The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jul 7, 2011 3:50am

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates and Jacqueline Ng Fernandez, Jayce Henderson, Alicia Tejada and Desk Assistant Amanda VanAllen 

2012 ELECTIONS
Los Angeles Times’ Doyle McManus: “McManus: Team Obama's victory plan” President Obama faces an uphill struggle in his campaign for reelection next year. His job approval rating is stuck just below 50%. The unemployment rate appears likely to remain above 8% until election day. And, though it's too soon to mean much, early polling puts the nominal Republican front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, within striking distance. Even Obama's staff acknowledges the obstacles. "It's going to be a very close, competitive election … a street fight for the presidency," White House aide David Plouffe, the strategist who managed Obama's 2008 victory, told reporters cheerfully on Wednesday. LINK

New York Daily News’ Christine Roberts: “GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty hires Mike Huckabee's daughter as poll numbers continue to drop” Tim Pawlenty is keeping it in the family. Mike Huckabee's family, that is. The Republican presidential hopeful announced Tuesday that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the daughter of the former Arkansas governor, will join his campaign as a senior political adviser. LINK

USA Today’s Fredreka Schouten: “Romney leads GOP fundraising race but trails his 2008 pace”  WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney's $18.25 million fundraising haul catapults him ahead of the Republican presidential field to date but falls well short of what he collected in the early months of his failed 2008 presidential bid — another sign of a sluggish start to the GOP contest, experts say. LINK

NATIONAL DEBT
ABC News’ Mary Bruce: “Obama Warns Debt Ceiling Should Not Be 'Used As A Gun' To Extract Tax Breaks” In some of his harshest language to date in the fight over the deficit, President Obama warned today that the debt ceiling should not be “used as a gun” against Americans to extract tax breaks for the wealthy. Speaking at the Twitter Town Hall at the White House today, the president said Congress “shouldn’t be toying” with the debt ceiling and cautioned against risking the financial health of the country in order to protect the interests of the super wealthy.  LINK

Bloombergs’ James Rowley and Julianna Goldman: “White House Seeks ‘Positive’ Tax Revenue as U.S. Debt-Limit Talks Resume” White House adviser David Plouffe pushed for “positive” revenue increases in a deal to cut the U.S. deficit while Republicans continued to resist any net growth in taxes as talks resume today on raising the government’s debt ceiling. The Obama administration and congressional leaders are seeking an accord to lower the deficit during the next 10 to 12 years to pave the way for a vote to increase the $14.3 trillion debt limit, and the tax issue looms as the major obstacle to a deal. LINK

The Hills’ Molly Hooper: “Cantor: GOP willing to talk tax loopholes in debt negotiations” House Republicans on Wednesday showed a new willingness to talk about closing tax loopholes in the context of negotiations to raise the nation’s $14.3 billion debt ceiling. The signal was made by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the man who left debt talks led by Vice President Biden two weeks ago over Democrats’ insistence on including tax increases as part of a deficit-reduction package. LINK

Politicos’ David Rogers: “Obama deficit deal stance gets bolder” President Barack Obama meets Thursday with fractious House and Senate leaders, trying to sell a bolder approach to the debt reduction debate but knowing that success or failure will be measured most by the impact on jobs and the economy. With June’s unemployment figures due out Friday, the economic impact is central to the debate over what part revenues will play in what the White House now envisions as a much bigger undertaking than a simple dollar-for-dollar bargain to get past the August debt ceiling vote. LINK

The New York Times’ Carl Hulse and Mark Landler: “President Looks for Broader Deal on Deficit Cuts” WASHINGTON — Heading into a crucial negotiating session on a budget deal on Thursday, President Obama has raised his sights and wants to strike a far-reaching agreement on cutting the federal deficit as Speaker John A. Boehner has signaled new willingness to bargain on revenues.  LINK

The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery: “In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts” President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue. LINK

The Washington Post’s Zachary Goldfarb: “Obama, Democrats not ready to play 14th Amendment card with debt ceiling” Law professors, Democratic senators and liberal commentators have recently raised a tantalizing possibility for ending the congressional wrangling over raising the federal limit on borrowing: President Obama could simply declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional and be done with it. LINK

BUDGET CUTS
The Wall Street Journal’s Leslie Eaton and Kris Maher: “Higher Taxes Yield to Budget Cuts in States” Forty-six states began a new fiscal year Friday after lawmakers spent the spring hashing out budgets that largely avoid big tax increases in favor of budget cuts and curbs on pay and benefits for public employees. LINK

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT/CONGRESS
The Washington Times’ Jerry Seper: “ATF chief: Higher-ups at Justice blocked response to Congress” The Justice Department blocked senior ATF leaders from cooperating with Congress in its investigation of the “Fast and Furious” weapons operation, ordering them not to respond to questions and taking full control of replying to briefing and document requests, the agency’s top boss told congressional investigators. LINK

 ABC NEWS VIDEOS:
Obama Holds Twitter Town HallLINK
Obama Answers Speaker Boehner's Tweeted Question at Twitter Town HallLINK
Sen. Sessions: Eleventh-Hour Deal 'Might Not Pass'LINK  
David Drucker: GOP 'Willing to Go to the Mat'LINK  

BOOKMARKS
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