The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, March 12, 2014

By Will Cantine

Mar 12, 2014 3:21am

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

C.I.A.
ABC News’ Luis Martinez: “Brennan Denies Claims CIA Hacked Senate Computers” CIA Director John Brennan challenged allegations made today by a senator that the CIA hacked into computers used by staffers from the Senate Intelligence Committee, calling the notion “beyond the scope of reason.” Earlier in the day, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairperson of the committee, took to the Senate floor to express “grave concerns” that the  CIA had conducted an unauthorized search of a standalone computer network used by the committee to gain access to classified CIA documents about the agency’s controversial rendition program. LINK

The New York Times’ Mark Mazzetti and Jonathan Weisman: “Conflict Erupts In Public Rebuke On C.I.A. Inquiry” A festering conflict between the Central Intelligence Agency and its congressional overseers broke into the open Tuesday when Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee and one of the C.I.A.’s staunchest defenders, delivered an extraordinary denunciation of the agency, accusing it of withholding information about its treatment of prisoners and trying to intimidate committee staff members investigating the detention program. Describing what she called a “defining moment” for the oversight of American spy agencies, Ms. Feinstein said the C.I.A. had removed documents from computers used by Senate Intelligence Committee staff members working on a report about the agency’s detention program, searched the computers after the committee completed its report and referred a criminal case to the Justice Department in an attempt to thwart their investigation. LINK

The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson: “CIA Feud With Senate Panel Puts Lack Of Post-9/11 Accountability In Spotlight” To save his run for the Democratic presidential nomination six years ago, then-Sen. Barack Obama turned to author William Faulkner for assistance in explaining how U.S. history has a way of shadowing its present politics. “The past isn’t dead and buried,” Obama said, slightly embellishing the famous quote in his speech about race. “In fact, it isn’t even past.” On Tuesday, the past again proved alive for Obama, who now faces a political quandary less personal but still fraught with history. LINK

OVERTIME PAY
The New York Times’ Michael Shear and Steven Greenhouse: “Obama Will Seek Broad Expansion Of Overtime Pay” President Obama this week will seek to force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers, the latest move by his administration to confront corporations that have had soaring profits even as wages have stagnated. On Thursday, the president will direct the Labor Department to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million additional fast-food managers, loan officers, computer technicians and others whom many businesses currently classify as “executive or professional” employees to avoid paying them overtime, according to White House officials briefed on the announcement. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta and Colleen McCain Nelson: “Obama Plans To Expand Overtime Eligibility” President Barack Obama is expected to order a rule change this week that would require employers to pay overtime to a larger number of salaried workers, two people familiar with the matter said. Currently, many businesses aren’t required to pay overtime to certain salaried workers if they earn more than $455 a week, a level that was set in 2004 and comes to roughly $24,000 a year. The White House is expected to direct the Labor Department to raise that salary threshold, though it is unclear by how much. LINK

FLORIDA ELECTION
USA Today’s Susan Davis: “GOP Wins Special Election For Florida House Seat”  Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a hotly contested special election Tuesday for the U.S. House with a campaign in which he championed repeal of President Obama’s health care law and said Sink would be a vote to advance the president’s agenda. Jolly is a lobbyist and former aide to the late Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, whose death last October sparked the special election. Jolly was backed by Young’s family and while he was outspent two-to-one by Sink’s campaign, a flood of nearly $5 million in outside money evened the playing field in a race in which nearly $12 million was spent, including $9 million of outside special interest money. LINK

The Hill’s Alexandra Jaffe: “Republican Jolly Wins Crucial Florida Bellwether Special Election” Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in the special election to fill Florida’s 13th district on Tuesday night, delivering a stinging blow to Democrats that underscores their vulnerability to ObamaCare attacks. With all precincts reporting, Jolly topped Sink 48.4 percent to 46.5 percent, winning by 3,417 votes. Libertarian Lucas Overby took nearly 5 percent of the vote. Sink’s loss in the race to succeed the late Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) was seen by Republicans as evidence the political winds are blowing hard against Democrats in their uphill pursuit of the 17 seats they’ll need to take back the House. LINK

The Washington Times’ Seth McLaughlin: “David Jolly Wins In Florida, GOP Keeps Swing District Seat” Republican David Jolly won Tuesday’s special election for the open seat in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, eking out a victory over Democrat Alex Sink in a hard-fought race that offered both parties the chance to test-drive their political messages ahead of the midterm elections. Fox News and The Associated Press called the race for Mr. Jolly, a former Washington lobbyist, about an hour after polls closed at 7 p.m. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ David Lauter: “GOP Emphasis on Obamacare Helps David Jolly Win House Seat In Florida” Republicans scored a significant victory in a special congressional election Tuesday, holding on to a seat in a swing district in Florida that Democrats had high hopes of capturing after a campaign that focused heavily on President Obama’s healthcare law. With all precincts reporting, Republican David Jolly held a 3,400-vote margin over Democrat Alex Sink in the district, which stretches along the Gulf Coast north of St. Petersburg. The returns remain unofficial until final mail-in and provisional ballots can be counted, but Sink conceded defeat in a statement to supporters shortly after the polls closed. LINK

Bloomberg’s Toluse Olorunnipa and Greg Giroux: “Florida Republican’s U.S. House Win Fuels Obamacare Fight” Republican David Jolly won a special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, upsetting a Democratic rival in a race that drew at least $8.8 million in spending by outside groups as both parties cast it as a test for Obamacare and November’s midterm elections. Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink 48.4 percent to 46.6 percent, with 100 percent of precincts in the Tampa Bay-area district reporting, according to the Pinellas County elections office. Libertarian Lucas Overby had 4.8 percent of the vote. LINK

Politico’s Alex Isenstadt: “Florida Loss Big Blow To Democrats’ 2014 Hopes” The Florida special election Tuesday was supposed to be an ideal chance for Democrats to show that 2014 isn’t a lost year. Instead, they were dealt another body blow, further weakening their prospects for this year’s midterms. Democrats couldn’t have asked for a more golden opportunity. They had the right candidate matchup: Alex Sink, a respected former statewide official who nearly won the governorship in 2010, up against a former lobbyist, Republican David Jolly. They had the right district: A swing region of Florida that appeared poised to elect a Democrat after more than four decades of GOP representation. LINK

HEALTHCARE
ABC News’ Matthew Larotonda: “Obamacare Enrollment Over 4 Million, Still Missing Critical Millennials” Less than three weeks remain in the open enrollment period for the healthcare insurance marketplace commonly known as Obamacare, but according to new statistics from the administration today a critical age group still isn’t turning out in needed numbers. As of March 1 over 4.2 million have found insurance coverage through the online state and federal exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s a 22 percent increase over January’s 3.3 million and within possible striking distance of the 6 million estimated by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to enroll before the March 31 deadline. LINK

USA Today’s Kelly Kennedy: “4.2million Enrolled In Insurance Through February” More than 4.2 million people have signed up for private health insurance through the state and federal exchanges, Health and Human Services officials announced Tuesday.The latest statistics show the gulf between the original estimate of 7 million new customers from the Congressional Budget Office and how many people have come forward to comply with the requirement that those without insurance buy it or pay a fine. They provide mixed messages in terms of who is buying insurance and how quickly. For example, 942,000 people signed up for private plans in February, a drop from 1,146,000 in January.  LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
Obama Shops At The Gap During NYC Fundraising TripLINK

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