The Note's Must-Reads for Friday May 24, 2013

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 J.P. Lawrence

DEFENSE ABC News's Jonathan Karl: "Obama Orders DOJ Review of Leak Investigations" President Obama is a little uneasy with the way journalists have been dragged into the Justice Department's aggressive pursuit of national security leak investigations. In fact, he has ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a 45-day review of the department's guidelines on the issue. That bit of news was buried in the middle of the president's hour-long speech today at National Defense University. "Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs," President Obama said. "Our focus must be on those who break the law." LINK

ABC News's Abby D. Phillip: "Obama Lays Out Strategy for 'New Phase' in Terror Fight" In a wide-ranging speech at the National Defense University, in Washington D.C., today, President Obama launched a spirited defense of his administration's efforts to pursue terrorists overseas, even while he outlined a more limited path forward in the fight against terror. "We are at war with an organization that right now would kill as many Americans as they could if we did not stop them first. So this is a just war - a war waged proportionally, in last resort, and in self-defense," Obama said. "And yet as our fight enters a new phase, America's legitimate claim of self-defense cannot be the end of the discussion." LINK

USA Today's David Jackson: "Protester heckles Obama over Gitmo, drones" President Obama's carefully written remarks on the fate of the Guantanamo Bay prison hit a major snag Thursday - a loud and insistent protester. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the antiwar group known as Code Pink, continually interrupted Obama as he talked about steps to close Gitmo, arguing that it should have been done already."You are commander in chief," Benjamin said. "You can close Guantanamo today!" LINK

The New York Times' Peter Baker: " Pivoting From a War Footing, Obama Acts to Curtail Drones" Nearly a dozen years after the hijackings that transformed America, President Obama said Thursday that it was time to narrow the scope of the grinding battle against terrorists and begin the transition to a day when the country will no longer be on a war footing. Declaring that "America is at a crossroads," the president called for redefining what has been a global war into a more targeted assault on terrorist groups threatening the United States. As part of a realignment of counterterrorism policy, he said he would curtail the use of drones, recommit to closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and seek new limits on his own war power. LINK

The Washington Post's Scott Wilson: " Analysis: Obama expresses regrets but seeks to retain anti-terror powers" President Obama declared an end to a fearful chapter in American history on Thursday and demanded more from the country and himself as it enters the next. Obama's speech at the National Defense University reflected an unusual ambivalence from a commander in chief over the morality of his administration's counterterrorism policies. In his wide-ranging discussion of the issues at stake, Obama also suggested the depth of the difficulty he has faced in fulfilling his pledge to bring America's national security policies fully in line with its founding values. LINK

Politico's Josh Gerstein: " 5 questions about Obama's counterterrorism speech" President Barack Obama's security speech Thursday - covering topics from terrorism and drones to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay - was by far the most sweeping address he's delivered on the subject since the early months of his first term. He made some concrete announcements, including a lifting of the moratorium he imposed four years ago on returning prisoners to Yemen. And he fleshed out a series of statements his subordinates have made in recent months about the legal and practical restraints on the U.S. government's use of drones to fight far-flung terrorist networks. LINK

The Washington Times' Susan Crabtree: " Obama: Al Qaeda is on 'a path to defeat'" President Obama said Thursday that al Qaeda is nearly defeated and the war on terrorism has changed since he took office, and that demands a broad rethink that includes scaling down drone attacks, transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay and revisiting the 2001 congressional resolution that set the country on perpetual war footing. After the death of Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, al Qaeda has been decimated, scattered across the North Africa and the Middle East and able to launch only small-scale attacks, Mr. Obama told an audience gathered at the National Defense University in Washington. LINK

Bloomberg's Margaret Talev: " Obama Sets Policy to Cut Reliance on Drone Strikes" President Barack Obama announced he's redefining U.S. counter-terrorism strategy to reduce the reliance on drone strikes and the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, policies which he said carry an international backlash that over time makes the U.S. less safe. Obama, in a speech today in Washington, said the U.S. must prepare for the transition from a long campaign against terrorists to the eventual day when "this war, like all wars, must end." LINK

CONGRESS ABC News' Shushannah Walshe: "Republicans Aim to Recruit, Elect More Women" Making sure that more Republican women run for office and that they get the support they need is the focus of "Right Women, Right Now," a new initiative by the Republican State Leadership Committee to encourage and mentor GOP women considering a run for office. Ed Gillespie, chairman of the RSLC, said the goal of the program, which was started last year was but relaunched Thursday, was to grow the Republican Party and "foster up-and-coming diverse voices, and to get new women to the table from the state level. LINK

SANDY RELIEF USA Today's Brian Tumulty:" Tax relief proposed for victims of Hurricane Sandy" A bipartisan group of House members from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said Thursday they will revive an effort to enact temporary tax relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy.And possible congressional action to help Oklahoma tornado victims could provide the lawmakers with a legislative vehicle. Among their proposals: Homeowners within the Sandy disaster area could avoid tax penalties for withdrawals from their IRAs or 401k retirement plans if the money is repaid within three years. That would free up cash for rebuilding. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS "Obama Lays Out Strategy for 'New Phase' in Terror Fight" LINK

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