The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, December 2, 2010

By Jayson

Dec 2, 2010 4:03am

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 JAYCE HENDERSON, CLAUDIA MORALES, JACQUELINE NG FERNANDEZ and KATY CONRAD

FOREIGN AFFAIRS:
The New York Times’ C.J. Chivers: “Below Surface, U.S. Has Dim View of Putin and Russia” Early in 2009, as recession rippled around the world, the United States Embassy in Moscow sent to Washington a cable summarizing whispers within Russia's political class. Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, the rumors said, often did not show up at his office. LINK

ECONOMY / TAX CUTS / DEBT COMMISSION:
Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown: “Hopes for cooperation quickly dashed” A day that started off with the rare sight of top Obama officials sitting down with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to hash out a tax-cut deal deteriorated almost immediately Wednesday, as both parties reverted to partisan form. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta and Jonathan Weisman: “Deficit Plan Wins Backers” Seven members of the White House's deficit commission, including the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, endorsed its final plan Wednesday, setting up the prospect of action to address the nation's fiscal woes next year. LINK

Bloomberg’s Matt Viser: “Map is offered to slash deficit” President Obama’s debt commission yesterday unveiled a prescription of spending cuts, tax increases, and massive changes in the tax code a package that immediately intensified debate about how best and how fast to reduce the nation’s enormous budget deficit. LINK

IMMIGRATION BILL:
The Washington Times’ Seth Mclaughlin: “Immigration bill faces last change before GOP takes House control” Both chambers of Congress will vote in the coming days on a bill to legalize children and young adult illegal immigrants – a last-minute attempt to pass something before Republicans take control of the House next year and likely put legalization out of reach.  LINK

DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL:
The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and Ben Pershing: “’Don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal efforts stalled by GOP plan” Efforts to end the "don't ask, don't tell" law hit another snag Wednesday as Senate Republicans vowed to block any legislation unrelated to government spending or tax cuts, including a defense bill that would end the ban on gays serving openly in the military. LINK

GOP / DEMOCRATS:
The Hill’s Alexander Bolton: “Parties dare each other as debate over extending tax cuts heats up” House Democrats will forge ahead with a highly partisan tax vote Thursday — just two days after President Obama called for a bipartisan deal on the issue. LINK

USA Today: “GOP activists compete for party’s top slot” The race to succeed beleaguered Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is in full swing, with four Republican activists vying for his job participating in a two-hour question-and-answer session in Washington, D.C., this afternoon. LINK

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS:
ABC News’ Cullen Dirner: “Tim Scott Will Not Join Congressional Black Caucus: ‘My Campaign Was Never About Race’” Rep.-elect Tim Scott, R-S.C., released a statement today saying he would not be joining the Congressional Black Caucus. "While I recognize the efforts of the CBC and appreciate their invitation for me to caucus with them, I will not be joining at this time,” Scott said.  “My campaign was never about race." Scott, a Tea Party candidate, won South Carolina’s first Congressional District in November.  LINK

OTHER:
Newsweek’s Ben Adler: “5 Reasons the Tea Party Is Not Lobbying for End of Ethanol Subsidies” Republican Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma were Tea Partiers before the term existed. Staunch fiscal and social conservatives who are unafraid to alienate colleagues with principled but unpopular crusades, DeMint and Coburn have long been scourges of wasteful government spending, no matter how small. LINK

Los Angeles Times’ Ashley Powers: “Sen. Ensign Won’t face criminal charges, attorney says” The Justice Department will not pursue a case against the Nevada lawmaker for his efforts to find work for his mistress' husband, Ensign's lawyer says. But the Republican remains under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO:
“Obama on Taxes: 'Going To Be' 'Lingering Politics'" LINK
“Michelle Obama: ‘It’s Christmas! It’s Exciting!’” LINK

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