The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, December 10, 2012

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, Amanda VanAllen, Carrie Halperin, and Will Cantine

PRESIDENT OBAMA & ADMINISTRATION: The Hill's Jeremy Herb: " Tapping Hagel for Obama cabinet could raise Republican concerns" Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) is generating new buzz as a potential member of President Obama's second-term cabinet. Hagel is reportedly on President Obama's short list to become the next defense secretary, a pick Obama could be making in the next two weeks along with his selection to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. If chosen, the former Nebraska senator would be Obama's second Republican defense secretary. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Brian Bennett: " Obama attends Psy performance despite 'Dear American' flak" President Obama and his family saw "Gangnam Style" rapper Psy perform at a charity concert Sunday night, days after the South Korean pop star and Internet sensation apologized for a song in 2004 that called for killing "Yankees" in Iraq. Park Jae-sang, who performs as Psy, issued a statement Friday saying he was "deeply sorry" after reports surfaced that he had performed a song eight years ago during protests against the war in Iraq that called for killing "Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives." LINK

Bloomberg's John McCormick: " Obama Investment in Reclusive Donor Yields Big Donations" Fred Eychaner was first invited to PresidentBarack Obama's White House in June 2009. He was back in June 2010 for a meeting with senior adviser David Axelrod and in March of this year as a guest at a state dinner honoring U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. In the past four years, Eychaner visited the White House seven times, and the president named him a trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, a reflection of his interest in and philanthropy for the arts, especially ballet. LINK

FISCAL CLIFF: ABC News' David Kerley: " Boehner, Obama Meet Face-to-Face on Fiscal Cliff" For the first time in more than three weeks, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met face-to-face Sunday at the White House to talk about avoiding the fiscal cliff. LINK

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane: " Time running out on 'fiscal cliff' deal" The contours of a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff are becoming increasingly clear. But progress has been slow, and time is running out for leaders to seal an agreement and sell it to restless lawmakers who so far have been given little information. With hope still alive for a resolution by Christmas, President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) met Sunday at the White House, their first face-to-face meeting in nearly a month and their first one-on-one session since July 2011, when they last tried to forge a far-reaching compromise to tame the national debt. LINK

USA Today's David Jackson: " Obama to Hit The Road (Again) For Tax Plan" President Obama takes his "fiscal cliff" campaign back on the road Monday, visiting an engine plant in Michigan to sell his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Naftali Bendavid and Carol E. Lee: " Obama, Boehner Meet as Urgency Over Talks Increases" The coming week could prove pivotal for Washington to engineer a deal that does more than merely patch up the problem caused by a pending package of tax increases and spending cuts. If serious negotiations don't start, there is likely little time left between now and the end of the year to seal a more ambitious deal. LINK

The Boston Globe's Christopher Rowland: " Hopes rise for a deal on tax rates" There were faint signs on Sunday that Washington could cut a deal before reaching the so-called fiscal cliff, despite House Speaker John Boehner's declaration last week that no progress was being made in negotiations. More Republicans are imagining what an agreement that includes tax hikes on the wealthy might look like - a broader pact that would include spending cuts?- rather than digging in against any rate increase. LINK

The Washington Times' Valerie Richardson: " Obama, Boehner face-to-face" President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner met at the White House on Sunday to try to jump-start the "fiscal cliff" negotiations as members of Congress teetered between calls for cooperation and jabs at the other side's failure to compromise. After their first face-to-face encounter in 23 days, the president and the House speaker were tight-lipped, saying in a joint statement only that a meeting took place and that "the lines of communication remain open." LINK

DEFENSE SPENDING: Politico's Darren Saumuelsohn and Stephanie Gaskell: "Many old-time defense hawks take flight" Titans of defense and foreign policy who shaped America's military policies for the past three decades are on their way out of Congress - leaving a void at exactly the wrong time, Pentagon watchers fear.At least half a dozen heavyweights, such as Sens. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Reps. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), either announced retirement or lost their seats this fall. Their successors will carry far less clout on Capitol Hill - and few took office vowing to carry the mantle of the military. LINK

MORTGAGE CRISIS: The New York Times' Jessica Silver Greenberg: " Mortgage Crisis Presents a New Reckoning to Banks" The nation's largest banks are facing a fresh torrent of lawsuits asserting that they sold shoddy mortgage securities that imploded during the financial crisis, potentially adding significantly to the tens of billions of dollars the banks have already paid to settle other cases. Regulators, prosecutors, investors and insurers have filed dozens of new claims against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and others, related to more than $1 trillion worth of securities backed by residential mortgages. LINK

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