The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, April 03, 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

FORT HOOD SHOOTING ABC News' Devin Dwyer: " President Obama: Shooting 'Reopens Pain' at Fort Hood" Breaking from an evening of Democratic fundraising in Chicago, President Obama tonight offered prayers for the victims of the latest Fort Hood shooting and vowed to "get to the bottom of what happened." "Obviously, this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago," Obama said during an impromptu appearance before reporters inside the Chicago Cut Steakhouse. "We know these families. LINK

The Hill's Justin Sink: " Obama 'heartbroken' by shooting" President Obama said Wednesday he was "heartbroken" by the shooting Wednesday at Fort Hood."Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community and we are going to do everything we can to make the community of Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with a tough situation but also any potential aftermath," Obama said. "We're heartbroken that something like this might have happened again."The president, speaking from a Chicago steakhouse following a fundraiser benefitting the Democratic National Committee, said his national security team was in contact with the FBI and the Pentagon. LINK

Wall Street Journal's Ana Campoy, Nathan Koppel and Devlin Barrett: " Fort Hood Shooting Leaves Four Dead, 16 Others Injured" For the second time in five years, an active-duty soldier is believed to have gone on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, killing three people Wednesday at the U.S. Army post here and wounding 16 others before turning the gun on himself, officials said. The incident comes even as emotions remain raw from a 2009 shooting at the post that ended with 13 dead and more than 30 injured. Wednesday's rampage also marks the third time in the past seven months there has been a shooting at a U.S. military base."There is no indication this incident is related to terrorism," Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley said at a news conference Wednesday night. He added that the suspect had served four months in Iraq in 2011 and had arrived at Fort Hood in February. LINK

USA Today's William Welch: " General: 4 dead, 16 wounded in Fort Hood attack" A soldier killed three people and wounded 16 others before shooting himself to death Wednesday at Fort Hood, the same Texas base that was the scene of the worst attack on a domestic U.S. military installation five years ago, officials said. U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas told reporters that the suspected shooter is Spc. Ivan Lopez. Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, head of the Army's III Corps at the post, said the shooter was a veteran of combat in Iraq who had "mental health issues and was being treated for that." "At this time there is no indication that this incident is related to terrorism, although we are not ruling anything out and the investigation continues," Milley said. LINK

Politico's Philip Ewing: " 4 Dead, 16 Hurt In Fort Hood Shooting" Four people are dead, including a gunman, and 16 others were wounded Wednesday when a soldier opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, the commanding general there said. Lt. Gen. Mark Milley told reporters that a soldier with the 13th Sustainment Command who was in mental health treatment walked into a building on the post and began shooting with a .45 caliber pistol. The man got into a car, drove to another building and resumed his shooting before he was shot by military police, Milley said. The soldier then killed himself with his pistol. Milley extended his condolences to the victims of the shooting and said Fort Hood must now turn toward helping them and the survivors. LINK

The New York Times' Dave Montgomery, Manny Fernandez and Ashley Southall: " Iraq Veteran At Fort Hood Kills 3 And Himself" A soldier who was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder opened fire at Fort Hood on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding 16 before killing himself, the authorities said. The shooting set off a huge police response and shut down the sprawling Army base, the same facility where a deadly rampage by an officer resulted in 13 deaths in 2009. LINK

The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Adam Goldman and Sari Horwitz: " Gunman In Fort Hood Shooting Had Behavioral Issues, Authorities Say" An Iraq war veteran who was grappling with mental health issues opened fire at Fort Hood, Tex., in an attack that left four people dead and 16 wounded Wednesday afternoon, according to preliminary law enforcement and military reports. The gunfire sent tremors of fear across a sprawling Army post still reeling from one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. Many basic details about the shooting remained unclear in the chaotic hours after the first calls for help around 4 p.m., but senior U.S. law enforcement officials said the incident did not appear to be linked to any foreign terrorist organizations. The shooter was among those who died, the officials said. LINK

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ABC News' Alexander Mallin: " Obamacare Supporters Troll Ted Cruz on Facebook" It appeared Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., expected something entirely different from Facebook when he asked whether his Facebook followers were better off with Obamacare than they were four years ago, suggesting they "Comment with YES or NO!" Comment they did. By late Wednesday afternoon, the status update had more than 55,000 replies. LINK

RUSSIA/UKRAINE Wall Street Journal's Anton Troianovski: " Russia-Ukraine Conflict Gets Personal" Russian-born Max Maizenberg, a network-security specialist in Toronto, recently channeled his disgust with Moscow's actions in Ukraine into a lengthy post on Facebook, FB +0.16% equating self-described Russian patriots with "congenital morons." The post rocketed around the globe as his friends shared it with friends until his uncle, who still lives in Russia, caught wind of it and complained angrily in a call with his sister, Mr. Maizenberg's mother. LINK

MIDDLE EAST ABC News' Ali Weinberg " Why Palestinians Joining International Court Could Scuttle Peace Talks" The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations said today his country would potentially pursue joining more international organizations if the Israelis fail to honor their commitments in the current round of peace talks - including accession to the International Criminal Court, a move that could cause the already-shaky negotiations to collapse. LINK

Wall Street Journal's Joshua Mitnick, Nicholas Casey and Jay Solomon: " U.S. Pushes Mideast Talks Despite Setbacks" The Obama administration vowed to continue its pursuit of Middle East diplomacy, despite eroding hopes that peace talks can survive beyond a looming deadline and a growing war of words between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Facing the collapse of its signature Middle East initiative, the U.S. sought on Wednesday to keep diplomatic channels open, even after Secretary of State John Kerry canceled plans to return to the region to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The State Department said Mr. Kerry had talked by phone with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas on Wednesday, and Washington's top Mideast envoy, Martin Indyk, met with Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem. LINK

USA Today's Tom Vanden Brook: " Aid Agency accused of coverup in Afghanistan" The U.S. Agency for International Development withheld information from Congress showing the Afghan government's apparent inability to prevent its ministries from doing business with people tied to terrorism, according to a letter from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and documents obtained by USA TODAY. The letter, from SIGAR's general counsel asserts that USAID "covered up information" showing some Afghan ministries can't account for cash or what they own. The audits show the Afghan government has failed to monitor the "potential risk of contracting with suppliers/beneficiaries having links with terrorist organizations" LINK

SUPREME COURT The New York Daily News' Dan Friedman: " Supreme Court strikes down overall limits on campaign contributions" In a decision that could transform American politics, the Supreme Court overturned the decades-old limits on the total amount of money individuals can contribute in every federal election. The 5-4 decision Wednesday divided the court along ideological lines, with the conservative justices declaring that the donation limits - enacted in the 1970s after the Watergate scandal - violated the First Amendment right to free speech. LINK

Bloomberg's Sarah Rabil: " TV Stations To Win Political Ads Thanks To Supreme Court" The owners of local TV stations such as CBS Corp. (CBS) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. (SBGI) may see more advertising money flowing in during this year's election season, thanks to a ruling from the nation's highest court yesterday. A divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down decades-old limits on the total amount of money that donors can give to federal candidates and parties, dealing a fresh blow to efforts to curb the role of money in American politics. The ruling may end up funneling more dollars into TV commercials plugging candidates. LINK

The New York Times' Adam Liptak: " Supreme Court Strikes Down Overall Political Donation Cap" The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued its abolition of limits on election spending, striking down a decades-old cap on the total amount any individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle. The ruling, issued near the start of a campaign season, will very likely increase the role money plays in American politics. The 5-to-4 decision, with the court's more conservative members in the majority, echoed Citizens United, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on independent campaign spending by corporations and unions. LINK

Politico's Josh Gerstein and Byron Tau: " Supreme Court Strikes Down Aggregate Campaign Giving Limits" The Supreme Court on Wednesday delivered another blow to already rickety limits on campaign contributions, ruling that caps on the total amount of money an individual can give to political campaigns, PACs and parties are unconstitutional. In the 5-4 ruling, the court's Republican-appointed justices joined in overturning the so-called aggregate limits on the grounds that they violated the First Amendment, while the Democratic appointees dissented - insisting that the caps were constitutional as a means to guard against corruption and circumvention of the still-valid limits on donations to individual campaigns and political committees. LINK

The Washington Post's Matea Gold: " Supreme Court Ruling Gives Small Number Of Wealthy Donors New Ways To Drive Campaigns" An elite class of wealthy donors who have gained mounting influence in campaigns now has the ability to exert even greater sway. A Supreme Court decision Wednesday to do away with an overall limit on how much individuals can give candidates and political parties opens a new spigot for money to flow into campaigns already buffeted by huge spending from independent groups. In this year's midterm races, outside organizations financed by very rich donors, such as the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, have significantly shaped the campaign landscape with TV ads and other expenditures totaling in the tens of millions of dollars. LINK

GOP The Los Angeles Times' Mark Barabak: " Republicans narrow field for 2016 convention and a myth is deflated" There was - if not exactly dancing in the streets - a small frisson of excitement surging through half a dozen of America's great cities Wednesday as word emerged that six finalists had been chosen as the possible site of the 2016 Republican National Convention. They are, in impartially alphabetic order: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas. LINK

IMMIGRATION The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " No House floor vote to consider legalizing illegal immigrants" Democrats lost the first major immigration fight of the year Wednesday after Republicans — voting in unison in the House Budget Committee - rejected an effort to legalize illegal immigrants as part of the 2015 budget. Democratic leaders have said repeatedly that a bill would pass if it reaches the House floor, but the committee tally suggests it may not and that Republicans are maintaining some unity on the issue. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Frustration on Capitol Hill During GM Hearing" LINK " On the Campaign Trail in Afghanistan" LINK " Obama: 'Heartbroken' Over Fort Hood" LINK " Opening the Floodgates of Campaign Cash: Supreme Court Loosens the Reins on Political Contributions" LINK

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