The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dec 15, 2010 3:37am

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, JAYCE HENDERSON, CLAUDIA MORALES, MELISSA NOEL and KATY CONRAD

PRESIDENT OBAMA
Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning and Mark Drajem: “Obama Meeting CEOs Shows Business President Who Delivers Gains” When President Barack Obama today holds his largest private meeting with chief executive officers since he entered the White House, he may find some of his corporate critics cheering. LINK

REPUBLICANS
Politico’s Alexander Burns: “GOP hopefuls extra careful on tax deal” For a host of Republican presidential hopefuls, the White House-backed compromise to extend the Bush tax cuts presents an unlikely dilemma: How to agree with President Barack Obama. On the surface the deal currently making its way through Congress gives GOP leaders much of what they wanted from lame-duck negotiation. The problem is it creates a new kind of challenge for would-be Obama opponents. LINK

Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “Michael Steele’s move stuns GOP donors”  Some of the Republican Party’s most prominent donors reacted Tuesday with shock-and then-fury to Michael Steele’s decision to seek re-election. They bluntly warned that they would not raise money for the party if the controversial chairman wins another term. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King Jr.: “Tax Deal Is Shaping 2010 GOP Campaign” The tax deal now before Congress has kicked off the first real debate of the 2012 Republican presidential campaign, with several prospective candidates heralding the package as a victory for taxpayers and others criticizing it as a costly stimulus bill in disguise. LINK

USA Today: “GOP health care lobbyist to run House committee” A lobbyist on health care issues has been hired to be staff director of a House committee that will be central to Republican efforts to repeal President Obama's health care law. LINK

SENATE
The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Paul Kane: “Senate spending bill contains thousands of earmarks” Weeks after swearing off earmarks, many senators stand to gain tens of millions of dollars for pet projects in a massive spending bill that could be their last chance at the money before a more conservative Congress begins next month. LINK

The Hill’s Russell Berman: “For House Democrats, fight over tax cuts is now about saving face” House Democratic efforts to block President Obama’s tax bill have dwindled into a battle to save face. They come to the realization they will have little opportunity to rework the bipartisan compromise. Party leaders were debating on Tuesday whether to bring up amendments to the bill for a vote even as Democrats acknowledged the overwhelming Senate support for the tax deal created an “urgency” to get legislation to the president’s desk. LINK

The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan: “Senate’s agenda grows as time ticks” Senate Democrats unveiled a broad agenda for an end-of-session sprint that otherwise could be a whole year’s worth of activity. This includes an arms reduction treaty with Russia, a major immigration reform bill and legislation overturning the ban on openly gay military service members. LINK

OTHER
ABC News’ Huma Khan: “ ‘Birther’ Faces 18 Months in Prison for Refusing Deployment to Afghanistan”  An Army doctor who refused  deployment  to Afghanistan  because he questioned whether President Obama was born in the United States pleaded guilty today for failing to obey orders. He pleaded not guilty to the count of missing a flight he needed to be on. Lt. Col. Terry Lakin is among the so-called “birthers”, who continue to question whether Obama was born in the United States. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Seema Mehta: “Brown wants to fast –track budget agreement within 60 days” Gov.-elect Jerry Brown said Tuesday that he wants to complete a budget agreement within two months of unveiling his budget. This would be an accelerated timeline that would allow a late-spring special election for potential tax increases or other revenue generation. LINK

Newsweek’s David Graham: “Linda McMahon’s Quixotic Lingering in the Connecticut Senate Arena” Like a defeated wrestler eager to get back in the ring, Linda McMahon, it appears, isn't done with politics. Despite losing to Democrat Richard Blumenthal by some 12 percentage points in the 2010 Connecticut Senate race, the businesswoman is planning to meet with Sen. John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Roll Call's Steve Peoples reports. LINK

ABC News Video
ABC News: “A Mutiny at Wikileaks” Julian Assange’s colleagues ask what he has done with the website’s money. LINK

ABC News: “Holbrooke’s Final Words: A Plea For Peace” Martha Raddatz on the last message from the veteran diplomat. He told his doctors before surgery to see what they could do to help end the war. LINK

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