The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dec 30, 2010 4:32am

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, JAYCE HENDERSON AND MOLLY HUNTER

PRESIDENT OBAMA
ABC News’ Sunlen Miller, Kirit Radia and Yunji de Nies: “Obama Makes Controversial Appointments from Hawaii Vacation” From vacation in Hawaii, President Obama has used his recess appointment power to fill six administration posts, some controversial, including naming Washington attorney James Cole as deputy attorney general and Robert Ford as U.S. ambassador to Syria. The White House justified the recess appointments, running around the Senate confirmation process, because the positions have been left vacant for too long. LINK

USA Today: “Obama makes recess appointments, including Justice Department aide” President Obama took some time out today to make six recess appointments, bypassing the U.S. Senate a week before new lawmakers are sworn in. LINK

The New York Times’ Eric Schmitt: “Disappearances With Reported Ties to Pakistan Worry U.S.” The Obama administration is expressing alarm over reports that thousands of political separatists and captured Taliban insurgents have disappeared into the hands of Pakistan’s police and security forces, and that some may have been tortured or killed. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon and Jared A. Favole: “Obama Bypasses Senate to Fill Posts” President Barack Obama, sidestepping Congress, named the first U.S. ambassador to Syria in nearly six years and a deputy attorney general in recess appointments after the nominations ran into trouble among Republicans. LINK

REPUBLICANS
LA Times’ Michael A. Memoli: “Andy Martin, Self-proclaimed ‘Kind Of The Birthers,’ Says He’ll Run For President”  Andy Martin, a political gadfly who ran for President Obama's former Senate seat in 2010, announced Wednesday in New Hampshire that he will run for the Republican nomination for president on a "birther" platform. Speaking on WTPL radio, Martin cited the stated intention of Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie to settle questions about whether Obama was born in the state as one motivating factor. LINK

The Washington Times’ Valerie Richardson: “CPAC Meeting Raises Gay Issue” Some of the biggest names in social conservatism are opting out of the upcoming high-profile Conservative Political action Conference in response to what they see as the growing marginalization of social issues, culminating in the participating of GOProud, a gay-rights Republican group. The Family Research Council and Concerned Women of America are the latest organizations to announce that they will refuse to attend the February conference, which is put on by the American Conservative Union and widely viewed as the premier conservative gathering of the new year.  LINK

The Hill’s Jordan Fabian: “Christine O’Donnell Under Investigation For Campaign Spending” Federal officials have begun a criminal investigation of defeated Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (R) regarding her alleged use of campaign funds for personal expenses.  The Associated Press cited an unnamed source in reporting Wednesday that FBI agents and federal prosecutors have been assigned to the case, which has not yet been referred to a grand jury. O'Donnell, a Tea Party favorite, pulled off a stunning upset of veteran Rep. Mike Castle (R) in the GOP Senate primary, raking in a state-record $7.3 million-plus fundraising haul. LINK 

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Krissah Thompson: “Two new rules will give Constitution a starring role in GOP-controlled House” When Republicans take over the House next week, they will do something that apparently has never been done before in the chamber's 221-year history: They will read the Constitution aloud. And then they will require that every new bill contain a statement by the lawmaker who wrote it citing the constitutional authority to enact the proposed legislation. LINK

OTHER:
Politico’s Jake Sherman & Manu Raju: “Courting Begins In 2012 Early States” The friendly phone calls are incoming, presidential wannabes are showering them with praise and their campaign accounts have been flooded with fat checks from people with names like Palin, Romney and Gingrich. Members of Congress from South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire are once again getting wooed by the presidential set — and the potential candidates are reaching deep into those states' political rosters in search of that critical endorsement. LINK

Newsweek’s Zev Chafets: “Motown Makeover” In November, Hansen Clarke, the newly elected Democratic congressman from Michigan’s 13th District, went to Washington, D.C. for freshman orientation. When he met with the Congressional Black Caucus, which he intends to join, he received what seemed like a cool reception. “Some of the members were probably upset because I defeated their friend Congresswoman Kilpatrick,” he says. “And some seemed sort of unsure about where I belong.” LINK

NY Daily News’ Nicole Carter: “Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Moves To Albany; Sight Set On Bigger Home In Washington DC” After selling her upstate New York home for a whopping $1.3 million earlier this month, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and family plan to move into her mother's old home in Albany and look for a bigger home in Washington, D.C., a source tells the Daily News. "The Gillibrands have two young children. They have been looking for a bigger house in D.C.   I think they wanted to free up some cash to pay for it. And Albany is where Kirsten's roots are," the source added. LINK

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