The Note's Must-Reads for Monday December 3, 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' Carrie Halperin, Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and Will Cantine

PRESIDENT OBAMA / FISCAL CLIFF ABC News' David Kerley: " White House Draws Line in Sand For Boehner in Fiscal Cliff Talks" President Obama and his White Hosue team appear to have drawn a line in the sand in talks with House Republicans on the "fiscal cliff." But the President's plan, which Geitner delivered last week, has left the two sides far apart. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas: " Budget Battle Could Set Course For Second Term" More is at stake for President Barack Obama in his budget negotiations than whether the country dives off the so-called fiscal cliff. Democratic lawmakers and party strategists say the success of his second term could ride on how this early battle unfolds. LINK

The New York Times' Peter Baker: " Pushing G.O.P. to Negotiate, Obama Ends Giving In" Amid demands from Republicans that President Obama propose detailed new spending cuts to avert the year-end fiscal crisis, his answer boils down to this: you first. Mr. Obama, scarred by failed negotiations in his first term and emboldened by a clear if close election to a second, has emerged as a different kind of negotiator in the past week or two, sticking to the liberal line and frustrating Republicans on the other side of the bargaining table. LINK

The Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb: " 'Fiscal cliff' talks at a stalemate over tax hikes" As the White House and Republican leaders enter the final month of negotiations to avoid a year-end "fiscal cliff," both sides struck an uncompromising tone Sunday, as warnings mounted that they will be unable to forge an agreement to stop an automatic series of deep spending cuts and large tax hikes that could push the economy into recession. Following private meetings last week, the senior negotiators for the White House and the Republicans took to the airwaves Sunday to accuse the other side of intransigence and to demand that the opposition concede on the central question of how much to raise taxes on the wealthy. LINK

The Boston Globe's Sheryl Gay Stolberg: " Obama's budget director at heart of fiscal cliff talks" When President Obama was locked in painful spending negotiations with House Republicans last spring, his exceedingly meticulous budget director, Jacob J. Lew, came to the Oval Office to propose some complex budget changes. As Lew delved deeper and deeper into the numbers, Obama put up his hand, signaling him to stop. LINK

Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman &Roger Runningen: " Obama Bets Re-Election Gave Him Power to Win Fiscal Cliff" President Barack Obama's hard stance on the "fiscal cliff" talks is a bet that his re-election gave him the political clout to force Republicans to accept higher taxes on upper income Americans as a first step toward reducing the federal deficit. Obama's aggressive posture was shown in the proposal Timothy F. Geithner laid out for congressional leaders last week: a reprise of the president's prior budget proposals, with $1.6 trillion in tax increases and about $350 billion in health care savings, primarily in Medicare. LINK

The Washington Times' Seth McLaughlin: " Republicans urged to call Democrats' bluff" Grover Norquist says Republicans will emerge victorious from the "fiscal cliff" fight if they put television cameras in the negotiating room and smoke out Democrats over their reluctance to cut entitlement programs - the biggest drivers of federal spending and the national debt. In a meeting with editors and reporters of The Washington Times, Mr. Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and father of the group's influential "no new taxes" pledges, said Republicans are at a tipping point after 20 years of building their anti-tax brand, and the most disastrous thing lawmakers in the GOP could do is put their "fingerprints" on a tax increase. LINK


The Hill's Erik Wasson and Meghashyam Mali: " Obama pays tribute to Kennedy Center honorees at White House reception"President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Sunday paid tribute to this year's Kennedy Center Honors award recipients, celebrating the art and music world talents at a White House reception. Speaking in the East Room, Obama lauded the honorees, comedian David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, actor Dustin Hoffman, blues guitarist Buddy Guy and the surviving members of rock group Led Zeppelin. LINK


The Los Angeles Times' George Skelton: " Keys to a California GOP comeback: camaraderie and good ideas" Paul Priolo remembers the last time Democrats enjoyed a supermajority in the state Assembly. He was the Republican leader. And his strategy was simple. "I socialized with Democrats," he says. "That was my key to getting along and overcoming the handicap of their having a supermajority…. They were the leaders and the ones you tried to get next to. LINK

MEDICARE Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn and Paige Winfield Cunningham: " The cold, hard realities behind Medicare cuts" Democrats have said they can cut Medicare spending without touching seniors' benefits. But here's the reality: They can't get several hundred billion dollars out of Medicare without at least some beneficiaries taking a hit. And that could be a big problem if the framework for a fiscal cliff deal calls for $400 billion in entitlement savings - most of which would be likely to come from Medicare. LINK


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