The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, December 31, 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

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen, and Carrie Halperin

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: New York Daily News' Edgar Sandoval and Bill Hutchinson: " Hillary Clinton admitted to hospital with blood clot following concussion" Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was undergoing emergency treatment for a blood clot Sunday night at a Manhattan hospital. Doctors said the clot stems from a concussion she suffered this month when she fainted while battling a stomach bug and hit her head. Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said doctors discovered the clot while conducting a follow up exam Sunday. She was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia, where she was being treated with anti-coagulants. LINK

USA Today's Liz Szabo: " Bed rest may be cause of Clinton's blood clot" Many things can cause a blood clot in someone around the age of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, 65, doctors said Sunday. The most likely explanation for her illness is a blood clot in the leg, brought on by her extended bed rest after suffering a concussion earlier this month, said Cam Patterson, a professor and chief of cardiology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. LINK

FISCAL CLIFF: ABC News' Matthew Larotonda, Jonathan Karl and Sunlen Miller: " Fiscal Cliff Talks: President Obama 'Modestly Optimistic'" With less than two days remaining for Congress to reach a budget agreement that would avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," a senior White House official tells ABC News that President Obama is still "modestly optimistic" that a deal can be struck to prevent middle class taxes from increasing on New Year's Day. But a resolution to the ordeal won't come tonight. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Janet Hook and Siobhan Hughes: " Congress Meets Cliff's Edge" Senate negotiations to craft a bipartisan budget deal proceeded in chaotic fits and starts Sunday, raising new questions about whether Congress would be able to steer the country away from the fiscal cliff. The center of gravity had shifted by day's end after talks between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) reached an impasse. LINK

The Hill's Alexander Bolton: " Senate inches toward fiscal deal" Senate Republicans say Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is willing to drop his demand to curb the growth of Social Security cost-of-living increases. The demand from McConnell had thrown a wrench into talks Sunday on a "fiscal cliff" deal as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and other Democrats quickly balked at the request, which they said they would not accept. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro and Michael Memoli: " Congress edges closer to 'fiscal cliff' deal but can't close it" Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill inched toward a compromise to avert part of the so-called fiscal cliff but remained unable to close a deal as each side struggled with internal tensions as well as the remaining gap between them. Lawmakers have been trying to beat a deadline of midnight Monday, when tax rates are scheduled to go up for the vast majority of Americans. But they could continue chasing a deal for days - even until the new Congress is sworn in at noon Thursday. After that, the political dynamics could shift with the entrance of new members. LINK

Politico's Manu Raju and John Bresnahan: " Senate stuck on fiscal cliff" The tit-for-tat over avoiding the fiscal cliff slogged onward Sunday, as Senate leaders remained essentially stuck following a frantic day of horse-trading and bitter attacks by both Democrats and Republicans. Both sides now have 48 hours to resolve their differences, or risk a double whammy of historic tax hikes and spending cuts that will make them even more unpopular outside-the-Beltway. LINK

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman: " Day of Seesaw Talks Produces No Accord on Fiscal Crisis" Senate leaders on Sunday failed to produce a fiscal deal with just hours to go before large tax increases and spending cuts were to begin taking effect on New Year's Day, despite a round of volatile negotiations over the weekend and an attempt by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to intervene. LINK

The Washington Posts' Chris Cillizza: " As 'fiscal cliff' looms, Republicans have no political incentive to make deal with Obama" mid the last-minute wrangling over a "fiscal cliff" deal, it's important to remember one overlooked fact of the 2012 election: Republicans in the House and Senate have absolutely no political incentive to compromise with President Obama. The numbers are stark. LINK

ECONOMY: Bloomberg's Adam Haigh: " Most Asian Stocks Drop as U.S. Budget Talks Stall; Fairfax Gains" Most Asian stocks declined, paring this year's advance, with a deadline looming for the U.S. Congress to reach a budget agreement to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Rio Tinto Group, the world's largest mining companies, led declines among companies with earnings closely tied to economic growth. LINK IMMIGRATION: The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " Obama says immigration reform will be priority" President Obama says immigration is his major second-term priority, on par with his push for health care in his first term, according to an interview aired Sunday that continues to boost the issue to the top of the political conversation. "Fixing our broken immigration system is a top priority. I will introduce legislation in the first year to get that done," Mr. Obama told NBC's "Meet the Press" host David Gregory, who had asked the president what the second-term equivalent would be to his all-encompassing push for health care during his first term. LINK

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