The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jul 14, 2011 3:54am

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 Jayce Henderson, Jacqueline Fernandez and Desk Assistant Erin McLaughlin 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
USA Today’s Fredreka Schouten: “Obama shatters fundraising goal with $86M” President Obama defied a sluggish economy to collect a whopping $86 million for his re-election campaign and the Democratic Party in the past three months, shattering his fundraising goal and establishing early dominance over the field of Republicans vying to oust him. LINK

The New York Times’ Kevin Sack: “Book Challenges Obama on Mother’s Deathbed Fight” The White House on Wednesday declined to challenge an account in a new book that suggests that President Obama, in his campaign to overhaul American health care, mischaracterized a central anecdote about his mother’s deathbed dispute with her insurance company. LINK 

DEBT-LIMIT PLAN:
The Washington Post’s Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery: “Top Republicans clash over debt-limit plan” Two top Republican leaders clashed Wednesday over a plan that could allow the government to avoid a potentially catastrophic default but would not ensure the deep cuts in federal spending that party members seek. LINK 

The Washington Post’s Zachary Goldfarb: “With no debt deal, Obama would face tough choices Aug. 3 about what bills to pay” What happens if President Obama and Congress don’t strike a debt deal? On Aug. 3, the nation would find out, with Obama forced to make a set of extraordinarily difficult choices about what to pay or not pay. By then, the government’s savings account would be nearly empty and the president would be relying on daily tax revenue to pay the nation’s bills. LINK 

The Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta, Carole Lee and Matt Phillips: “Raters Put U.S. on Notice” Credit rating agencies moved closer to an unprecedented downgrade of the U.S. government's debt amid deteriorating talks in Washington, with President Barack Obama abruptly walking out of a key meeting Wednesday with Republicans seeking a deal to raise the federal borrowing limit. LINK 

The Washington Times’ Sean Lengell: “Lawmakers consider Plan B for debt payments” Capitol Hill lawmakers scrambled Wednesday to come up with backup plans to decide who would still get paid if the government bumps up against its debt limit next month, as the outlook for a deal grew gloomier and following President Obama's warning that Social Security benefit checks could be halted. LINK 

The Hill’s Russell Berman and Sam Youngman: “Obama warns Cantor: ‘Don’t call my bluff in debt-limit talks’” Republicans said tense negotiations over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit at the White House ended with President Obama stormed out of the meeting with a stern warning to House Majority Leader Eric Canto (R-Va.): “Don’t call my bluff.” LINK 

Politico’s David Rogers: “Debt talks blow up” Twenty days left and counting, the August debt ceiling showdown broke along two fronts Wednesday: the political forces of 2010 vs. 2012 and the shape and pace of tax reform in this Congress or the next. House Republicans, who owe their majority to the 2010 elections, continue to push for a tea party-styled confrontation with President Barack Obama, even as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is the new “anti-Gingrich,” preaching restraint in hopes that 2012 will bring him to power. LINK 

The Boston Globe’s Donovan Slack: “All could feel pain of US default” If there is any consensus on what would happen if Congress does not vote to raise the debt limit by Aug. 2, it’s this: Creditors would get the first crack at the few billion dollars left in the federal coffers. That’s because no one in the government, not even Tea Party Republicans who vociferously argue against raising the limit, wants to damage an already staggering world economy. LINK

ECONOMY:
The Hill’s Peter Schroeder: “Bernanke: US bond default would send ‘shock waves’ through financial markets’” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke painted a bleak picture Wednesday of the global economy if Congress fails to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit. In comments that led to a market rally, Bernanke also told lawmakers that the Fed was considering additional stimulus for the economy if the recovery continues to lag. LINK

RUPERT MURDOCH SCANDAL:
New York Daily News’ Alison Gendar and Helen Kennedy: “Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. scandal spread to U.S.: Demand for probe if 9/11 victims hacked” Rupert Murdoch abandoned his big British cable deal Wednesday and mulled dumping all his British papers as the scandal engulfing his media holdings spread to America. Rep. Pete King (R-LI) asked the FBI to look into a report that Murdoch’s journalists tried to snoop on 9/11 victims. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO:
Dr. Phil Testifies on Violence Against Women ActLINK
Obama Campaign Releases Fundraising ResultsLINK
Huntsman Slams Romney…Sort OfLINK

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