The Note’s Must-Reads for Monday, March 10, 2014

By Jayce Henderson

Mar 10, 2014 3:04am

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

FOREIGN POLICY
ABC News’ Benjamin Bell: “Sen. Ted Cruz Breaks With Sen. Rand Paul on Foreign Policy” It may be the opening salvo of the 2016 Republican primary. During an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl for “This Week,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a friend, but drew a distinction between himself and the Kentucky senator on foreign policy, saying the U.S. “has a responsibility to defend our values.” “I’m a big fan of Rand Paul. He and I are good friends. But I don’t agree with him on foreign policy,” Cruz said. “I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad. But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did… The United States has a responsibility to defend our values.” LINK

UKRAINE
Bloomberg’s Jake Rudnitsky and Kateryna Choursina: “Ukraine sees Gazprom Charging 37% More for Gas in Second” Ukraine faces a 37 percent increase in the price it pays for Russian natural gas after OAO Gazprom canceled a discount and threatened to cut supplies, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan told reporters yesterday. Ukraine will pay about $368.50 per 1,000 cubic meters of the fuel in the second quarter, Prodan said. Russia agreed last year to cut the price it charges Ukraine to $268.50. Gazprom rescinded the discount last week and said Ukraine risks a repeat of 2009, when the Moscow-based company reduced shipments during a pricing dispute. LINK

NY Times’ Steven Erlanger and Ellen Barry: “Clashes in Ukraine as Rallies Take a Turn” Rival rallies turned violent in Crimea on Sunday, as Ukraine celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of its greatest poet and the White House announced that President Obama would host the Ukrainian prime minister just days before a controversial referendum on Crimean secession next week. In Kiev, the capital, tens of thousands rallied in Independence Square to celebrate the birth of Taras Shevchenko, a poet who is a symbol of Ukrainian nationhood. LINK

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA
Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin and Krissah Thompson: “On China trip, as in other matters, Michelle Obama likely to steer clear of controversy” When Laura Bush ventured to the Thailand-Burma border six years ago, the first lady accused China of not doing enough to pressure the brutal Burmese regime. When Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Beijing in 1995, she delivered a blunt assessment of China’s human rights record that reverberated as far away as South Africa. But as Michelle Obama prepares to journey to China next week with her mother and daughters in tow, one thing is clear: The current first lady does not plan to deliver a similar performance.  LINK

HILLARY CLINTON
NY Times’ Amy Chozick: “Any Thoughts, Mrs. Clinton, on the Year After Next?” Hillary Rodham Clinton is accustomed to hearing The Question. So if you have a chance to ask it, make it count. “Can you give us some insight into how the ‘T.B.D.’ in your bio will play out,” a University of Miami student asked Mrs. Clinton last week, a reference to the “to be determined” abbreviation she wrote about her future in her biography on Twitter, which limits responses to 140 characters. “Well, I’d really like to,” Mrs. Clinton replied. “But I have no characters left.” LINK

CONGRESS
USA Today’s Martha T. Moore: “Dwindling Number Of House Members In ‘Crossover’ Seats” They are an endangered species in Congress and this is hunting season: A handful of Republicans holding House seats in districts that President Obama won in 2012, and Democrats representing districts that Mitt Romney won, are top targets for both political parties. Crossover congressional districts are at a 90-year low and set to dwindle further in November, a sign of increased partisanship among voters and an indication of bleak prospects for a Democratic return to the House majority this decade. LINK

ECONOMY
The Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta and Beth Reinhard: “Marco Rubio To Lay Out Ideas For Juicing Economy” Dragged down by a failed immigration-overhaul effort last year, Sen. Marco Rubio is seeking to regain momentum by repositioning himself as a one-man policy shop, tossing out solutions to the unrest in Venezuela and rising tuition costs, among other issues. The Florida Republican and presumptive 2016 presidential candidate is set to expand his portfolio in a speech on Monday, calling for an array of changes to U.S. economic policy. His move comes as part of a push within the GOP to beef up the party’s roster of ideas as it looks to the November midterm elections and beyond. LINK

MEDICAID
The Hill’s Jonathan Easley: “Dems see opening on Medicaid” States run by Republican governors and legislatures are slowly adopting the Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare, boosting Democratic hopes they can run on the issue in the midterm elections. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has launched a petition on her website urging Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) to agree to the expansion, which she argues would bring health insurance to more people who cannot afford it. The issue is giving Landrieu a chance to run not only against her GOP opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who opposes the extension, but against Jindall as well. She argues the expansion would close “the Jindal Gap.” LINK

NEW YORK CITY Mayor DE BLASIO
The New York Daily News’ Edgar Sandoval and Erin Durkin: “Mayor de Blasio and pre-K supporters make push for program at city churches” Mayor de Blasio took his pre-kindergarten push to the pews Sunday, firing up a Bronx church while top aides and supporters visited congregations across the city to preach the pre-K gospel. “The space is there. The teachers are there. The curriculum is there,” de Blasio said at a bilingual service at Heavenly Visions Church. He urged parishioners to lobby their Albany reps for his imperiled plan to hike taxes on the rich to fund universal pre-K and after-school programs. LINK

GOP
The Washington Times’ Seth McLaughlin: “Straw poll signals Paul-Cruz showdown” The one-two finish of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in The Washington Times/CPAC straw poll over the weekend cemented their rock star status among grass-roots activists — and signaled that the two tea party favorites are destined for a showdown over which senator will carry the conservative flag in the contest for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. For the second straight year, Mr. Paul was easily the top choice of the thousands who converged for the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference just outside the Beltway in suburban Maryland, underscoring the power of the libertarian wing of the movement. LINK

Politico’s Jake Sherman: “The battle to become the next Darrell Issa” It’s an opportunity that has some Republicans salivating: becoming the next Darrell Issa. The California Republican’s perch atop the headline-grabbing House Oversight and Government Reform Committee doesn’t wrap up until the end of this year, but a high-profile group of Republicans is already jockeying to take his gavel. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah wants it and is building up chits among his colleagues. Veteran Rep. John Mica of Florida is considering making a run for the job. Ohio Reps. Jim Jordan and Mike Turner have thrown their names into the mix. The contest is shaping up to be one of the most intense power struggles in the House, and the result will have major implications. LINK

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