The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, March 20, 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 Janine Elliot

PRESIDENT OBAMA The New York Times' Sarah Wheaton: " Obama To Promote Expanded Economic Opportunities For Women" President Obama is traveling to Florida on Thursday to talk with female college students about how to expand their economic potential. Mr. Obama will use an address at Valencia College in Orlando to emphasize his administration's efforts to give more women access to higher education and to promote equality in the workplace, a White House official said. He is also scheduled to meet with small group of students and workers before heading to Miami for two fund-raisers. LINK

UKRAINE ABC News' Dana Hughes: " Russia May not Stop at Crimea, NATO Chief Warns" Calling Russia's actions in Crimea a "wake-up call," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a crowd at a Washington think tank on Wednesday that Russia might not stop with Crimea. "I see Crimea as an element in a greater pattern, in a more long-term Russian - or at least Putin strategy," he said. "So of course, our major concern now is whether he will go beyond Crimea, whether the Russia will intervene in the eastern parts." Rasmussen said Russia's military intervention is the "gravest threat" to Europe since the Cold War. "We had thought that such behavior had been confined to history, but it's back and it's dangerous because it violates international norms of accepted behavior," he said. LINK

Wall Street Journal's Philip Shishkin and James Marson: " Ukraine Abandons Its Military Bases in Crimea" Ukraine is preparing to pull its remaining military personnel and their families from the breakaway region of Crimea, effectively conceding defeat after Russia said it would annex the strategic peninsula.The diplomatic fallout threatened to spill into other hot spots as well, as Russia warned for the first time Wednesday that multiparty talks over Iran's nuclear program could be jeopardized by the growing East-West divide. Tension in Crimea mounted as Russia's parliament moved to complete legislation to formally absorb the region, despite Western sanctions against a short list of Kremlin advisers and Crimean officials behind the secession push. LINK

Wall Street Journal's Naftali Bendavid: " EU Leaders Set to Modestly Step Up Russia Sanctions" European Union leaders are likely to approve a modest escalation in sanctions against Russia when they meet on Thursday to debate a response to the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea, say diplomats familiar with the matter. The leaders seem to be backing off the harsher penalties they had threatened to impose on Russia early this month before the Crimea takeover. But they could still decide to take tougher action if they are swayed by countries that have taken a harder line, such as Britain and some nations along Russia's border, including Lithuania and Poland. LINK

The Hill's Jeremy Herb: " Obama's promise: No military action in Ukraine from US" President Obama said Wednesday that the U.S. would not take military action in Ukraine against Russia. "We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine," Obama said in an interview Wednesday with KNSD, the NBC affiliate in San Diego. "I think even the Ukrainians would acknowledge, for us to engage Russia militarily would not be appropriate and would not be good for Ukraine, either," Obama added. LINK

The New York Daily News' James Warren: " World leaders call for 'isolation' of Russia following Ukrainian military base takeover" They wore masks but couldn't hide their identity: Vladimir Putin's forces taking over Ukrainian military bases in Crimea Wednesday. Toting machine guns and wearing camouflage with no identifiable insignia, the forces seized the facilities a day after the Russian president essentially absorbed Crimea. There was little resistance and a Ukraine defense official later said it was planning to evacuate its troops from the entire peninsula. LINK

HILLARY CLINTON The Washington Post's Philip Rucker: " Clinton Says She Is 'Personally Skeptical' Of Nuclear Agreement With Iran" Hillary Rodham Clinton cast doubt on the interim nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, saying in a speech here Wednesday night that she is "personally skeptical" that Iran's leaders would follow through on a comprehensive agreement to end Iran's march toward nuclear weapons. Still, the former secretary of state told a pro-Israel audience that she stands behind the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran and commended the work of her successor, John F. Kerry. LINK

Politico's Maggie Haberman: " Hillary Clinton Touts Leadership On Iran" Hillary Clinton laid out a history of her record at the State Department on Wednesday night, portraying herself as a progenitor of sanctions that led to current nuclear-freeze discussions with Iran - while sounding a hawkish note about whether she thinks Tehran will ultimately make good on the terms of the deal. Clinton made the comments at an American Jewish Congress dinner in Manhattan, where she was honored for "lifetime achievement." The group is spearheaded by longtime Clinton friend and donor Jack Rosen. LINK

CLIMATE CHANGE The Los Angeles Times' Neela Banerjee: " White House unveils one-stop website for climate change data" As part of its campaign to address climate change, the White House on Wednesday unveiled a website to serve as a one-stop location for the enormous amount of climate data housed at different federal agencies. The initiative to make the information easily accessible to communities, researchers and industries trying to adapt to global warming is the White House's latest move to deliver on a pledge President Obama made in June: to use his executive authority to confront climate change in light of congressional inaction. LINK

GENDER WAGE GAP USA Today's Aamer Madhani: " Obama to start push to narrow gender wage gap" President Obama heads to Orlando on Thursday to kick off a multi-city push by the White House to highlight economic issues facing women. The president will deliver an address later Thursday at the Orlando campus of Valencia College, a community college that has won praise from the White House in the past for its success graduating students and preparing them for the job market. He also plans to sit down with students and local workers to discuss the state of the economy. LINK

HEALTH CARE USA Today's Kelly Kennedy: " Reports, experts dispute Medicare Advantage ads" Claims made in a recent series of TV ads by the trade group for American insurance companies are disputed by the chief federal Medicare watchdog organization and the companies' own corporate filings, a USA TODAY analysis shows. The ads from the Coalition for Medicare Choices, a subsidiary of America's Health Insurance Plans, says the Obama administration wants to cut too deeply from the Medicare Advantage program and those cuts would harm senior citizens on Medicare. "The last time the Medicare Advantage program was cut significantly, millions of seniors across the country saw higher premiums, a reduction in benefits and loss of coverage," said a memo released Monday from America's Health Insurance Plans, which referred to cuts in 1997. LINK

OTHER: The Washington Times' Phillip Swarts: " Feds flying in style: Uncle Sam's executive jets used for personal travel" Federal officials have no qualms flying the friendly skies in style, regularly using executive jets and other planes in the government's fleet of 1,700 aircraft for everyday travel. But they often don't track how much such trips cost or the reasons why they skipped cheaper commercial flights in favor of firing up one of Uncle Sam's aircraft. And lawmakers in Congress - usually charged with overseeing or reining in such expenditures - have their own addiction to luxury travel with a growing tendency to fly first class. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO: " Obama's NCAA Bracket Puts Michigan State at No.1" LINK " Janet Yellin Discusses Policy Meeting at 1 st Press Conference" LINK

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