could possibly lose the New York City mayoral race this fall. 'Coverage has been fairly brutal,' Weiner said during a BuzzFeed Brews interview in New York.....On the topic of the scandal, Weiner blamed himself for the controversy that has ousted his campaign from the top of the polls. 'I did these things. No one did this to me. I did them,' he said, adding that he sees a therapist whenever he can escape the demands of the campaign trail."

Weiner also said "his wife Huma Abedin would have a role in a 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential bid, but acknowledged that his sexting scandals had hurt his spouse 'personally' and 'professionally,'" The Hill reports. "Asked if he knew what role Abedin would play in a possible Clinton campaign, Weiner replied 'I do … I’m not telling you.'"

SAN DIEGO MAYOR. "A group of protesters welcomed Mayor Bob Filner back from behavioral therapy Monday with chants of 'Bob must go!' outside City Hall," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. "Questions about Filner’s spending habits were also raised when the bills from his city-issued credit card showed several apparent meal expenses at the Westgate Hotel, where his bodyguards have told investigators that he took women." And under "things you can't make up" -- the embattled mayor, accused now by more than a dozen women of sexual harrassment, is being represented by the law firm Payne & Fears in Los Angeles.

WEST VIRGINIA. The secret recruit? Roll Call notes that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid teased to a local PBS station that they would have a recruit "announcing shortly" in the open Senate seat where they've struggled to field a candidate in the GOP-leaning state.

GEORGIA. Roll Call: "The National Republican Congressional Committee will start its second television campaign targeting Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., on Tuesday. The advertisement — backed by a modest $10,000 buy in the Augusta media market — seeks to tie Barrow to the president’s health care law, which remains unpopular in Georgia."