The Note’s Must-Reads for Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mar 22, 2011 5:19am

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

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf and Matthew Jaffe: “McCaskill Failed to Pay Taxes on Plane; Scandal Could Damage Her Focus on Accountability” Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill has made fighting government waste, pork barrel spending and corruption the focus of her entire political persona.  In Senate floor speeches she often cites her history as a Missouri state auditor,  lists government accountability as one of her top issues, and has led the charge to change senate rules to be more transparent.  LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Patrick O’Connor: “Pawlenty Makes the First Move” Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Monday formed a presidential exploratory committee, taking a formal step toward a campaign for the White House that could prompt other Republicans to declare their intentions. LINK

The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny: “A Proud ‘Lobbyist’ and ‘Southerner’ Weighs ‘President’” He became wealthy as a lobbyist, representing tobacco companies and foreign governments. A former Republican Party chairman, he would seem the ultimate Washington insider. A white Southerner, he has faced questions about his remarks on race. LINK

The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty: “Haley Barbour may try to rewrite the script for 2012 presidential race” Say you were a political party on the upswing, looking for the ideal candidate to defeat a president who had been elected on hope, change and the chance to make history. LINK

The Hill’s Russell Berman and John T. Bennett: “Cost of campaign in Libya could wipe out GOP’s spending cuts” U.S. military operations in Libya could wipe out a significant chunk of the budget cuts won by congressional Republicans in recent weeks, defense analysts say.   GOP leaders have trumpeted enacted spending reductions that amount to more than $285 million per day since the beginning of March.   LINK 

The Hill’s John T. Bennett: “Republican says action in Libya is an 'affront' to the US Constitution A senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee escalated his party's attacks on the Obama's administration's military action in Libya, calling the move unconstitutional.  “The United States does not have a King's army," Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) said in a statement released Monday evening. "President Obama's unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution."  LINK

ABC News’ Jake Tapper, Martha Raddatz, and Huma Khan: “Libyan Attacks Intensify but Coalition Strained” The U.S. role in Libya is growing murkier as coalition forces continue to launch fresh attacks against Gadhafi's assets and allies such as Italy and Norway look for guidance on who is leading the strikes.  Obama administration officials have repeatedly said the military operation will be short in duration and scope, and that the United States will hand over authority to its coalition partners soon. The transition will happen in a "matter of days, not a matter of weeks," President Obama said today.  LINK

Politico’s Ben Smith: “Nicolas Sarkozy’s War” They are a decidedly odd couple.French President Nicolas Sarkozy assumed office with a promise to turn France firmly back toward the Atlantic, a cowboy persona and a not-so-affectionate nickname; “Sarko the American.”  LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson: “Lugar: Obama needs congressional approval for ‘war’ in Libya” Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., says Congress needs to debate the military action in Libya and President Obama should seek "a declaration of war." LINK

The Washington Time’s Stephen Dinan: “The Washington Times” The world is at war, but Washington is eerily empty, devoid of all the power players who normally foster a soul-searching debate when the country goes on the attack. LINK

LA Times’ Paul richter and Christi Parsons: “Obama faces growing criticism for Libya campaign” President Obama is facing growing criticism at home and abroad over whether the military campaign in Libya is the wrong policy — or the right policy at the wrong time.  Obama, on a five-day tour of Latin America, defended his administration's muscular approach in Libya, saying it was "very easy to square our military actions and our stated policies."  LINK

NY Daily News’ Meena Hartenstein: “Libya denies reports Khadafy’s son Khamis killed in suicide air strike on Tripoli compound” The Libyan government is denying reports that Moammar Khadafy's son was killed in an air attack in Tripoli on Saturday night.  Khamis Khadafy, 27, is the Libyan despot's sixth son. He has been leading his own brigade against the rebels since the uprising broke out, The Associated Press reported on Mar. 1.  LINK

LA Times’ Don Lee, Victoria Kim, and John M. Gilonna: “Smoke plumes set back Japan’s efforts to contain nuclear crisisJapan's battle to control the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima suffered a setback Monday after plumes of smoke rising from two of the six reactor buildings forced an evacuation of repair crews and stalled operations to restore vital cooling systems.  LINK

The Washington Post’s Dan Eggen: “Consumer advocates: FCC should require more disclosure on political ads” The Federal Communications Commission should require sponsors of political advertising to disclose their biggest financial backers to the public, according to a petition to be filed Tuesday by a public-interest law firm. LINK

NY Daily News’ Scott Shifrel: “Government’s right to eavesdrop on Americans challenged as lawsuit against Patriot Act re-instated”  A lawsuit challenging the government's right to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants under the Patriot Act was re-instated by an appeals court Monday.  Libertarians cheered the decision, which will allow Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch and other groups to continue questioning the government's ability to listen in on phone calls and to monitor emails.  LINK

NRC Official: Japan ‘On Verge of Stabilizing’ LINK
Obama on Libya: ‘We Decided To Move Forward’ LINK
Target Libya: Third Day of AirstrikesLINK
Target Libya: What’s Been AccomplishedLINK

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