The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, March 4th, 2011

By Jayson

Mar 4, 2011 5:44am

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates and Desk Assistants CLAUDIA MORALES, JACQUELINE NG FERNANDEZ, JAYCE HENDERSON, AND JORDAN MANOR

FOREIGN:
The Boston Globe’s Farah Stockman: “Local consultants aided Khadafy It reads like Libyan government propaganda, extolling the importance of Moammar Khadafy, his theories on democracy, and his “core ideas on individual freedom.’’ But the 22-page proposal for a book on Khadafy was written by Monitor Group, a Cambridge-based consultant firm founded by Harvard professors. LINK

DEMOCRATS:
Politico’s Jonathan Allen & Manu Raju: “Democratic Senators ditch 2012 runs” Five senators from the Democratic side of the aisle have already decided to hang ’em up after this term. Each has his own reasons, but it mostly boils down to this: For some senators, a job in the “most exclusive club” is not worth the hassle anymore. LINK

The New York Times’ Carl Hulse and Jackie Calmes: “Democrats Open Talks by Offering $6.5 Billion More in Cuts” As they opened negotiations with Republicans over budget cuts, the White House and Congressional Democrats on Thursday offered to trim an additional $6.5 billion from current spending, a figure far short of the Republican goal of cutting agency budgets by $61 billion. LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
The Washington Post’s Scott Willson: “Obama administration prepares for possibility of new post-revolt Islamist regimes” The Obama administration is preparing for the prospect that Islamist governments will take hold in North Africa and the Middle East, acknowledging that the popular revolutions there will bring a more religious cast to the region's politics. LINK

USA Today’s Richard Wolf: “Economic recovery colors federal budget debate” Would a partial government shutdown — or the spending cuts needed to avoid it — risk the nation's economic recovery and nascent job creation? President Obama says it could. Republican leaders in Congress say it wouldn't. Economists are split roughly down the middle. LINK

SECURITY:
ABC News’ Kirit Radia and Jason Ryan: “Former FBI Agent, Missing for Four Years, Could Be Alive in Southwest Asia” New evidence has surfaced that former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing on a popular Iranian resort island nearly four years ago, may still be alive, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today.  LINK

LA Times’ Kim Murphy: “U.S. gun-tracing operation let firearms into criminal hands”: A federal operation that allowed weapons from the U.S. to pass into the hands of suspected gun smugglers so they could be traced to the higher echelons of Mexican drug cartels has lost track of hundreds of firearms, many of which have been linked to crimes, including the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent in December.  LINK

LIBYA:
LA Times’ Paul Richeter: “Key lawmakers back no-fly zone over Libya as Obama hesitates Liberals and conservatives in Congress say Western forces should protect Libyan rebels from Moammar Kadafi's air force. President Obama, however, appears to be sending contradictory messages.  LINK

WISCONSIN PROTESTS:
ABC News’ Barbara Pinto: “Gov. Scott Walker Issues Layoff Notices in Wisconsin” Layoff notices to at least 1,500 Wisconsin state workers will start going out as early as Friday if the state legislature doesn't pass Gov. Scott Walker's controversial "budget-repair bill," which calls for the stripping away of state employees' collective bargaining rights, Walker said.  LINK

SOCIAL SECURITY:
The Hill’s Alexander Bolton: “Boehner promises Obama GOP cover on entitlements” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has privately assured President Obama that House Republicans will not attack him if he makes a proposal to reform entitlement spending, according to sources familiar with the offer.  Moreover, Boehner has personally promised Obama that he will stand side-by-side with him to weather the strong political backlash expected from any proposal to cut entitlement costs.  LINK

ABORTION:
The Hill’s Molly Hooper: “Judiciary Committee Approves bill on federal abortion funding on party lines” After a highly charged three-hour markup, the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to approve a bill that would deny federal funding for abortions.  On a 23-14 vote, the panel approved H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, on a largely party-line vote. Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi was the only Democrat to vote for the measure. LINK

GOP:
The Wall Street Journal’s Naftali Bendavid and Janet Hook: “GOP Aims to Tame Benefits Programs “House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that he's determined to offer a budget this spring that curbs Social Security and Medicare, despite the political risks, and that Republicans will try to persuade voters that sacrifices are needed. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Boehner said House Republicans would offer a budget for the next fiscal year that sets goals for bringing the programs' costs under control.  LINK

SARAH PALIN:
New York Daily News’ Aliyah Shahid: “Sarah Palin rips Supreme Court decision on Westboro Baptist Church: lacks ‘common sense’:  Sarah Palin slammed the Supreme Court's ruling that members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church can protest homosexuality by continuing to picket military funerals.  "Common sense & decency absent as wacko 'church' allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers' funerals but we can't invoke God's name in Public Square," the former Alaska governor tweeted. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:
“Gadhafi Launches Air Strike” LINK

“Obama to Gaddafi: ‘Step Down’: LINK
Mickey Rooney: ‘I Was Helpless’: LINK

BOOKMARKS:
The Note: LINK
The Must-Reads Online: LINK

Top Line Webcast (12noon EST M-F): LINK

ABC News Politics: LINK

The Political Punch (Jake Tapper): LINK

George's Bottom Line (George Stephanopoulos): LINK

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