The Note’s Must-Reads for Monday, December 20, 2010

Dec 20, 2010 3:30am

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at www.abcnews.com

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates and Desk Assistants JACQUELINE NG FERNANDEZ, CLAUDIA MORALES, MELISSA NOEL and MOLLY HUNTER

OBAMA
ABC News’ Rick Klein: “World News’ Political Insights: President Obama Builds Foundation From Wreckage” Nothing motivates members of the majority party quite like knowing they'll be in the minority soon. Out of the wreckage of a disastrous election, and to the surprise of most political observers, a lame-duck session that figured to be mostly mop-up duty has become enormously productive — both on the policy and the political fronts. The dizzying range of accomplishments has blurred party lines in some instances, and drawn them more thickly in other areas. LINK

ARMS CONTROL ABROAD
Politico’s Scott Wong: “Dems getting closer on START” Senate Democrats appear to have enough votes to overcome a Republican filibuster on the new START arms-control treaty, though it’s unclear if they will have the 67 votes needed for ratification. At least four Republicans have committed to supporting the U.S.-Russia treaty or are leaning that way, including two who say they will vote for cloture. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Naftali Bendavid: “Obama Raises Push for Deal on Arms Pact” ‪In an attempt to bolster support for the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, President Barack Obama sent letters today to Senate leaders insisting that the pact will not affect U.S. determination to press ahead with a missile defense system.  LINK

USA Today’s John Fritze: “Senate grappling with nuclear deal” The Senate moved closer to a final vote on a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia even as the chamber's top Republican announced Sunday that he'll vote against the pact. LINK

The New York Times’ Peter Baker: “Democrats Scramble to Save Votes to Ratify Nuclear Pact” The top two Senate Republicans declared Sunday that they would vote against President Obama’s nuclear treaty with Russia as the bipartisan spirit of last week’s tax-cut deal devolved into a sharp battle over national security in the waning days of the session.  LINK

Bloomberg’s Seonjin Cha and Peter S. Green: “South Korea Begins Live-Firing Drill as UN Wrangles South Korea said a live-firing drill that drew threats of retaliation from North Korea was completed without incident, after the United Nations Security Council failed to agree on steps to ease tension on the peninsula. LINK

DON’T ASK DON’T TELL
The Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold: “For gay rights, is repeal of ‘don’t ask’ military ban the end of the beginning?” For the American gay rights movement, this is the big question that follows Saturday's landmark repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. LINK

Newsweek’s John Barry: “DADT: Now the Really Hard Part Begins” Hold the celebrations. Congress’s repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is a victory for civil rights. But it’s only the start of what are likely to be difficult, even tortured, months or even years, as the military struggles to adapt to the new law. LINK

FOOD SAFTEY BILL
The Hill’s Alexander Bolton: “In Sunday-evening surprise, Senate unanimously passes food safety bill” The Senate unexpectedly approved food safety legislation by unanimous consent Sunday evening, rescuing a bill that floated in limbo for weeks because of a clerical error. LINK

BIDEN ON TAX DEAL
The Washington Times’: “Biden: Obama tax deal ‘moral troubling’" Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Sunday defended what he acknowledged as a "morally troubling" decision by President Obama to extend tax rates for all Americans as part of wide-ranging interview on key national and international issues. Mr. Biden said the president still thinks extending the George W. Bush-era rates for the country's highest wage-earners, along with everyone else, is "morally troubling." He said the president broke his 2008 campaign promise on the issue to help only the middle class. LINK

OTHER
The Hill’s Bridget Johnson: “New Foreign Affairs chairwoman: Iran ‘No.1, No.2, No.3’ on agenda” A senior House Republican is putting Iran and its nuclear program at the top of her aggressive agenda in the next Congress. Taking the helm of the House Foreign Affairs Committee next month, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Iran is “No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3” on the panel's to-do list. Oversight will be stepped up, she said, while noting the limitations of legislation that passes her committee. LINK

New York Daily News’: “Rep. Peter King to hold hearings on ‘radicalization of American Muslims, critics fear witch hunt” Rep. Peter King said Sunday he'll hold hearings on the "radicalization of the American Muslim community" – but some critics fear an anti-Islamic witch hunt. King (R-L.I.) said a Congressional probe is needed because Al Qaeda has increasingly targeted Muslims living legally in the United States as potential terror recruits. LINK

Politico’s Molly Ball: “Preventing a January primary” As 2012 nears, the political class is united with one holiday wish: Please don’t make us spend New Year’s Eve in Iowa like we did in 2008. The leadership in both parties is listening. In the hopes of stopping the madness of ever-earlier presidential primaries, Democrats and Republicans have tried to set forth a primary that doesn't get under way until February 2012, remains competitive through March and finishes cleanly. LINK

ABC News Video
ABC NEWS: “Dream Act Failure a Nightmare for Some” Bleak hopes for immigrant children hoping to become educated. LINK

ABC NEWS: “Political Rage Caught on Tape” Fiery Moments when politicians clash with their words and fists. LINK

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