The Note’s Must-Reads for Monday, February 21, 2011

Feb 21, 2011 6:40am

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
Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates JACQUELINE NG FERNANDEZ and CLAUDIA MORALES

The New York Time’s Jackie Calmes: “Wisconsin Puts Obama Between Competing Desires” The battle in Wisconsin over public employee unions has left President Obama facing a tricky balance between showing solidarity with longtime political supporters and projecting a message in favor of deep spending cuts to reduce the debt.  LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson: “Obama’s comments on Wisconsin stir political dispute in D.C.” The big Wisconsin protest story became even bigger when President Obama said it looks like Republican Gov. Scott Walker is mounting "an assault" on public employee unions — and inspired a partisan debate in Washington over whether presidents should be weighing in on state budget problems. LINK

Bloomberg’s Bob Willis and Danielle Ivory: “Republican Lawmakers Say House Majority Isn't Seeking Government Shutdown” Representative Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said Republicans aren’t seeking to force a government shutdown and would negotiate a stop-gap spending plan that includes “interim” cuts.  “We’ll have some negotiations, with short-term extensions with spending cuts in the interim, is my guess,” the Wisconsin Republican said yesterday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program. “We’re not looking for a government shutdown.”  LINK

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker: “House GOP spares no pet projects in trimming budget” Everyone knew Republicans would try to defund President Obama's signature health-care overhaul. They've made that clear since taking over the House majority. And it was no surprise that they would strip federal money from NPR and Planned Parenthood. That's been on the to-do list.  LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Douglas Belkin and Kris Maher: “Moderate Wisconsin Republicans Offer Compromise” With Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker maintaining a hard line on his budget bill and Democratic senators refusing to return to Madison to vote, attention is turning to a group of moderate Republican senators to negotiate a compromise to the stalemate that has drawn thousands of protesters to the state capital for a sixth straight day. LINK

The Washington Time’s Stephen Dinan: “In House debate, pet projects euthanized” After more than 100 votes in four days, the lesson from last week’s spending debate in the House is that nobody’s pet projects are safe anymore. LINK

Politico’s Ben Smith & Maggie Haberman: “Labor faces a moment of truth As organized labor hails an unprecedented moment of unity playing out amid a sea of supporters marching in Madison, Wis., other union officials elsewhere are quietly wringing their hands about the risks of a high-stakes and historic loss in against Gov. Scott Walker. The six days of protests against Walker’s bill to curb collective-bargaining rights have mesmerized cable news viewers and shown a fighting spirit and cohesion that labor groups have rarely displayed during 12 months of serving as public enemy number one in the eyes of tea party insurgents and newly empowered budget cutters. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Bob Drogin: “Clashes, fires reported in Libya's capital” Anti-government protests raged Monday for the first time in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, with unconfirmed media reports of pro-regime snipers firing into crowds, bloody clashes on the city's main square, and fires blazing in key government buildings.  Al Jazeera reported that a fire was burning inside the People's Hall, a symbol of longtime strongman Moammar Kadafi's repressive regime. TV images showed demonstrators setting fires in the streets, but the size of the protests wasn't clear. LINK

New York Daily News’ Glenn Blain: “Gov. Cuomo speech drowned out with Charles Barron-led yells of 'Tax the rich! Gov. Cuomo's speech on Sunday night to the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators was interrupted with chants of "Tax the rich!" led by City Councilman Charles Barron. Cuomo received a warm welcome as he began to address the group, but within moments Barron (D-Brooklyn) did a Kanye West and stole the spotlight. LINK 

ABC NEWS’ Huma Khan: “Government Shutdown Looming: What Does it Mean to You?” With Democrats and Republicans at a stalemate over how to fund the government, there is a real threat that government agencies could be shut down for the first time in 15 years. The deadline is just two weeks away, and could affect countless thousands of Americans. The last time the federal government closed its doors was in 1995, when then-President Bill Clinton and the Republican-majority Congress failed to come to a compromise on the budget — twice. LINK

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