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 www.abcnews.com
Compiled by ABC News’ Carrie Halperin, Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and J.P. Lawrence
ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf: “Mississippi Governor Stirs Simmering Debate on Working Women” Hard to believe in 2013 and the era of “Lean In,” but one could argue that the country is approaching a sort of national mini-conversation on women in the workplace. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant broached the subject today when he was asked at a D.C. event why U.S. kids have become so “mediocre” in education. ”I’m going to get in trouble if I … You want me to tell the truth,” Republican Bryant said. “You know I think parents became … Both parents started working and the mom is in the workplace. LINK
The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald F. Seib: “U.S. Oil Boom Scrambles Mideast Calculus“ Syria’s civil war increasingly threatens to metastasize into a regional conflict, as Hezbollah fighters join the battle on the side of Syria’s government, prompting the Syrian opposition to return fire directly into Hezbollah’s home base in Lebanon. Calls for the U.S. to get involved persist. Meanwhile, another interesting news development looms. Government projections show that in September, for the first time in almost two decades, the U.S. will produce more oil than it imports. Nor will that be a fluke; the trend is expected to continue, and domestic oil production is expected to outstrip imports by an increasingly wide margin throughout 2014.LINK
The Wall Street Journal’s Heather Haddon: ”Christie Plans October Vote for Lautenberg Seat“ Gov. Chris Christie called a special election this October for the U.S. Senate seat made vacant by the death of Frank Lautenberg, drawing a muted reaction from fellow Republicans and applause from national Democrats. Mr. Christie, a Republican, chose the option that allowed the earliest possible election for the Senate seat, setting an Aug. 13 primary and an Oct. 16 general election. New Jersey’s conflicting election laws appeared to also give him the option of a Nov. 5 contest—the ballot date for his own re-election effort this year—or a vote in November 2014. LINK.
USA Today’s Rick Klein: ”Christie’s Non-Political Play Plays Politics“ By professing not to play politics, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie chose a way to fill a vacant Senate seat that came with political benefit — and no shortage of political fallout. First, the non-politics: the Republican governor is going forward with primary and general elections to fill the seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., as early as possible under state law. That minimizes the amount of time an appointed successor will serve, and puts an elected senator in place to represent the state by October. ”There’s no political purpose. The political purpose is to give the people a voice,” Christie said in announcing his decision today.LINK.
The New York Times’ Kate Zernike and David Halbfinger: “Christie Decides on October Vote for New Senator” Gov. Chris Christie announced on Tuesday a highly unusual special election that was immediately criticized for costing the state $24 million and setting up a schedule that was likely to confuse the voting public. Voters will go to the polls on a Wednesday in October to cast ballots for a new senator, then return just three weeks later for the regularly scheduled general election, in which Mr. Christie will stand for a second term. LINK
SEX ABUSE SCANDAL
The Wall Street Journal’s Julian E. Barnes: “Military Pressed on Sex Abuse” The chiefs of the U.S. armed services squared off against senators Tuesday over the issue of how much authority military commanders should have in sexual-assault prosecutions.A group of senators that includes many of the chamber’s female members wants a deep overhaul of the military justice system to reduce the authority of commanders to say whether prosecutions should go forward. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said commanders should be given additional resources to help review and prosecute cases, but said they should keep power over their units. LINK.
USA Today’s Kevin Johnson: “Justice says it acted appropriately in seizing records“ The Justice Department again defended its seizure of records from telephone lines used by the Associated Press Tuesday, asserting in a letters to two Republican lawmakers that investigators acted appropriately and “consistent with department policy.” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik said authorities only sought records believed to be “associated with AP personnel” involved in the 2012 reporting of unauthorized classified information related to details about a foiled bomb plot. LINK.
The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin: “Conservative groups targeted by IRS testify that agency demanded they curtail activities” New details about the Internal Revenue Service’s heightened scrutiny of conservative organizations emerged Tuesday, with leaders of some groups telling lawmakers that agency officials demanded they curtail their activities if they wanted to win tax-exempt status. The testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee came as IRS spokesman Bruce Friedland said Tuesday that 236 tax-exempt 501(c)(4) applications pending before the agency remain unresolved after more than 200 days. LINK
The Boston Globe’s Stephen Ohlemacher: “IRS’s new chief says it must rebuild trust” His agency under relentless fire, the new head of the Internal Revenue Service acknowledged to Congress on Monday that taxpayers no longer trust the IRS amid a growing number of scandals — from the targeting of conservative political groups to lavish spending on employee conferences. But Danny Werfel, the acting commissioner, declared he was ”committed to restoring that trust.” LINK
Bloomberg’s Richard Rubin: “Republicans See IRS Bias as Democrats Cite Mistakes” The Internal Revenue Service’s actions are a political Rorschach test, with Republicans seeing an effort to intimidate their allies and Democrats citing a mismanaged agency’s interpretation of flawed laws. The bipartisan sense of outrage in the first days after the IRS revealed May 10 that it gave tougher scrutiny to small-government groups applying for tax-exempt status is starting to fray. LINK
USA Today’s Richard Wolf and David Jackson: “Analysis: Obama poised to make mark on the judiciary“ President Obama’s simultaneous nominations of three judges to fill the nation’s most powerful appellate court signals a new chapter in a political battle that’s been raging for more than a quarter century. It has taken Obama well into his fifth year in office to bring the federal judiciary essentially back to even: There are nearly as many judges nominated by Democratic presidents as there are Republican nominees on the bench. LINK.
USA Today’s Alan Gomez: ”GOP senators say immigration bill has ‘serious flaws‘” As the Senate prepares to debate a sweeping immigration bill that would allow the nation’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants to become U.S. citizens, some Republicans, including one who helped write the law, are sounding skeptical about its chances of clearing the chamber. Four senators penned a letter to their colleagues Tuesday saying the bill has “serious flaws” and laid out nine areas where they say significant change is needed before the bill can pass the full Senate. LINK.
Politico’s Seung Min Kim: “Guns, gay rights could return in immigration fight” As the Senate prepares to consider immigration reform next week, two powerful issues dividing lawmakers could be resurrected on the floor: guns and gay rights. They’re just two pressure points in a minefield that senators will have to navigate to pass the most sweeping immigration overhaul in decades. But debate over amendments to restrict gun ownership for illegal immigrants and to provide foreign-born gay partners with U.S. citizenship would reopen old wounds that both parties would rather see closed — even if those measures ultimately fail. LINK
MICHELLE OBAMA HECKLED
USA Today’s Mary Bruce: “First Lady Heckled by Gay Rights Advocate, Threatens to Leave Event“ First lady Michelle Obama was heckled by a gay rights advocate at a fundraiser tonight and responded by threatening to leave the event, telling the protester only one of them could speak. Obama was delivering a speech at a DNC event at a private home in Washington shortly after 6 p.m. when a protester began shouting for the president to sign an executive order to protect gay and lesbian rights, according to pool reports. ”One of the things I don’t do well is this,” Obama reportedly responded to loud applause. She then left the podium and walked toward the heckler, saying she could “listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.” LINK.
The Washington Times’ Jessica Chasmar: “Michelle Obama lets gay rights heckler get to her: ‘I’m leaving’” First Lady Michelle Obama responded to a protester after she was interrupted about ten minutes into her speech at a campaign fundraiser in D.C. on Tuesday. A pro-LGBT rights woman — standing at the front of the event at the residence of Karen Dixon and Nan Schaffer — began shouting for an executive order on gay rights, The Drudge Report reported. LINK
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