The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday, February 12, 2014

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

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson, Will Cantine and Jordan Mazza

STATE DINNER ABC News' Chris Good: " Citizen-Stars Of The State Dinner" For the most part, Tuesday night's state dinner was a star-studded affair. Marking the visit of French President Francois Hollande, President Obama and his French counterpart toasted each other's countries before a lavish meal at the White House, and before an entertainment- and political-celebrity-filled crowd that included the likes of Bradley Cooper and his supermodel girlfriend, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern, Stephen Colbert, and members of Congress and cabinet secretaries. LINK

USA Today's Maria Puente: " Obamas Bid Bon Appetit To Hollande (And Bradley Cooper)" Guess who came to dinner at the White House state affair for French President François Hollande? Well, besides Bradley Cooper. Well, besides Bradley Cooper. Not Hollande's wife, because he doesn't have one. Not his gorgeous girlfriends, because he's already dumped two of them. And not his current gorgeous girlfriend, because, well, she's just too new to display to the Yanks, already agog at the details of his complicated romantic life. But the show must go on when it's a grand state dinner at stake, and so President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcomed a solo Hollande for tonight's gala at the White House, where the celebrity guests included French-speaking heartthrob movie star Bradley Cooper and his girlfriend Suki Waterhouse. LINK

DEBT CEILING The Hill's Pete Kasperowicz: " House approves clean debt hike" The House passed a clean debt-ceiling hike of undetermined size on Tuesday - a vote that alienated dozens of Republicans and led one conservative group to call for the removal of Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) as Speaker. The bill was approved in a 221-201 vote, largely on the backs of Democrats. Only 28 Republicans voted for it, while 199 voted against. Only two Democrats voted against the clean debt-ceiling hike, which was backed by the White House and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, while 193 voted "yes." The two defections were Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah), who is not running for reelection, and Rep. John Barrow (Ga.), who faces a tough race. LINK

The Washington Times' David Sherfinski and Stephen Dinan: " Fractured House approves debt ceiling hike" The House passed a "clean" debt ceiling increase Tuesday granting President Obama power to borrow as much as the government needs for the next 13 months, after House Republican leaders surrendered on their long-standing demand that debt hikes be matched with spending cuts. Unable to muster his own troops, Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republicans, had to turn to Democrats to provide the necessary votes. The bill, which cleared on a 221-201 vote, now goes to the Senate. LINK

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker: " House Approves Higher Debt Limit Without Condition " Ending three years of brinkmanship in which the threat of a devastating default on the nation's debt was used to wring conservative concessions from President Obama, the House on Tuesday voted to raise the government's borrowing limit until March 2015, without any conditions. The vote - 221 to 201 - relied almost entirely on Democrats in the Republican-controlled House to carry the measure and represented the first debt ceiling increase since 2009 that was not attached to other legislation. LINK

The Washington Post's Paul Kane, Robert Costa, and Ed O'Keefe: " House passes 'clean' debt-ceiling bill, ending two-week showdown" The House approved a year-long suspension of the nation's debt limit Tuesday in a vote that left Republicans once again ceding control to Democrats after a collapse in support for an earlier proposal advanced by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). In a narrow vote, 221 to 201, just 28 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats to approve a "clean" extension of the government's borrowing authority - one without strings attached - sending the measure to the Senate for a final vote, probably this week. LINK

Politico's Manu Raju and Jake Sherman: " The GOP's debt ceiling surrender" Less than three years ago, House Speaker John Boehner boldly demanded "trillions" in spending cuts in exchange for raising the national borrowing limit. "Let me be as clear as I can be," Boehner told the Economic Club of New York in May 2011. "Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase." LINK

USA Today's Susan Davis: " House Approves 'Clean' Debt Ceiling Extension" House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, bowed to political reality on Tuesday and allowed a vote on a debt ceiling increase with no conditions attached despite strong resistance from the GOP rank and file and outside conservative forces. The 'clean' debt measure suspends the nation's borrowing limit through March 15, 2015, and relied heavily on Democratic support to get it passed. The bill was approved, 221-201, with 193 Democrats and 28 Republicans voting to pass it. In the weeks leading up to the vote, House Republican leaders floated a number of conditions to link to the debt vote, but nothing could garner enough support to pass with GOP votes alone. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Janet Hook and Kristina Peterson: " GOP Backs Off Fight On Debt Limit" The House on Tuesday approved a bill to extend the federal government's borrowing authority with no strings attached, after Republican leaders dropped all policy demands to avoid a market-rattling confrontation in an election year. The measure, which would suspend the debt limit and allow the government to borrow until March 16, 2015, marked a retreat from efforts by House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) to require any debt-ceiling increase to be paired with spending cuts of equal size or with other conservative policy demands-many of which were pushed by the tea party. LINK

NYC Mayor BILL de BLASIO The New York Daily News' Tina Moore, Jennifer Fermino and Bill Hutchinson: " Mayor de Blasio calls a top cop after pal arrested - and then the friend is freed" A church pastor with outstanding warrants - and a position on Mayor de Blasio's transition team - dodged a night in the slammer after de Blasio made a call to one of the city's top cops. Bishop Orlando Findlayter, 50, pastor of New Hope Christian Church in Queens, was released from custody early Tuesday after de Blasio inquired about his status. It was not clear how many other prisoners were released without seeing a judge that night, but people with warrants are usually held until the matter is cleared up in court. LINK

SAN DIEGO MAYOR The Los Angeles Times' Tony Perry: " With solid lead, Republican 'can't wait' to be San Diego mayor" As he held a commanding lead, Republican Councilman Kevin Faulconer told cheering supporters Tuesday night that he "can't wait to be the next mayor of this fabulous and great city." Faulconer, 47, held a 55% to 44% lead over Councilman David Alvarez, 33, a Democrat, with more than 90% of the vote counted. He also allowed himself a not-so-veiled reference to the now-passed era of ex-Mayor Bob Filner, who resigned after months of a chaotic management style at City Hall followed by multiple accusations of sexual harassment. LINK

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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