The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday, February 13, 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

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

STATE OF THE UNION: ABC News' Devin Dwyer and Jonathan Karl: " Obama State of the Union Refocuses Agenda on Jobs" Pursuing an aggressive and diverse early second-term agenda, President Obama turned his focus Tuesday night squarely to the economy, using his State of the Union address to unveil new government initiatives aimed at creating jobs. The defining duty of the new Congress and new administration is to "reignite the true engine of America's economic growth - a rising, thriving middle class," Obama said Tuesday night from the House chamber. LINK

USA Today's Susan Page: " Analysis: Obama is emboldened and ready for battle" In the State of the Union speech launching his second term, it was Barack Obama 2.0. President Obama's hair was visibly grayer than at his first speech in the House chamber four years ago. His tone was more combative. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Colleen McCain Nelson: " Obama Urges Action on Expansive Agenda" President Barack Obama outlined an ambitious agenda in his State of the Union address Tuesday that included raising the minimum wage, increasing spending on infrastructure, attacking climate change and passing gun-control legislation. Mr. Obama repeated his earlier calls for reducing the budget deficit through a mix of tax increases and spending cuts. He also said he would support "modest reforms" in programs including Medicare, as long as wealthy Americans contribute as well. LINK

The Boston Globe's Matt Viser: " Obama calls for aid to middle class" President Obama on Tuesday night is expected to unveil a range of new policies aimed at fixing a slow-moving economy, withdrawing more troops from Afghanistan, and reforming the nation's immigration system. Trying to capitalize on a brief period where his political clout is the highest, Obama is also planning to use the first State of the Union address of his second term to call on Congress to quickly act on strengthening the nation's gun laws. LINK

The Hill's Amie Parnes and Justin Sink: " In State of the Union, Obama fills out his progressive agenda" President Obama used his State of the Union address on Tuesday to fill out the progressive agenda he envisions for his second term. Obama called for raising the nation's minimum wage to $9 from $7.25 and said Congress should avert the $85 billion sequester his administration argues would hamper the economy and interrupt important government programs. LINK

The New York Daily News' Thomas Tracy and Bill Hutchinson: " NYU Langone nurse Menchu De Luna Sanchez gets shoutout from Obama during State of the Union speech and a seat near to First Lady" A heroic nurse who helped evacuate 20 high-risk babies when Hurricane Sandy slammed NYU Langone Medical Center got a shoutout from President Obama at Tuesday's State of the Union address. Menchu De Luna Sanchez, 56, was among a diverse group of 23 people invited to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden's wife, Jill, during the speech. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " Woman tossed out of Obama's State of the Union speech for shouting support for gun control" A woman was tossed out of the public viewing galleries at Tuesday's State of the Union after shouting out in support of President Obama's demand for Congress to vote on gun control. Mr. Obama, pointing to the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who was killed at a park near the president's home in Chicago last month, said "they deserve a vote" on his gun-control plans. LINK

The New York Times' Mark Landler: " A Call for 'Smarter Government' to Act" President Obama, seeking to put the prosperity and promise of the middle class at the heart of his second-term agenda, called on Congress on Tuesday night to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, saying that would lift millions out of poverty and energize the economy. LINK

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: " 5 takeaways from the State of the Union" President Obama's fourth State of the Union address is in the books - a 6,000-plus word speech in which he laid out both the blueprint and the underlying justification for his vision of his next four years. LINK

Politico's Darren Goode: " Obama's State of the Union climate call may buy time for EPA" President Barack Obama's speech Tuesday night further raised hopes that he is prepared to take action on climate change - but probably not right away. Instead, the president put most of the onus on an all-but-paralyzed Congress, with the threat that if lawmakers don't act, Obama will order agencies across his administration to come up with ways to address global warming "for the sake of our children and our future." LINK

Bloomberg's Margaret Talev & Mike Dorning: " Obama Seeks Minimum Wage Boost to Bolster Economy in Speech" President Barack Obama called for raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour and warned he'll use executive powers to get his way on issues from climate change to manufacturing if Congress doesn't act, laying out an assertive second-term agenda sure to provoke Republicans. LINK

GOP: The Los Angeles Times' Mark Barabak: " Rubio responds to president's speech with familiar GOP themes" Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the fresh face Republicans chose to respond to the State of the Union address, sounded familiar party themes Tuesday night, accusing President Obama of stifling economic growth through an overreliance on taxes and spending. The opportunity "to make it to the middle class or beyond, no matter where you start out in life, it isn't bestowed on us from Washington," Rubio said in his nationally broadcast remarks, but comes from "a vibrant economy." LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS: " Obama Gets Republican Applause on Immigration Reform" LINK " Obama Gets Standing Ovation on Medicare" LINK

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