The Note's Must-Reads for Friday, March 8, 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, Carrie Halperin, and Jordan Mazza

CONGRESS: ABC News' Sunlen Miller: " Senator Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, Won't Seek Another Term" Another one bites the dust. Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, announced this evening that he will not run for reelection in 2014. LINK

DEFICIT: The Hill's Alexander Bolton: " Obama sets end-of-July goal for bipartisan agreement on deficit" President Obama wants to complete a grand bargain to reduce the deficit by the end of July, an aggressive timeline coinciding with the expiration of the nation's debt limit. Obama told a small group of Republican senators who had dinner with him Wednesday evening that a deficit-reduction deal needs to happen in the next four to five months, according to three sources familiar with the meeting. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Kathleen Hennessey and Lisa Mascaro: " Obama charm offensive sows goodwill" Earlier this year, President Obama joked that his daughters wanted to spend less time with him now that they were older, so he might ask Republicans to the White House to keep him company. Maybe he wasn't kidding. After fitful attempts in his first term to improve testy relations with congressional Republicans, Obama has launched a very public campaign to build stronger ties with his GOP rivals. LINK

GOP: The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr: " Electability Seen as Virtue in GOP Senate Bid" Republican prospects for taking the Senate in 2014 brightened Thursday with Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin's announcement that he won't run for re-election. But the man in charge of the GOP's Senate campaign arm says the party has work to do to capitalize on this and other opportunities, mainly by identifying and supporting candidates it sees as electable. LINK

JOHN BRENNAN: USA Today's Jim Michaels and Susan Davis: " Senate approves Brennan's nomination to lead the CIA" The Senate voted 63-34 to approve President Obama's nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA Thursday afternoon, ending a week of debate that featured one of the longest filibusters in Senate history. LINK

The Boston Globe's Peter Finn and Aaron Blake: " Senate confirms Brennan to CIA" The Senate, nudged slightly off its political axis by Senator Rand Paul's 13-hour filibuster highlighting potential threats from the nation's drone policy, voted Thursday to confirm John Brennan to be director of the CIA. The vote was 63 to 34, but the act itself was anticlimactic after the rare "talking filibuster" and the tally was juggled by Paul's efforts. LINK

Bloomberg's Laura Litvan: " Senate Confirms Brennan as CIA Director Amid Drone Debate" The U.S. Senate confirmed John Brennan as CIA director, making a 25-year veteran of the intelligence agency its leader and rounding out President Barack Obama's second-term national security team. Approval on a 63-34 vote yesterday came after a debate dominated by the Obama administration's use of drone attacks, especially against Americans suspected of terrorist ties. LINK

GUN CONTROL: The Washington Time's David Sherfinski: " New gun-buying restrictions pass Senate panel" Amid deep party-line divisions, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved Congress' first post-Newtown gun control bill - a proposal to crack down on gun trafficking and straw purchases meant to circumvent the law - but the panel pushed the toughest work off until next week. With just a single Republican joining them, Democrats powered the trafficking bill through on a 11-7 vote, saying they hoped stiff penalties would make owners think twice before letting their guns fall into the hands of criminals. LINK

DRONES: The New York Times' Richard W. Stevenson and Ashley Parker: " A Senator's Stand on Drones Scrambles Partisan Lines" Senator Rand Paul's intention was to highlight his misgivings about how drones are used. He ended up enmeshing his fellow Republicans in a broader debate over national security that scrambled the politics of left and right. Multimedia Challenges for Brennan Interactive Graphic Senate Vote 32 - Confirmation of John Brennan as C.I.A After invoking and being embraced by civil-liberties-minded liberals during a 13-hour filibuster starting Wednesday on the Senate floor, Mr. Paul, of Kentucky, was showered with praise on Thursday by both the Tea Party movement and the provocateurs of the peace group Code Pink. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, praised Mr. Paul's conviction. LINK

ECONOMY: The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Rosalind S. Helderman: " Turning on the charm, Obama tries to end gridlock" For more than two years, they have tried to work it out. He went to their place, they came to his. There were moments of hope, but mostly there was strain and heartbreak - the phone call that wasn't returned, the name-calling on national TV. LINK

OTHER: Politico's Donvan Slack: " Bill Clinton: Overturn DOMA" Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act, says it is time to overturn what he now considers a discriminatory law. "On March 27, DOMA will come before the Supreme Court, and the justices must decide whether it is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional," he writes in a Washington Post op-ed. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO: " Rand Paul Filibusters American Drone Policy" LINK

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