The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, January 8, 2014

By Jayce Henderson

Jan 8, 2014 4:01am

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’ Jayce Henderson, Will Cantine and Jordan Mazza

DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES
ABC News’ Abby D. Phillip: “Bob Gates Memoir Slams Joe Biden For Being ‘Wrong’ On Foreign Policy” A new memoir by former Defense Secretary Bob Gates is expected to be a juicy — and critical — inside look at the ups and downs of foreign policy in the Obama administration. One of those details included in a New York Times review of the book, reveals Gates’ flat dismissal of Vice President Joe Biden’s foreign policy credentials. Gates, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and kept in the post by President Obama, is now out of the job and being quite frank, according to the Times. LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson: “White House Disputes Claims In Gates’ Critical Book” The White House disputes claims by former Defense secretary Robert Gates that President Obama has lost faith in his Afghanistan policy. “It is well known that the president has been committed to achieving the mission of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al-Qaeda, while also ensuring that we have a clear plan for winding down the war, which will end this year,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement Tuesday. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Julian E. Barnes and Peter Nicholas: “Gates Faults Obama Over Afghanistan” Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates compiled a pointed critique of President Barack Obama’s oversight of the Afghanistan war in a new memoir that exposes strains within the administration over a vital period for U.S. military strategy. Mr. Gates writes that the president lost faith in the very war strategy he approved, wanted most to find a way out of combat, soured on his handpicked commander and tried to micromanage Pentagon policy, with White House aides facing off against four-star generals. LINK

The Hill’s Jeremy Herb and Kristina Wong: “Gates unloads on Obama” President Obama doubted his own troop-surge strategy in Afghanistan would work; Vice President Biden got nearly every security issue wrong for 40 years; and Hillary Clinton opposed President Bush’s Iraq surge to help her presidential bid. These are among the blockbuster allegations detonated Tuesday by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Writing in a memoir due out next week, Gates says that Obama was “skeptical if not outright convinced” his Afghan surge would fail. Gates also contends that Biden was wrong on “nearly every” major national security and foreign policy issue over the past four decades. LINK

HILLARY CLINTON
ABC News’ Shushannah Walsh: “Ready For Hillary, Ready For Cash” There’s no candidate yet, but the Ready for Hillary super PAC is fundraising like it’s 2016. The group is announcing this evening it has raised more than $4 million in 2013 from donations from 33,631 Americans. While $4 million may not sound like that much in the new normal of billion dollar campaigns,  the group has capped donations at $25,000. It wants to make sure it doesn’t stretch high-dollar donors before there is an actual campaign while collecting a list of as many names as possible. LINK

USA Today’s Fredreka Schouten: “Pro-Clinton Super PAC Raises $4 Million In 2013”  A super PAC encouraging Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton to seek the presidency in 2016 raised $2.75 million during the last six months of 2013, the group announced Tuesday night. That brings to $4 million the amount that the Ready for Hillary super PAC has collected to support the former secretary of State. More than 25,000 people contributed to the group after July 1 — more than three times the number of donors the group had during the first half of the year. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Seema Mehta: “‘Super PAC’ backing Hillary Clinton says it raised $4 million in 2013” Ready for Hillary, a “super PAC” that is urging Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016, announced Tuesday that it raised more than $4 million last year. “Thanks to the groundswell of enthusiasm for Hillary’s potential run and the steadfast commitment of our supporters, we have exceeded our goals and are ahead of schedule in raising the funds necessary to build a grass-roots army that can be activated the moment Hillary makes a decision,” Adam Parkhomenko, executive director of the group, said in a statement. LINK

IRAQ WAR VETERANS
The Washington Times’ Guy Taylor: “Iraq War veterans watch losses of hard-fought gains in Fallujah” Robert Reynolds chokes up when asked to recall what it was like to be among U.S. forces who routed al Qaeda-linked fighters from the western Iraqi city of Fallujah a decade ago. “We lost hundreds of men, so many men, and so many more men were injured,” said the former Marine, who received a Purple Heart for the bullet he took in the arm during the combat. LINK

IMMIGRATION REFORM
Politico’s Seung Min Kim: “Immigration Reform’s Narrow Window for Survival” Immigration reform backers see a narrow window in late spring to push a sweeping overhaul through the House — a goal that eluded them in 2013.  The politics of immigration in the Republican-controlled chamber is still tough — and might be impossible — with many lawmakers opposed to any measure that could be seen as providing amnesty to millions of immigrants living in the United States illegally. LINK

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman: “Vote in Senate Starts Talks on Extending Unemployment Benefits” The Senate’s unexpected vote on Tuesday to advance legislation extending expired unemployment benefits touched off delicate negotiations to secure final passage in the chamber, even as Republicans and Democrats warily eyed the political motives behind the efforts. The three-month extension of benefits passed with no room to spare, on a vote of 60 to 37, and some of the six Republicans who voted yes made clear that they wanted the $6.4 billion cost paid for through cuts elsewhere in the budget. LINK

The Washington Post’s Paul Kane and Robert Costa: “Senate moves ahead with measure to extend long-term unemployment benefits” The Democratic effort to extend federal benefits for the long-term unemployed got a surprise boost Tuesday as skeptical Republicans in the Senate voted to allow the proposal to advance, with issues of poverty and economic opportunity emerging as a central battleground between the parties.  The reprieve came after President Obama’s outreach to some GOP senators produced the narrowest of victories for the White House. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
Robert Gates Memoir Provides Unfiltered Look Into The Obama AdministrationLINK
Obama Makes Case To Extend Long-Term Unemployment BenefitsLINK

BOOKMARKS
The Note: LINK
ABC News Politics: LINK
George Stephanopoulos’ Blog: LINK
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