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First Read Flash: Ted Cruz vs. the world

New York Times: "The Senate’s Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, delivered a broadside this week to advocates of the House plan to tie future government

New York Times: "The Senate’s Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, delivered a broadside this week to advocates of the House plan to tie future government financing to the gutting of President Obama’s health care law, starting the clock on a showdown that could be decided on the eve of the potential government shutdown next Tuesday. Facing opposition from the Senate’s most conservative hard-liners, Mr. Reid has set up a series of procedural tallies, starting on Wednesday, that should culminate on Sunday in votes to remove language from the House spending bill that would strip funding from the Affordable Care Act and then to pass a spending measure to keep the government operating through mid-December. It would be up to House Republican leaders to accept that Senate bill or precipitate a shutdown."

Washington Post: "Ted Cruz began a frantic effort Monday to bend the Senate to his will by employing tactics that have earned him mostly enemies in his less than nine months in the chamber.....His burgeoning fame among the grass roots of his party has not translated into anything resembling success inside the tradition-bound and clubby Senate, where even in today’s highly partisan atmosphere lawmakers usually begin their rejoinders by referring to a political enemy as the 'distinguished gentleman.'"

The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board again takes on Cruz: "The Lee-Cruz strategy, to the extent it's about more than fund-raising lists or getting face time on cable TV, seems to be that if the House holds "firm" amid a shutdown, then the public will eventually blame Mr. Obama and the Democrats, who will then fold and defund ObamaCare. Or, short of that, Democrats might agree to delay the health-care law for another year past its launch date on October 1....If they do succeed and defund ObamaCare, we'll gladly give them due credit. But if things don't go well, let's not hear any excuses about "the surrender caucus" or claims that it would all have worked out if only everyone were as brave and principled as the generals up at HQ."

And Roll Call notes that Cruz "has not been engaged in his role as vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to multiple sources familiar with GOP politics, and a growing number of Republicans are frustrated that the freshman senator has aligned himself with a group actively attacking their incumbent colleagues. Cruz’s profile has elevated in recent weeks with his aggressive campaign against the president’s health care law...But his position with the NRSC as vice chairman for grass-roots outreach — which these sources said never was clearly defined in the first place — seems in tension with his work with the SCF. And his lack of involvement at the NRSC raises the question of why he would want to be affiliated with the group at all."

NBC News: "The Senate's top Republican won't oppose moving forward with the House-passed legislation to fund the government, breaking with Ted Cruz and conservatives on a key procedural issue. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that McConnell would not vote to block legislation passed last week by the House that would both fund the government past Sept. 30, but also strip funding for 'Obamacare'....McConnell's deputy, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, joined with the Kentucky senator."

New York Times: "At the climax of each of the fiscal crises that have paralyzed the nation’s capital since the Republican landslide of 2010," McConnell, "the wily Kentuckian who leads the Senate Republicans, has stepped in to untangle the seemingly hopeless knots threatening the economy. But as Congress trudges toward its next budget showdown, the Mr. Fix-It of Washington is looking more like its Invisible Man as he balances his leadership imperatives with his re-election."

Politico: "Obama will kick off his administration’s six-month rollout of Obamacare during a 'conversation' Tuesday with former President Bill Clinton. With the Obamacare insurance exchanges set to open Oct. 1, the White House is deploying the president, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Cabinet secretaries to encourage consumers to sign up for coverage before enrollment closes March 31, 2014. In addition to Tuesday’s event at the Clinton Global Initiative summit in Manhattan, Obama will deliver a 'very personal speech' Thursday in Maryland on the 'real-life impact of this law,' a senior White House official said Monday."

USA Today: "President Obama will deliver his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly today, where he's expected to speak directly about recent overtures made by the Iranian government to try to end a decade of crippling international sanctions for its nuclear program. Obama and Iran's new president, Hasan Rouhani, are not scheduled to meet before Obama leaves New York tonight, but the White House confirmed on Monday that Secretary of State John Kerry, along with his counterparts from six other major powers negotiating to contain Iran's nuclear program, will meet Thursday with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss the program.

CALIFORNIA: Los Angeles Times: "Still shaken by the chaotic nine months of Bob Filner's tenure, including his feud with the tourism industry and his orders to halt several construction projects, Republicans are determined to see the mayor's office returned to GOP hands."

KENTUCKY: Louisville Courier Journal: "Ed Marksberry, who said last spring that he planned to run in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, announced Monday that he will file to run as an independent. He has been displeased with the state Democratic Party for what he contends is its support of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in the race. But his primary reason for the change, he said, is so he can run an independent campaign in which he doesn’t have to worry about what the party or corporate interests want."

MAINE: National Journal: "Maine has a long tradition of supporting independent candidates, most recently with Sen. Angus King in 2012. But when independent candidate Eliot Cutler launches his second gubernatorial run in Maine on Tuesday, he'll be greeted with Democratic criticisms that he's helping hand the race to Republican Gov. Paul LePage."

MASSACHUSETTS: Boston Globe: "Voters are flocking to the polls today in chilly, bright weather to cast ballots in a preliminary election that will winnow the field of 12 mayoral candidates to two hopefuls who will face off in a final election on Nov. 5. The election is the first wide-open mayoral race in a generation because of the decision by long-time Mayor Thomas M. Menino" to not run for a sixth term. "Political observers say that none of the candidates has had a break-through moment that captured the imagination of masses of voters and that the race is likely to come down to a house-by-house fight in which 20,000 to 25,000 votes could earn someone a spot in the final."

NEW JERSEY: Newark Star Ledger: "A new poll on the U.S. Senate race suggests Cory Booker's expected blowout over Steve Lonegan may not be in the bag. The Quinnipiac University poll shows Republican Lonegan trailing Democrat Booker by a closer-than-expected 12 points. The survey of of 948 likely voters shows Booker with 53 percent support to Lonegan’s 41 percent."

NORTH CAROLINA: Raleigh News & Observer: "State Senate leader Phil Berger will not seek the Republican Party nomination for U.S. Senate. His decision leaves House Speaker Thom Tillis as the most prominent Republican candidate seeking to challenge Kay Hagan."

OREGON: Portland Oregonian: "Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum is considering a Republican primary race against Rep. Greg Walden," the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman "who has been in office for nearly 15 years. Linthicum, who announced his interest last week at his weekly public meeting, presents himself as running to the right of Walden -- who has sometimes angered the more conservative elements of his party. Earlier this year, Club for Growth, a Washington, D.C.-based free-market group that often gets involved in political campaigns, announced that it would encourage a primary challenge to Walden."

VIRGINIA: AP's Bob Lewis previews Wednesday's debate, moderated by NBC's Chuck Todd and sponsored by NBC4. "Of all the debates that statewide candidates can’t neglect this fall, Wednesday’s Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce showdown tops the list. You don’t say no to the captains of the most esteemed, politically attuned, wealthy and influential business demographic in Virginia’s most populous and prosperous region — the Washington, D.C., suburbs. The Fairfax debate — televised live in prime time for the first time this year — has become an autumnal fixture that’s produced at least three memorable moments in the past eight years."

NBC's Mark Murray writes that "the Nov. 5 contest: It largely will come down – as most statewide and presidential elections do – to which candidate can win the growing suburbs and exurbs. This battle for the ‘burbs is all the more noteworthy because both candidates hail from the crucial and vote-rich Northern Virginia suburbs – Cuccinelli from Prince William County and McAuliffe from McLean, both outside of Washington, D.C."

WYOMING: Casper Star Tribune: "Lynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney and mother of U.S. Senate candidate Liz Cheney, on Saturday night told former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson 'shut your mouth' about his support for her daughter’s opponent, according to an online account by Simpson’s daughter-in-law."