The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, November 21, 2013

By Will Cantine

Nov 21, 2013 3:46am

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’ Will Cantine, Jayce Henderson and Jordan Mazza

REP. TREY RADEL
ABC News’ Mike Levine and Maryalice Parks: “Florida Rep. Trey Radel To Take Leave Of Absence After Cocaine Charge” Florida Republican congressman Trey Radel will take a leave of absence from Congress and donate his salary to charity after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession. I’m owning up to my actions. I’m taking responsibility. I’m taking it very publicly,” Radel told a group of reporters at a news conference Wednesday night from his Cape Coral, Fla., office. LINK

The Hill’s Blake Neff: “Rep. Radel Takes Leave Of Absence” At a press conference Wednesday night, embattled Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) refused to resign, saying he will instead take an extended leave of absence from Congress to enter in-patient treatment for alcohol addiction. “I knew this day would come,” he said, adding that his struggles with substance abuse had continued on and off for years. Radel said he would donate his Congressional salary for the period he was away from Washington. LINK

Politico’s Jake Sherman: “Trey Radel Takes Leave Of Absence From Congress” Hours after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine, freshman Florida GOP Rep. Trey Radel said he is taking a leave of absence from Congress and will donate his salary to charity while he undergoes rehabilitation for addiction. “Sometimes in life, you need a wakeup call. This is my wakeup call,” he said Wednesday night in Cape Coral, Fla. The first-term Florida Republican, 37, plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of possession of cocaine in D.C. Superior Court earlier Wednesday, after being swept up in a drug sting in late October. “I’m struggling with this disease but I can overcome it,” Radel said, speaking in Florida. LINK

The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, Keith Alexander and Sari Horwitz: “Rep. Trey Radel Of Florida To Take Leave Of Absence After Guilty Plea To Cocaine Charge” Late on a Tuesday evening, at a Dupont Circle bistro that serves $11 mojitos, the congressman and the undercover officer talked about cocaine. They talked about how much the congressman would have to pay for it. They talked about the quality of the drug for sale. Finally, they made a deal: $250 for 3.5 grams, an amount generally bought for personal use. Outside, in a car, the drug and money changed hands. And then, suddenly, there were feds outside the vehicle. Before that moment, Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) had built a remarkable double life in Washington — and built it in record time. LINK

USA Today’s Catalina Camia and William M. Welch: “Rep. Radel Takes Leave Of Absence After Cocaine Charge”  Freshman Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of cocaine and at an emotional evening news conference said he would take a leave of absence while undergoing treatment.  Radel did not resign his seat in Congress or say how long he would be absent. He said he would donate his salary to charity during his leave and was starting intensive treatment immediately.  LINK

PRESIDENTIAL HONORS
The Los Angeles Times’ Kathleen Hennessey: “Obama Pays Tribute To John F. Kennedy” President Obama on Wednesday placed a wreath at President Kennedy’s grave, marking 50 years since the assassination that helped shape the presidency and every man who has held the office since. Obama was just 2 years old, a babbling toddler living in Hawaii, when Kennedy was shot. He is the first president with no memory of the moment. LINK

The Washington Times’ Ben Wolfgang: “Obama, Clinton Hide Tension Behind Smiles At Medal Ceremony” Whatever tension exists between President Obama and former President Bill Clinton — and by all accounts, there’s plenty — it wasn’t on full display Wednesday when the two men came together for a White House ceremony and a tribute to the late President John F. Kennedy. Mr. Obama lavished praise on Mr. Clinton as he presented him with the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The 42nd president and former Arkansas governor was one of 16 Americans who received the medal during an event in the White House. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Corky Siemaszko: “President Obama Honors Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey With Presidential Medal Of Freedom” It was a chance to pay tribute to one President while honoring another. President Obama draped a Presidential Medal of Freedom around the neck of former President Bill Clinton half a century after the founder of the award — President Kennedy — was assassinated. Kennedy never got to present one of the medals himself and that sad fact was on Obama’s mind as he bestowed the nation’s highest civilian awards to Clinton and 15 other worthy Americans. LINK

AFGHANISTAN
The New York Times’ Thom Shanker and Rod Nordland: “Pact May Extend U.S. Troops’ Stay in Afghanistan” Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Wednesday that the United States and Afghanistan had finalized the wording of a bilateral security agreement that would allow for a lasting American troop presence through 2024 and set the stage for billions of dollars of international assistance to keep flowing to the government in Kabul. The deal, which will now be presented for approval by an Afghan grand council of elders starting on Thursday, came after days of brinkmanship by Afghan officials and two direct calls from Mr. Kerry to President Hamid Karzai, including one on Wednesday before the announcement. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Makes Strong Case For New Military Sexual Assault BillLINK
Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey Awarded Presidential Medal Of FreedomLINK
GOP Congressman Pleads Guilty To Cocaine PossessionLINK
Gloria Steinem Awarded Medal Of FreedomLINK

BOOKMARKS
The Note: LINK
ABC News Politics: LINK
George Stephanopoulos’ Blog: LINK
ABC News on Twitter: @ThisWeekABC | @ABCPolitics
ABC News Mobile: LINK
ABC News Apps: LINK
ABC News YouTube: LINK

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