The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, March 25, 2011

Mar 25, 2011 4:10am

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates and Desk Assistants Jacqueline Fernandez, Claudia Morales, Jayce Henderson and Jordan Manor

REPUBLICAN PARTY
Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “Michele Bachmann bid could shake up GOP field” It’s easy to dismiss Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as bomb-throwing back-bencher who is eying a presidential run largely because her attempt to secure a post in the House leadership was stymied. There’s a long history of camera-hungry House members making improbable runs that have served mainly to highlight their irrelevance. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Janet Hook: “Boehner Facing Tea-Party Pressure” Home-state tea-party activists have access to House Speaker John Boehner that any lobbyist would envy. They meet twice a month with a top aide to the Ohio Republican, and their emails are answered quickly. LINK

The Washington Time’s Sean Lengell: “Tea party fallen stars may rise again for ‘12” While the tea party wave helped sweep 87 Republican freshmen to the House last year, the movement made slower progress in the Senate, as a half-dozen of its “rock star” candidates — after some surprising primary wins — stumbled in the general election. LINK

LIBYA
ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, Alexander Marquardt, and Luis Martinez: “NATO To Take Over No-Fly Zone in Libya” NATO has agreed to relieve the United States of responsibility for enforcing the no-fly zone in Libya.  The announcement came on the same day that Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi challenged the no-fly zone, only to see one of his few remaining planes destroyed by a French jet.  LINK

USA Today’s Mimi Hall: “White House battles critics on action in Libya” The White House pushed back hard Thursday against criticism of President Obama's Libya policy, arranging a classified briefing for Congress next week and promising that Obama soon will address the American people again about the scope and purpose of U.S. military actions against Moammar Gadhafi's forces. LINK 

LA Times’ David Zucchino: “Libya’s rebel leaders struggle to get a grip” They work 18-hour days inside two dingy courthouse buildings streaked with graffiti that ridicules Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi. When they enter, they wipe their shoes on a portrait of him.  These are the lawyers, businessmen, college professors and political defectors risking their lives to lead the eastern rebellion against Kadafi.   LINK   

The Hill’s John T. Bennett and Jamie Klatell: “NATO to take over non-fly zone”  NATO countries have agreed to take over enforcement of the no-fly zone above Libya, U.S. and NATO officials said Thursday.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the first U.S. official to comment on the agreement, said all 28 allied countries have agreed to authorize NATO to protect Libyan civilians, which was called for in the U.N. Security Council resolution.  LINK

The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty: “Pressure building on Obama to clarify mission in Libya” Of all the decisions that a president must make, none calls for more clarity than the one to go to war. Thus far, President Obama’s move to join other nations in intervening militarily in Libya appears to have generated confusion instead — both as to the scope of the mission and to its ultimate end. LINK

JAPAN:
LA Times’ Ralph Vartabedian: “Lack of date from Japan distresses nuclear experts” How did Japanese workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant jury-rig fire hoses to cool damaged reactors? Is contaminated water from waste pools overflowing into the Pacific Ocean? Exactly who is the national incident commander?  LINK 

NY Daily News’ Michael Preston: “Japan’s radioactive drinking water fears lessen as new tests show lower levels of radiation” A day after government officials sparked fears of nuclear-tinged drinking water in Tokyo, the threat appeared to abate early Thursday after new tests revealed lower than expected levels of radiation.  Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara told reporters that he was reversing his Wednesday recommendation that babies not drink tap water following tests showing radioactive iodine amounts had dipped below dangerous levels. LINK 

NUCLEAR ENERGY:
The New York Times’ Eric Lichtblau: “Lobbyists’ Long Effort to Revive Nuclear Industry Faces New Test” One flash point in the remarkable revival of interest in nuclear energy here — a revival now threatened by the calamity in Japan — came almost by accident at a late-night brainstorming session in a senator’s office in 1997. LINK

SOCIAL SECURITY:
The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery: “Social Security splinters Democrats in debate over reining in budget deficits” With momentum building to rein in record budget deficits, Democrats are sharply divided over whether to tackle popular but increasingly expensive safety-net programs for the elderly, particularly Social Security. LINK

SENATE:
The Hill’s Shane D’Aprile: “Former aide to Sen. Ensign indicted” A former aide to retiring Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of violating conflict of interest laws.  The Justice Department announced the indictment late Thursday, which charges Doug Hampton with seven counts of violating criminal conflict of interest laws for allegedly engaging in unlawful communication with Ensign's office, violating the Senate's "revolving door" policy.  LINK 

OTHER:
ABC News’ Bradley Blackburn: “Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Able to Walk and Speak, Husband Mark Kelly says”   Two and a half months after suffering a gunshot wound to the head in Tucson, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is beginning to walk and talk, her husband Mark Kelly said today.  Kelly, an astronaut scheduled to command the next space shuttle mission in April, shared the good news with reporters at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston today, a short drive from the rehab center where Giffords is being treated for her brain injury.  LINK 

ABC News Arlette Saenz: “Census Data Shows a Changed American Landscape; New Population Center is Plato, MO”  The American landscape shifted dramatically during the past 10 years and the population center of the country moved about 40 miles west from Edgar Springs, Mo., in 2000, to Plato, Mo., population 109.  The Census Bureau announced the mean center of population as 2.7 miles northeast of Plato – an hour's drive south and west of the population center 10 years go.   LINK 

ABC Videos:
“ABC News Exclusive: Hero Pilots’ First Interview” LINK
“Clinton on Libya: ‘Taking the Next Step” LINK
“Target Libya: Rebels Under Siege” LINK
“Is Japanese Water Actually Safe” LINK

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