The Note’s Must-Reads for Tuesday, February 4, 2014

By Will Cantine

Feb 4, 2014 4:36am

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 Janine Elliot

PRESIDENT OBAMA
ABC News’ Mary Bruce: “Obama Tells Fox News ‘I’ve Been A Big Money-Maker For You’” In round two of their testy face-off, President Obama told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that the outspoken conservative host has “absolutely” been unfair to him throughout his presidency. “Of course you have, Bill,” the president said, when O’Reilly asked if he had been unfair. “But I like you anyway, Bill.” The president, chuckling, explained how O’Reilly had just questioned him about the botched HealthCare.gov rollout, the IRS controversy, and the terrorist attack in Benghazi, describing them as issues that are “defined by you guys in a certain way.” “This is OK,” Obama explained. “If you want to be President of the United States then you know that you’re going to be subject to criticism.” LINK

The New York Times’ Jackie Calmes: “Obama Moves To The Right In A Partisan War Of Words” Like so many political fights, the one between President Obama and Republicans over income inequality has become a battle over language. Is it about inequality of incomes or of opportunity? On this question, the president and his party have moved in Republicans’ — and voters’ — direction. To Republicans, talk of income inequality smacks of class warfare and redistribution of wealth, of taxing the rich to give to the poor. They prefer to emphasize opportunity and upward mobility, and Democrats, too, have come to see that frame as more appealing to middle-class voters in this midterm election year. LINK

Wall Street Journal’s Janet Hook and Peter Nicholas: “Fractures Emerge Between Obama, Congressional Democrats” Democrats in Congress are parting ways with President Barack Obama on issues including trade, energy and health care as the gap widens between the political demands of keeping control of the Senate and advancing parts of the White House agenda. A phalanx of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have announced opposition to the president’s top trade initiative. LINK

NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE
ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and Josh Margolin: “Chris Christie Says He ‘Unequivocally’ Had No Knowledge Of Lane Closure” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared on a local radio show this evening and again denied having any prior knowledge of the lane closure scandal that has engulfed his administration. He said he “unequivocally” had no knowledge of a plan by top aides to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge for political retribution. “Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat which I think is the most important issue and the most important issue is: Did I know anything about a plan to close these lanes?” Christie said on the monthly radio program “Ask the Governor” on New Jersey’s 101.5 FM. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Adam Edelman: “Christie body Guard Tried To Evade Charges After Stealing Gun Supplies By Name-Dropping Scandal-Plagued Boss” “Do you know who my boss is?” A bodyguard for Gov. Chris Christie is facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania for shoplifting gun supplies — despite trying to evade punishment by dropping the name of his scandal-plagued boss. William Carvounis, a New Jersey state trooper assigned to Christie’s security detail, reportedly stole $268 in merchandise from a Hamburg, Pa., hunting gear store earlier this month, including handgun grips, a pistol magazine and a hat. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Joseph Tanfani: “Chris Christie Answers Questions About Bridge Scandal” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday insisted he never knew that his aides had intentionally fouled up traffic approaches to the George Washington Bridge until after the lanes had been reopened — though he admitted he might have heard about traffic snarls while they were happening and not paid any attention. Answering questions during his monthly radio call-in show from Trenton, Christie also said that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed records from his office, as part of investigations into possible abuses of power by his administration. He said his staff was already turning over records to prosecutors and to a legislative investigative committee. LINK

The Hill’s Rebecca Shabad: “Christie Repeats: ‘I Had Nothing To Do With This’” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) again denied Monday night having any involvement with authorizing the George Washington Bridge lane closures, but admitted the traffic problems could have been mentioned to him in passing at the time. “I had nothing to do with this. I’m so disappointed that this has happened. But I’m so determined to get to the bottom of it, and to fix it once and for all if I haven’t fixed it already by the actions I’ve already taken, and to move on to do the job the people of New Jersey elected me to do,” Christie said on NJ1015′s “Ask the Governor” live show. Christie said someone may have mentioned the traffic in Fort Lee, N.J. during the lane closures last September, but added “It wouldn’t have been meaningful to me.” LINK

FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ABC News’ Ali Weinberg and Arlette Saenz: “Senators Distance Themselves From Saying John Kerry Wants To Arm Syrian Rebels” Two key senators on foreign policy issues distanced themselves today from assertions they made earlier that Secretary of State Kerry told them during a closed-door meeting that he had lost faith in the United States’ Syria strategy and wanted to arm the rebels there. Asked by ABC News whether Kerry had proposed specific alternatives to the current U.S. strategy, including arming the loosely affiliated rebels there, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was in the room with Kerry during the meeting, responded, “No, but I think that was obviously a conclusion you could draw. … I don’t know how you could do more without increasing assistance to the rebels but he didn’t say it specifically.” LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Dion Nissenbaum: “Role Of U.S. Contractors Grows As Iraq Fights Insurgents” Hundreds of contractors working for America’s biggest defense companies are taking on a broader role in helping Iraq’s military learn to use new weapons in a growing battle against Islamist insurgents. Over the next few months, the U.S. government is expected to begin sending more than $6 billion in military equipment to Iraq. The latest deal includes 24 Apache attack helicopters made by Boeing Co. and nearly 500 Hellfire missiles produced by Lockheed Martin Corp. LINK

IMMIGRATION
The Washington Post’s David Nakamura: “With An Immigration Deal Possible, Advocates Mount New Push To End Deportations” New momentum in Congress for a broad overhaul of border-control laws has prompted White House allies to demand that President Obama halt deportations of millions of illegal immigrants, many of whom would be allowed to remain in the country under a legislative deal. The advocates, including the AFL-CIO and pro-immigration groups, argue that Obama should use his executive authority to expand a 2012 decision that halted deportations of young people brought to the United States illegally by their parents. LINK

The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan: “GOP Principles Present Dilemma On Illegals’ Rights” House Republicans’ new immigration principles may have complicated the politics of the issue for Democrats and immigrant rights advocates, who may end up having to choose between holding out for citizenship for most illegal immigrants or accepting a less-generous bill that could pass Congress this year. The principles, released at a GOP retreat last week, call for most illegal immigrants to get some legal status, but stops short of the sort of citizenship guarantee on which Democrats have insisted for years. Now, President Obama and his allies face the dilemma of either breaking their own principles or holding firm and potentially being blamed for scuttling a bill. LINK

HEALTH CARE
USA Today’s Jayne O’Donnell and Alicia McElhaney: “Health Insurance Ads Target Gen Y Women” A multimillion-dollar Affordable Care Act advertising campaign launches today targeting young women, who are more likely to enroll in health insurance and are the best hope for signing up their more risk-oriented male counterparts, backers say. The campaign by the non-profit advocacy group Enroll America uses pets to reach its audience and launches with less than two months to go before the March 31 deadline for enrollment. Enroll America says about 81% of the public doesn’t know about the deadline and 69% of people don’t know that financial help is available to those with incomes below 400% of the poverty level. LINK

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN
The Boston Globe’s Noah Bierman: “Warren Bolsters Democratic Party’s Funding” Elizabeth Warren has played the role of dutiful freshman in the Senate, careful to avoid upstaging veteran colleagues despite her high national profile and enthusiastic liberal followers. But outside the Capitol, her ability to raise money for Democrats is giving her standing beyond her newcomer status. The Massachusetts lawmaker has raised $1.1 million for the party’s candidates and helped the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raise $1 million more, according to her aides. This year, with elections in November, she has said she will do more. LINK

TED CRUZ
Politico’s Manu Raju: “Ted Cruz Makes Nice” At a GOP lunch last week, Sen. John McCain noted that “some crazy guy from Texas” stormed out during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. “Hey,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz chimed in, “I didn’t walk out of the State of the Union.” The packed room erupted in laughter. The exchange — referring to GOP Rep. Steve Stockman’s heavily publicized early exit — reflects thawing tensions between Cruz and his fellow GOP senators. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
Rep. Paul Broun Indicates Support For Impeaching ObamaLINK

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