The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, November 20, 2013

By Will Cantine

Nov 20, 2013 4:22am

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’ John Parkinson and Steven Portnoy: “Florida Rep. Trey Radel Target Of Undercover Sting” Trey Radel, the Florida Republican congressman charged with cocaine possession, was the target of an undercover sting operation, law enforcement sources told ABC News. Radel, according to sources, first came on the radar of federal authorities when a suspected cocaine dealer under investigation by a joint Drug Enforcement Administration/FBI task force told agents that one of his customers was the Florida rep. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Michael A. Memoli: “‘Hip-Hop Conservative’ Congressman To Be Arraigned On Cocaine Charge” Rep. Trey Radel, a first-term Republican from Florida, was charged Tuesday with possession of cocaine, according to court documents. He is scheduled to be arraigned in D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday. The felony charge stems from an Oct. 29 incident involving an undercover buy, according to a law enforcement source who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to comment publicly. Radel, 37, came to the attention of the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration this fall. LINK

The Washington Times’ Jessica Chasmar: “Republican Rep. Trey Radel Charged With Cocaine Possession” Florida Rep. Henry “Trey” Radel was arrested last month on misdemeanor possession of cocaine charges in Washington, D.C., a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman said. “I’m profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida,” the freshman Republican said in a statement. “I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them. LINK

The Hill’s Rebecca Shabad: “Radel Charged With Cocaine Possession” Freshman Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) has been charged with possession of cocaine and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning. In a statement, Radel blamed a struggle with alcoholism and said he will seek treatment, but made no mention of resigning from the House. “I’m profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida,” he said. “I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.” LINK

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, Keith L. Alexander and Ed O’Keefe: “Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) Charged With Cocaine Possession” According to court charging documents, on Oct. 29, Radel “unlawfully, knowingly and intentionally possessed” a quantity of cocaine. The charges are as a result of a D.C. Superior Court Grand Jury indictment. Radel was charged Tuesday and will be arraigned Wednesday. He faces a maximum of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. In a statement, he said problems with alcohol led to an “extremely irresponsible choice” and said he will seek treatment. LINK

Politico’s John Snahan and Jake Sherman: “Rep. Trey Radel Charged With Cocaine Possession” Rep. Trey Radel, a Florida Republican elected in 2012, will be in court Wednesday on charges that he possessed cocaine. Radel, 37, was charged with misdemeanor possession of cocaine in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday. He faces a maximum of 180 days in jail, as well as a fine of up to $1,000. Several sources with direct knowledge say it was the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration who were involved in the charges. LINK

USA Today’s Catalina Camia and Donna Leinwand Legar: “Rep. Trey Radel Busted In Cocaine Sting”  Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., was caught buying drugs as part of a federal investigation into a Washington, D.C., drug ring last month and is being charged with cocaine possession, according to a senior Drug Enforcement Administration official. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said several federal agencies working as part of a task force arrested a dealer who told them one of his cocaine customers was a congressman. The dealer, working with federal agents, set up a buy on Oct. 29, and Radel, a freshman congressman first elected last year, purchased the cocaine, the official said. LINK

OBAMACARE
ABC News’ Mary Bruce: “Obama: Rebranding Obamacare Will Be A Challenge“ President Obama admitted that, even once the health care website is working properly, he faces an uphill battle to “remarket and rebrand” his signature law in the face of political opposition.  Speaking to the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Tuesday, the president said Republican resistance contributed to the rocky Obamacare rollout.  LINK

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Sandhya Somashekhar: “Obama Says Republicans Share Some Blame For Health-Care Law’s Failures” President Obama on Tuesday sought to redirect some of the political blame for the botched rollout of the federal health insurance exchange to Republicans, characterizing GOP lawmakers as rooting for the law’s failure. Addressing a gathering of business executives, Obama acknowledged that the health-care rollout “has been rough, to say the least,” and he lamented the government’s archaic information-technology procurement system. Obama said that fixes to the HealthCare.gov Web portal are underway and that the exchange will function for a majority of people by the end of November. But the president said staunch opposition from congressional Republicans is inhibiting the law’s implementation. LINK

The Hill’s Tom Howell Jr.: “Republicans Say New Report Points To Obamacare Security Problems” Republicans on Tuesday called on President Obama to pull down the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov website as a key administration technology officer testified that they still haven’t built a payment system that needs to be up and running by the new year. Henry Chao, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official who oversaw construction of HealthCare.gov, said they are still building a part of the health exchange program that will handle “back office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems,” which account for at least 30 percent of the site. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Jennifer Corbett Dooren: “New Tech Worries Loom For Health Law” A top government technology official told Congress on Tuesday that about 30% of the federal health-insurance marketplace “is still being developed,” suggesting more tough hurdles await the administration even after the consumer portion,HealthCare.gov, is mostly fixed. Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the federal agency building the marketplace, said work on “back office” functions such as transferring federal subsidies to insurers is continuing even as contractors try to patch up remaining problems with the site, which is used by consumers in 36 states. LINK

SEN. HARRY REID
ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny: “Sen. Harry Reid Eyes Nuclear Option Again To Break Logjam” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today he is once again considering making major changes to long-standing Senate rules in an effort to break a logjam of President Obama’s nominees who have been blocked by Republicans. He stopped short of saying he had decided to invoke the so-called nuclear option, which would effectively blow up the customs and traditions of the Senate filibuster. But he made clear that his frustration had reached a new level in the face of obstruction for the president’s nominees. LINK

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton: “Reid’s Finger On Nuclear Button” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Tuesday that he is considering changing Senate rules to prevent Republicans from filibustering President Obama’s judicial nominees. “I’m at the point where we need to do something to allow government to function,” Reid said when asked if he would consider using the nuclear option, a controversial procedural tactic for changing Senate rules. The proposed rules change would not affect Supreme Court nominees, said Democratic sources.  LINK

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE
USA Today’s Martha T. Moore: “Before 2016, Christie Has To Position Himself Carefully” If there’s a to-do list for a politician with 2016 presidential aspirations, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can tick off quite a few items. Re-election landslide: check. Victory lap of political chat shows: check. Late-night TV and prime-time sitcom appearances: check. Opinion polls showing he’s in the lead for the GOP nomination: check. Too bad the primaries don’t start now. Christie has two years until he can try to convert his popularity among Republicans into primary delegates. Now what does he do? LINK

The New York Daily News’ Adam Edelman: “Chris Christie Poses In Hilarious Photo With Men In Drag” Despite a penchant for acid talk, Chris Christie is apparently a man of good cheer. The popular, outspoken New Jersey governor posed for photos Saturday with a crew of men dressed in drag as cheerleaders at a Princeton University football game. Members of the school’s Triangle Club, a theater group, snapped the hilarious shots with the larger-than-life governor in the stands during the game. The storied group, founded in 1891, is known for performances that include a kick line of men in drag. During homecoming at the school, which occurred over the weekend, club members traditionally dress as female cheerleaders and tour the campus. LINK

AFGHANISTAN
The New York Times’ Rod Nordland: “Afghans Demand That U.S. Admit Military Errors” Months of fraught negotiations and public posturing over how a long-term American military force could remain in Afghanistan have suddenly come down to a demand for a single personal gesture: a display of contrition by President Obama for military mistakes that have hurt Afghans. Afghan officials said Tuesday that in return for such a letter from Mr. Obama, President Hamid Karzai would end his vehement opposition to American counterterrorism raids on private Afghan homes — one of the most contentious issues between allies over a costly dozen-year war — clearing the way for an agreement to keep a smaller American troop force in the country past the 2014 withdrawal deadline. LINK

JANET YELLEN
Bloomberg’s Kathleen Hunter and Cheyenne Hopkins: “Four Senate Republicans Back Yellen For U.S. Fed Chairman” Four Senate Republicans say they’re inclined to support Janet Yellen to be chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, leaving her nomination one vote shy of the 60 she needs to be confirmed by the full Senate. Republicans Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah said today in interviews at the Capitol that they’d probably support Yellen when the nomination comes to the Senate floor, which may occur the week of Dec. 9. “I’m inclined to,” Coburn said when asked if he’d back her nomination. “She’s obviously qualified. I don’t agree with a lot of her philosophy, but she’s qualified.”  LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
Mitt Romney Beats Obama If Election Were Held Today“  LINK
John Edwards, Daughter Cate Set Up New Law FirmLINK
Creigh Deeds Attacked At HomeLINK
Rob Ford On City Council: They Stabbed ‘Me In The Back’LINK
Liz And Mary Cheny Feud Over Gay Marriage On FacebookLINK
Poll Shows Voters Would Not Re-Elect ObamaLINK

BOOKMARKS
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ABC News Politics: LINK
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