The Note's Must-Reads for Friday, December 21, 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' Amanda VanAllen, Ben Waldron and Jordan Mazza

COREY BOOKER ABC News' Sarah Parnass and Shushannah Walshe: " Newark Mayor Cory Booker to Explore Run for Senate in 2014? Popular Newark Mayor Cory Booker is "exploring the possibility" of running for the U.S. Senate rather than governor, the social-media-savvy Democrat posted on his website today. LINK

FISCAL CLIFF/PLAN B The Hills' Russell Berman: " House GOP pulls 'Plan B'; Boehner says 'cliff' up to Dems" Short of votes, House Republicans pulled Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" tax bill from the floor late Thursday, testing the Ohio Republican's hold on his conference and throwing year-end efforts to avoid the fiscal cliff into further chaos. Party leaders had voiced confidence throughout the day they had enough Republican votes to pass the measure over unified Democratic opposition, but amid mounting defections, they announced shortly before 8 p.m. that the vote would be canceled. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Michael A. Memoli: " House Republicans call off vote on 'Plan B' fiscal cliff plan" House Republican leaders abruptly called off a vote Thursday night on their "Plan B" tax proposal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, which ran into stiff resistance from the party's right flank. A tight vote on a preliminary measure that had been expected to pass with ease led House Speaker John A. Boehner and his lieutenants to cancel the vote on legislation that would have extended the George W. Bush-era tax rates only for those making less than $1 million. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " Boehner's 'Plan B' to avoid 'fiscal cliff' ? fails to win ? over GOP" House Republicans' "Plan B" to avert the "fiscal cliff" came crashing down Thursday night after party leaders realized they didn't have the votes to pass it, and pulled it from the floor - leaving the country poised on the edge of massive tax increases and spending cuts. House lawmakers are now headed home for Christmas, though they vowed to return if there is any progress on talks. LINK

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman: " Boehner Cancels Tax Vote in Face of G.O.P Revolt" Speaker John A. Boehner's effort to pass fallback legislation to avert a fiscal crisis in less than two weeks collapsed Thursday night in an embarrassing defeat after conservative Republicans refused to support legislation that would allow taxes to rise on the most affluent households in the country. House Republican leaders abruptly canceled a vote on the bill after they failed to rally enough votes for passage in an emergency meeting about 8 p.m. LINK

The Washington Post's Paul Kane, Ed O'Keefe and Lori Montgomery: " How Boehner's Plan B for the 'fiscal cliff' began and fell apart " John A. Boehner's week on the brink ended in a painfully familiar place. It began last week when President Obama delivered a stern message to the House speaker: If there was going to be a deal to tame the nation's debt, it had to happen now. If they went over the "fiscal cliff," it would only become harder to reach a deal, Obama said. LINK

Politico's Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan: " Boehner's Toughest Hour" Things were so bad for Speaker John Boehner Thursday night, support for his Plan B tax bill so diminished, the limits of his power with his own party laid bare, that he stood in front of the House Republican Conference and recited the Serenity Prayer. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." LINK

USA Today's Susan Davis: "Speaker Boehner plan to avert 'fiscal cliff' fails." House Speaker John Boehner was handed a stunning defeat late Thursday by members of his own party who refused to support his "Plan B" to avoid the year-end "fiscal cliff" that threatens to send the economy in to a recession. LINK

BENGHAZI The Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon and Siobhan Gorman: "In Benghazi Hearings, Partisan Politics Play Out" Congressional hearings to help unravel details behind the September consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, morphed into a political face-off Thursday as Democrats and Republicans sought to position themselves and their parties for the months and years ahead-possibly including 2016, the next presidential election year. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS " Fiscal Cliff Countdown Inches Closer to Cut-Off Date" LINK

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