The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday, December 19, 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 and Amanda VanAllen

PRESIDENT OBAMA The New York Times' Peter Baker: " Obama Facing Critical Choice After Shooting" For President Obama, the massacre of schoolchildren in Connecticut has upended standard political calculations and has presented a choice that goes to the heart of his approach to governance, not just on guns but also on issues like climate change, immigration and even taxes. Should he invest his energy and the stature he won with his re-election last month in a fight he may believe in but is not sure he can actually win? And with his last election now behind him, is he willing or even able to shift the dynamics in Washington to make such fights winnable? LINK

GUN CONTROL The Hills' Molly K. Hooper and Mike Lillis: " Boehner calls for 'discussion' on guns" Republicans need to "have a discussion on guns" in the wake of last week's grade-school massacre in Newtown, Conn., Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told his conference Tuesday. Speaking to his troops at a closed-door meeting in the Capitol, Boehner was mindful of conservatives' traditional opposition to new gun restrictions, emphasizing that Republicans wouldn't do "anything knee-jerk," according to a lawmaker in the room. LINK

The New York Daily News' Kenneth Lovett and Dan Friedman: " President Obama 'actively' supports efforts to reinstate an assault weapons ban: White House" President Obama's new campaign to curb gun violence began to take shape Tuesday as the White House said he is "actively supporting" a proposal to reinstate the national ban on assault weapons. Obama's spokesman said the President also supports closing the loophole that allows sales of firearms at gunshows without background checks. LINK

USA Today's Anne R. Carey: " Obama backs new assault weapons ban" President Obama supports efforts to reinstate an assault weapons ban as part of a comprehensive plan to address gun violence, his spokesman said Tuesday. Press Secretary Jay Carney added that Obama would back proposals to close the "gun show loophole," which allows people to buy weapons without background checks. LINK

The Washington Post's Brad Plumer and David Fahrenthold: " Gun industry recoils from horror" The U.S. gun industry faced a new set of challenges to its financial and political power Tuesday as more of its Washington allies called for gun control and a major investor sought to get out of the firearms business entirely. In Washington, a trio of new senators - all elected with National Rifle Association backing - said they were willing to discuss tightening gun laws. The White House gave a stronger signal of President Obama's support for reinstating a ban on assault weapons. LINK

FISCAL CLIFF The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro, Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli: " Boehner changes gears in 'fiscal cliff' talks with Obama" The effort to resolve the standoff over federal spending and taxes snagged once again Tuesday - just a day after House Speaker John A. Boehner and President Obama appeared to make substantial progress - as Boehner abruptly shifted to what he called Plan B. The speaker's new proposal calls on the House to vote on a measure that would prevent taxes from going up except for those earning more than $1 million a year. LINK

The Washington Times' Seth McLaughlin and Susan Crabtree: " Obama, Boehner grapple near 'fiscal cliff'" Racing to find common ground in the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner are backing off what were once ironclad positions on taxes and spending - though not enough to reach an agreement just yet, as both men continue to demand additional concessions before signing off on a year-end deal. Mr. Obama has folded on his opposition to some entitlements cuts, while Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, caved on his opposition to higher taxes. LINK

Politico's Jake Sherman, John Bresnahan and Carrie Budoff Brown: " Cliff talks turn into public posturing" House Speaker John Boehner's decision to pursue a fiscal cliff backup plan looked like an attempt to go his own way. But it was really about bolstering his position in the one-on-one talks with President Barack Obama. Boehner is trying to strengthen his negotiating hand, give himself more legislative options, show his House Republican Conference that he is willing to play hardball and shift blame if they can't come to an agreement. LINK

KENNETH CHENAULT Bloomberg's Hans Nichols & Julianna Goldman: " AmEx's Chenault Said to Be Discussed for Treasury Post" White House officials have approached American Express Co. (AXP) Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Chenault about joining President Barack Obama's second-term administration, possibly as Treasury secretary, according to two people familiar with the matter. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew remains the leading contender for the Treasury job, the people said. Still, consideration of Chenault among Obama's staff may indicate the president hasn't made a final decision on a replacement for Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who has said he plans to leave the post. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " House Speaker John Boehner Proposes 'Plan B' on Taxes" LINK " Guns for Teacher: Gov. Rick Perry Hints at Support" LINK

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