The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, November 29, 2012

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

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and Carrie Halperin

FISCAL CLIFF ABC News' Devin Dwyer and Mary Bruce: " Obama Taps Twitter for Tax-Cut Push" President Obama today sought to inject a dose of public pressure into the "fiscal cliff" debate, urging Americans who face an across-the-board tax hike in 34 days to lobby lawmakers by phone, email and Twitter. "If there's one thing I've learned; when the American people speak loudly enough, lo and behold, Congress listens," Obama said from a White House auditorium. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Christi Parsons and Lisa Mascaro: " Obama takes 'fiscal cliff' battle to social media" Seeking to leverage the momentum of his reelection victory for a partisan budget battle, President Obama called on Americans to use social media to pressure Congress in his efforts to keep tax breaks for most Americans while raising taxes on the wealthiest 2%. The president's attempt to rally public support Wednesday via Twitter, Facebook and email marks a new strategy for the Obama White House- a dramatic shift from the grinding legislative battles and political maneuvers used to pass healthcare reform in 2010. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan and Seth McLaughlin: " Are parties hurtling toward cliff?" With little tangible headway being made in Washington on averting the looming federal taxes-and-spending crisis, a key observer said Wednesday that he puts the chances of Congress reaching a deal before the Jan. 1 "fiscal cliff" deadline at less than 1 in 3. Erskine Bowles, who ran President Obama's 2010 deficit commission that called for tax increases and spending cuts to fix perennial deficits, blamed both sides for his pessimism, saying Republicans will have to budge on their opposition to raising income-tax rates and that the White House hasn't been serious enough about embracing real spending cuts to big programs such as Medicare. LINK

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and Rosalind Helderman: " 'Fiscal cliff' talks bogged down by dispute over cost of retirement programs" XNegotiations to avert the year-end "fiscal cliff" advanced at a glacial pace Wednesday, with a dispute over how to tackle the soaring cost of federal retirement programs emerging as the latest roadblock to progress. Democrats complained that Republicans have yet to name their price for enacting legislation that would preserve tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans next year while raising revenue from the wealthiest 2 percent. LINK

TAXES The Hills' Russell Berman, Bernie Becker and Erik Wasson: " GOP: Forget tax rates in talks on the deficit, let's look at spending" Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday shot down a proposal by a senior GOP lawmaker that the House agree to President Obama's demand to extend middle-class tax rates as Republicans sought to put the focus of negotiations on spending. The Speaker's swift rejection of an idea floated by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a respected party strategist and former chairman of the House GOP campaign committee, came as Republicans voiced increasing concerns that the debate over the so-called "fiscal cliff" had become dominated by talk of taxes rather than spending. LINK

FOREIGN AFFAIRS The New York Times' David Sanger and Eric Schmitt: " U.S. Weighs Bolder Effort to Intervene in Syria's Conflict" The Obama administration, hoping that the conflict in Syria has reached a turning point, is considering deeper intervention to help push President Bashar al-Assad from power, according to government officials involved in the discussions. While no decisions have been made, the administration is considering several alternatives, including directly providing arms to some opposition fighters. LINK

GOP Politico's James Hohmann: " GOP hangs hopes on Cuccinelli" It's only been three weeks since Republicans explained their thumping in the 2012 elections by saying they needed to reach out to women, Hispanics and young voters. But it now seems that one of their chief standard-bearers in 2013 will be a national conservative firebrand who has aligned himself with some of his party's most controversial causes: Virginia Republican Ken Cuccinelli. LINK

ENERGY The Wall Street Journals' Tom Fowler: " Exxon Has an Oil Shortage" On a forested plain in Alberta next month, massive mechanical shovels will start scooping tons of oil-rich sands and loading them into three-story-tall dump trucks. The trucks will haul the sands to the $11 billion Kearl oil-sands-processing facility, which will sift out the prized Canadian crude and provide Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM +0.86% with up to 170,000 barrels of oil a day for decades to come. LINK

OTHER Bloomberg's Brian Faler: " Unaffordable Cost Seen for Some Under Affordable Care Act" To Megan Hildebrandt, President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act means she can no longer be denied health insurance because of her lymphatic cancer. There's a big catch: Coverage for the 28-year-old artist and many other Americans without insurance will come at a potentially unaffordable cost. LINK

The Boston Globe's Matt Viser: " Amid wrangling on Hill, Kerry keeps visibility low" Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians chant for the ouster of their new leader, Israel and Hamas fire rockets at each other, Syria totters on the edge of a sectarian abyss. Yet as pockets of the world have convulsed during these past three weeks, one voice is notably absent. The chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has not appeared on a Sunday talk show nor put out a relevant press release. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Obama Administration Replacements: Critical Time on World Stage" LINK

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