The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, February 17, 2011

Feb 17, 2011 5:41am

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 and KATY CONRAD

BUDGET
The New York Times’ Carl Hulse: “Boehner in His Element as Spending Cuts Elicit Free-Flowing House Debate” For Speaker John A. Boehner, the budget-cutting frenzy taking place on the House floor merges two of his animating political passions — the need to shrink federal spending and the willingness to risk a free-flowing debate. LINK

The Washington Post’s Philip and Felicia Sonmez: “All voices heard as House brainstorms for budget trims” As the House explores ways this week to trim federal spending beyond the $61 billion in cuts that Republicans have already proposed, Speaker John A. Boehner has said all ideas are welcome – from obscure trims involving mustang roundups out West to major reductions such as eliminating funding for the Iraq security forces. LINK 

The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman: “Deficit Plan Details Emerge” A bipartisan group of senators is considering legislation that would trigger new taxes and budget cuts if Congress fails to meet a set of mandatory spending targets and other fiscal goals aimed at reducing federal deficits. The plan would break the task of deficit reduction into four pieces: a tax code overhaul; discretionary spending cuts; changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements; and changes to Social Security, aides said. LINK 

ENERGY / ENVIRONMENT:
Newsweek’s Robert Samuelson: “High-Speed Rail Is a Fast Track to Government Waste” Vice President Biden, an avowed friend of good government, is giving it a bad name. With great fanfare, he went to Philadelphia last week to announce that the Obama administration proposes spending $53 billion over six years to construct a "national high-speed rail system." Translation: The administration would pay states $53 billion to build rail networks that would then lose money—lots—thereby aggravating the budget squeezes of the states or federal government, depending on which covered the deficits. LINK

OBAMA’S BUSINESS MEETING
ABC News’ Jake Tapper: “Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Mark Zuckerberg to Meet With President Obama Thursday in San Francisco” Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google chief executive Eric Schmidt will be among the attendees of President Obama's event with business leaders in San Fran Thursday evening. Earlier today, ABC News reported that another attendee would Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Jobs, Schmidt and Zuckerberg will be among many business leaders the president will sit down and talk to, as he continues to sell his State of the Union message.LINK 

LARA LOGAN
NY Daily News’ Thomas M. Defrank, Richard Huff and Bill Hutchinson: “President Obama calls CBS News correspondent Lara Logan after reports of Egypt sex assault” President Obama phoned CBS reporter Lara Logan on Wednesday to express concern over her brutal sexual assault she suffered while covering the Egyptian revolution. Sources at CBS confirmed Obama reached out to Logan, 39, but did not reveal specifics on what he discussed with the veteran war-zone correspondent. LINK

GLENN BECK VS. GOOGLE
NY Daily News’ Adam Caparell: “Glenn Beck vs. Google: Pundit doesn't trust search engine, suggests his fans may want to avoid it Unlike billions of worldwide users, Glenn Beck doesn't trust Google. The conservative Fox News pundit announced on his show Wednesday that he will avoid using any Google products, and implored his viewers to follow suit. Beck spent a good portion of his program outlining why Google's business ties should make people think twice about using the world's most popular search engine – and it's many other products. LINK 

OSAMA BIN LADEN
The Hill’s Jordy Yager: “Bin Laden would be held at Gitmo if caught” Osama bin Laden would be shipped to Cuba and held at the Guantánamo Bay prison if he were captured, the head of the CIA told senators on Wednesday. Leon Panetta’s comments come as the White House continues its push for the detention facility’s closure. LINK

POLITICAL AMMO
The Hill’s Shane D’Aprile: “GOP seeks Napolitano papers as political ammo ahead of possible Senate run” Anticipating that Janet Napolitano may run for the Senate, Republican operatives are seeking a slew of political documents from the Department of Homeland Security to use as political ammunition. The National Republican Senatorial Committee submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to DHS Tuesday, formally requesting personal correspondence that may have occurred between Napolitano and Democratic political staffers since January of 2009. LINK

CAMPAIGN CRIME
The Hill’s Jordy Yager: “Hillary Clinton donors indicted” A federal grand jury indicted two Virginia men on Wednesday for allegedly trying to illegally reimburse donors who gave to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate and presidential campaigns. The DOJ has accused the two men, William Danielczyk and Eugene Biagi, of paying back $186,600 in contributions to the Senate and presidential campaign committees of a candidate for federal office, and obstructing the FEC and the FBI. LINK

OTHER
Politico’s Jennifer Epstein: "The Politics of Education Upended” In Wisconsin, about 1,000 teachers called in sick Wednesday to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to strip their union bargaining rights. In Washington, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recounted his battle with his state’s teachers unions Wednesday, calling their leaders “greedy” and “selfish.” LINK

The Boston Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk Patrick proposes health fee overhaul Governor Deval Patrick plans to file long-awaited legislation today that would give him authority to scrutinize the fees paid to hospitals and doctors, part of a proposal to transform how providers are compensated and to curb rising health care costs, according to high-level administration officials. LINK

ABC News Video
'Candy' of Politics: Chris Christie Talks BudgetLINK
Sen. Scott Brown Says He Was AbusedLINK 

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