The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, March 4, 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 Carrie Halperin

BUDGET CUTS: ABC News' Rick Klein: " Budget Fight Becomes President Obama's Big Gamble" President Obama's budget gamble has only gotten bigger, even as Washington's response to the self-inflicted crisis has gotten smaller. Now that the sequester has gone into effect - bringing on the spending cuts Obama once guaranteed would never happen - the president is in the awkward place of rooting for it be felt as he and his administration has predicted. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Kristina Peterson: " House GOP Budget Bill Expected To Pass" The next big budget push in Congress begins this week, with lawmakers of both parties pledging to avert a government shutdown later this month. A bill funding government operations expires March 27, and without an extension or replacement, the government will be unable to spend money to keep certain operations running. LINK

The Boston Globe's Tracy Jan: "Focus shifts to averting government shutdown" After another round of finger-pointing over budget cuts required by the sequester, Republican leaders on Sunday rejected Democratic calls for tax hikes but indicated they would like to reopen negotiations for a grand bargain that cuts spending on entitlement programs. LINK

The Hill's Jeremy Herb: " Carrier cancellation heats up sequester fight as cuts take effect" The Pentagon's decision to cancel a carrier group's deployment to the Middle East has become a political flashpoint in the growing fight over how and what the Obama administration is cutting under sequestration. The move has been criticized by some Republicans and The Washington Post's ob Woodward added fuel to the fire by describing the cancellation as "madness." LINK

COURTS: The Washington Post's Philip Rucker: " Obama pushing to diversify federal judiciary amid GOP delays" In Florida, President Obama has nominated the first openly gay black man to sit on a federal district court. In New York, he has nominated the first Asian American lesbian. And his pick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit? The first South Asian. Reelected with strong support from women, ethnic minorities and gays, Obama is moving quickly to change the face of the federal judiciary by the end of his second term, setting the stage for another series of drawn-out confrontations with Republicans in Congress. LINK

ECONOMY:Politico' s David Rodgers: " House continuing resolution to restore $7B to military operations" House Republicans are proposing this week to restore upward of $7 billion to operations and maintenance accounts for the four military services hit hard by the automatic cuts that went into effect Friday night. That's the bottom line driving a hybrid spending bill to be unveiled Monday and intended to replace the stopgap continuing resolution or CR due to expire March 27. LINK

The New York Times' Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Ben Protess: " Banks Find More Wrongful Foreclosures Among Military Members" The nation's biggest banks wrongfully foreclosed on more than 700 military members during the housing crisis and seized homes from roughly two dozen other borrowers who were current on their mortgage payments, findings that eclipse earlier estimates of the improper evictions. LINK

Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman & Margaret Talev: " Obama Orders Cuts That Will Be 'Slow Grind' on Economy" President Barack Obama ordered the start of $85 billion in government spending cuts, beginning a potentially decade-long wave of belt-tightening that risks curbing U.S. economic growth this year. The White House released the order last night, the deadline set by a law passed two years ago to avoid a debt default, and the Office of Management and Budget sent Congress a detailed list of program cuts. LINK

MITT ROMNEY: The Los Angeles Times' Maeve Reston: " Mitt Romney criticizes Obama, admits campaign mistakes" Stepping back into the spotlight for the first time Sunday, Mitt Romney offered a blunt critique of President Obama - accusing his former rival of playing politics rather than finding a resolution to across-the-board spending cuts now being enacted. The former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee acknowledged a handful of mistakes in his first post-campaign interview with "Fox News Sunday," during which he also said he did not envision a future in politics. He called his failure to engage minorities in 2012 "a real mistake" and admitted that he had suffered "real damage" from the fallout of his now-infamous comments that 47% of Americans were dependent on government assistance and unlikely to vote for him. LINK

USA Today's Catalina Camia: " Romney slams Obama, reflects on election loss" Four months after losing the White House, Mitt Romney is dusting himself off and starting to speak out about politics and policy again. In a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday on Fox News, Romney chided President Obama for his dealings with congressional Republicans and for "playing politics" with the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester. LINK

NORTH KOREA: The Washington Times' Ben Wolfgang: " Dennis Rodman: N. Korea's Kim Jong-un is 'just a great guy,' wants Obama to call him" NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman has became America's de facto ambassador to North Korea. After spending time last week with that nation's leader, Kim Jong-un, the eccentric basketball star returned to the United States with the dictator's personal message for President Obama. "He wants Obama to do one thing: call him. He told me that. He said 'I don't want to do war,'" Mr. Rodman said on ABC's "This Week," his first interview since his trip to North Korea. LINK

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