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The Note's Must-Reads for Friday, January 25, 2013

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 and Jordan Mazza

PRESIDENT OBAMA ABC News' Zunaira Zaki: "Obama SEC Pick Pleases Wall Street Critics" After four years of disappointing many of Wall Street's toughest critics, President Obama seems to have done something to please them. His decision to nominate former U.S. attorney and NASDAQ director Mary Jo White to lead the SEC is getting some pretty good reviews from those who favor tighter rules for financial firms. LINK The New York Times' Ben Protess and Benjamin Weiser: " A Signal to Wall Street In Obama's Pick For Regulators" The White House delivered a strong message to Wall Street on Thursday, taking the unusual step of choosing two former prosecutors as top financial regulators. But translating that message into action will not be easy, given the complexities of the market and Wall Street's aggressive nature. At a short White House ceremony, President Obama named Mary Jo White, the first female United States attorney in Manhattan, to run the Securities and Exchange Commission. LINK

The Washington Times' Dave Boyer: " Obama short of judges for his liberal agenda" President Obama already has sketched out a left-leaning legal agenda for his second term on issues such as gun control, climate change and gay rights, but he is falling far short in nominating the judges to help him uphold it. During Mr. Obama's first term, judicial vacancies rose about 50 percent. LINK

The New York Daily News' James Warren: " Obama taps former New York City prosecutor Mary Jo White to lead the SEC" President Obama on Thursday nominated former New York prosecutor Mary Jo White as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, declaring, "You don't want to mess with Mary Jo." The move signals Obama's desire to more tightly regulate Wall Street, especially given new financial rules set to soon take effect. LINK

SENATE The Hills' Peter Schroeder: " Obama pushes Senate to confirm Wall Street 'cops on the beat'" President Obama hailed his nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a fierce watchdog tough enough to stand up to Wall Street. The president highlighted Mary Jo White's previous work as a federal prosecutor to bolster her nomination to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), noting she pursued cases against mob bosses and terrorists. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro: " Senate approves modest filibuster changes" The Senate approved changes to the filibuster Thursday night, adopting modest limits on the partisan obstruction that has ground action in the chamber to a near standstill. But the deal reached between the Senate's two leaders -Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) - fell far short of sweeping reforms sought by liberal senators and their allies. LINK

GOP The Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson and Errin Haines: " Republicans in Virginia, other states seeking electoral college changes" Republicans in Virginia and a handful of other battleground states are pushing for far-reaching changes to the electoral college in an attempt to counter recent success by Democrats. In the vast majority of states, the presidential candidate who wins receives all of that state's electoral votes. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr.: "Republican Leaders Search for New, Winning Strategy" Republican Party leaders, gathering for the first time since their stinging election losses in November, have many explanations for what ails the GOP, but so far no clear consensus on how to fix it. LINK

JOHN KERRY Politico's Darren Samuelsohn and Jonathan Allen: " John Kerry: Mr. Climate" President Barack Obama's chief global climate cop won't be stationed at EPA or on the White House staff. He'll be at the State Department. Obama's choice of John Kerry as the nation's top diplomat is the strongest signal to the international community - and the smart set in Washington's political class - that the president is truly committed to striking deals designed to save the world. Add that to his mention of climate change in his inaugural address, and it's giving hope to greens that Kerry will make climate change a key part of his portfolio at Foggy Bottom. LINK

The Boston Globe's Bryan Bender and David Uberti: "Kerry vows to combat climate change" In a confirmation hearing unusual for its bipartisan comity, Secretary of State-designate John F. Kerry pledged Thursday to pursue a different brand of foreign policy - one rooted in greater cultural understanding of the developing world - while leading a global fight to combat climate change, which he described as a direct threat to American security. LINK ABC NEWS VIDEO "Kerry Questioned About Vietnam vs. Current U.S. Policy" LINK

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