The Note’s Must-Reads for Monday, March 7, 2011

By Jayson

Mar 7, 2011 3:22am

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 Jayce Henderson, Jacqueline Fernandez, Claudia Morales and Jordan Manor

PRESIDENT OBAMA AND ADMINISTRATION / FOREIGN AFFAIRS:
The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick and Scott Wilson: “Congressional leaders push Obama administration for more aggressive Libya response” Congressional leaders prodded the Obama administration on Sunday for a more aggressive U.S. response to Libya's increasingly brutal attacks on opposition groups – calling for a no-fly zone and other military measures – but White House officials cautioned against being drawn into a potentially protracted and costly military campaign. LINK

LA Times’ David Zucchino: “Setback for Libyan rebels advancing against Kadafi Rebels seeking to advance toward the hometown of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and open a new front against the capital were battered from the ground and air, forcing them to retreat along a vital stretch of Mediterranean coast. LINK

Bloomberg’s Ola Galal and Alaa Shahine: “Qaddafi Escalates War Against Rebels as Libyan Conflict Deepens” Libyan troops loyal to Muammar Qaddafi used artillery and helicopter gunships in their effort to block the rebels’ advance west from the oil hub of Ras Lanuf toward the leader’s hometown of Sirte. Rebel fighters withdrew from Bin Jawad, 110 miles (160 kilometers) east of Sirte, after battling reinforced pro-Qaddafi troops, BBC said. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Margaret Coker, Charles Levinson, and Adam Entous: “GOP Prods Obama on Libya” Forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi struck back against rebel-held cities across Libya on Sunday, while Republican leaders in Congress pressed for the U.S. to consider providing arms, intelligence and training to the rebels.  LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson: “McConnell: Obama isn’t serious about entitlement reform” The top Senate Republican said today that President Obama isn't serious about dealing with the massive spending required for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. LINK

WHITE HOUSE / TERRORISM:
ABC News’ Mary K. Bruce: “White House Says U.S. Muslims Are Critical to fight Against Terrorism” The White House today commended Muslim Americans for their role in fighting violent extremism, just days before the House plans hearings to investigate the “radicalization” of the U.S. Muslim community.  LINK

USA Today’s Thomas Frank: “Homeland Security Looked Into Covert Body Scans at Public Venues” The Homeland Security Department paid contractors millions of dollars to develop and study surveillance systems that could covertly track pedestrians and check under people's clothing with airport-style body scanners as they enter train stations, bus depots or major events, newly released documents show.  LINK

The Hill’s Russel Berman: “White house to Muslims ahead of King hearings: Terror threat ‘real’” President Obama’s deputy national security adviser told a Muslim audience Sunday that the threat of homegrown terrorism is “real” and that Muslim Americans are part of the solution, not the problem. LINK

NY Daily News’ Richard Sisk: “Rep. Peter King: Muslim community fails to help crack down on terror” Washington – A Long Island congressman charged Sunday that New York's Muslim community was failing to cooperate with city cops and the FBI on the terror threat. LINK

The New York Times’ Shery; Gay Stolberg: “White House Seeks to Allay Muslims’ Fears on Terror Hearings” As a Republican congressman prepares to open hearings on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser visited a mosque here on Sunday to reassure Muslims that “we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few.” LINK

2012 ELECTIONS:
ABC News’ Rick Klein: “'World News' Political Insights: Missteps Mark Early Phase of 2012 Primary Fight” In a presidential campaign that's taking its time to develop, one possible candidate found an unlikely opponent last week. Mike Huckabee, the former and possibly future presidential candidate, suggested to a radio interviewer that new Oscar winner Natalie Portman — a 29-year-old actress who plans on marrying the father of her unborn child — was out to "glamorize" unwed motherhood. LINK

The Hill’s Shane D’Aprile: “Republicans in sold shape to take control of Senate next year” An early spate of Democratic Senate retirements has put Republicans in solid shape to retake the majority in the upper chamber next year.  The first edition of The Hill's 2012 race ratings puts five Democratic-held seats in the toss-up column. Republicans need a net gain of at least three seats to win the Senate.  LINK

NY Daily News’ Richard Sisk: “Donald Trump has no chance of being elected President, says Republican pol” The current Donald Trump for President craze is just media hype that will soon fizzle out, a former failed GOP presidential contender said Sunday.  "It says more about the media than Donald Trump," said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), whose own candidacy bombed in the presidential primaries of 1996 and 2000. LINK

GOP / BUDGET:
Politico’s Jonathan Allen & Jake Sherman: “GOP frosh study up at budget camp” Republican leaders have been running something of a budget boot camp for the 87 members of their freshman class in hopes of getting them to the point they can pitch the GOP’s 2012 blueprint to their constituents back home. In a normal year, the complexities of a budget plan are tough enough to explain to rank-and-file House members, most of whom are focused on more narrow issues. LINK

The Washington Time’s Stephen Dinan: “$6B budget cut” A ‘limit’ for Democrats, a nick for GOP” A top Senate Democrat said Sunday that the $6 billion in additional spending cuts that his party offered is the limit Democrats can accept — drawing a line well short of Republicans’ goal with less than two weeks to go before a government shutdown if the two sides can’t agree. LINK

OTHER:
ABC News’ David Kerley: “Gas Prices Climb Toward $4; Time to Tap Strategic Oil Reserves?”  For the first time since fighting in the Middle East sent gasoline prices skyrocketing, President Obama is thinking about tapping the country's oil reserves.  LINK 

Newsweek’s Lloyd Grove: “Sen. Conrad’s Last Gasp” Kent Conrad can be forgiven for feeling a sense of budget disaster déjà vu. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Conrad is presiding over a federal deficit of $1.5 trillion and accumulated debt of $14 trillion. LINK

LA Times’ Tracy Wilkinson: “Mexico’s drug war disappearances leave families in anguish” Thousands of people have vanished without a trace – some caught up in violence, others for no reason anyone can fathom. Relatives remain in agonized limbo.  LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:
Mike Huckabee vs. Natalie PortmanLINK
Women of the Revolution DiscussionLINK
Cutting Spending Without Slowing GrowthLINK
Standoff in TripoliLINK

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