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The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, May 09, 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

HOUSE DEMOCRATS ABC News' Chris Good: "House Democrats Say They're Encouraged by Dinner With President Obama" President Obama's charm offensive continued Wednesday night, this time with an easier crowd. After similar meetings with Republicans, President Obama met House Democrats for dinner at the The Jefferson Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. LINK

BENGHAZI The Washington Times' Susan Crabtree: " White House struggles to respond to new Benghazi revelations" The White House on Wednesday stood by its story that the Obama administration remained unsure exactly who was responsible for the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi nearly five days after it occurred even though new revelations show Ansar al-Sharia's direct involvement. Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya and a self-described whistleblower, testified before a Congressional committee Wednesday that the body of Ambassador J. Christpher Stevens was missing for hours during the attack after being dragged out of the diplomatic post in Benghazi. LINK

The Hills' Jordy Yager: " Whistle blown on Benghazi" Government whistle-blowers on Wednesday choked back tears as they offered stark criticism of the administration's handling of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. One witness faulted the State Department's review of the attack - saying it appeared aimed at protecting higher-ranking officials. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Siobhan Hughes and Adam Entous: " Diplomat Airs Benghazi Attack Details" A high-ranking American diplomat delivered an emotional reconstruction Wednesday of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, providing the first detailed public account from an American official who was on the ground in Libya. The testimony from Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 U.S. official in Libya at the time, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also drew new attention to key questions about the attacks, and how the administration handled the aftermath. LINK

The New York Times' Scott Shane, Jeremy Peters and Eric Schmitt: " Diplomat Says Questions Over Benghazi Led to Demotion" A veteran diplomat gave a riveting minute-by-minute account on Wednesday of the lethal terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, last Sept. 11 and described its contentious aftermath at a charged Congressional hearing that reflected the weighty political stakes perceived by both parties. During a chaotic night at the American Embassy in Tripoli, hundreds of miles away, the diplomat, Gregory Hicks, got what he called "the saddest phone call I've ever had in my life" informing him that Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was dead and that he was now the highest-ranking American in Libya. LINK IMMIGRATION REFORM The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro and Brian Bennett: " Immigration reform divides Republicans" The immigration reform bill crafted by a bipartisan group of senators has deeply split the Republican minority even as lawmakers prepare to take the first votes on the proposal Thursday. Alabama's Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a conservative former prosecutor with a courtly drawl, has emerged as the leading opponent of the bill. LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA USA Today's David Jackson: "Obama to promote jobs, health care plan" President Obama will spend the rest of the week on two issues that largely define his years in office: jobs and health care. Obama will board Air Force One on Thursday for a flight to Austin, where he will kick off a series of "Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tours" designed to push his budget plans and criticize congressional Republicans for inaction on the economy. LINK

WALL STREET Politico's Ben White: " Wall Street hires Washington" The financial industry has long been a draw for former political operatives seeking a bigger paycheck and New York lifestyle. But with the big banks now under constant assault from reformers, regulators and some members of Congress, the flow of top talent from Washington to Wall Street has become a small flood. Two of the biggest blue chip firms in the industry, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, will soon have top-level executives with the ear of the CEO who once occupied senior jobs in the White House and United States Treasury. Other banks including Citigroup, Credit Suisse and JPMorganChase have also staffed up with former political and regulatory officials. LINK

VOTING Bloomberg's John McCormick: " Blacks Made History Surpassing White Voter Turnout Rates" Almost two in three eligible blacks cast ballots in the 2012 presidential election, marking the first time they had a higher voter turnout rate than non-Hispanic whites, a U.S. Census Bureau analysis shows. Boosted by President Barack Obama's re-election efforts, blacks were the only racial or ethnic group to show a significant increase in voting participation between the 2008 and 2012 elections, from 64.7 percent to 66.2 percent. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO "Benghazi Hearing: Gregory Hicks Describes Consulate Attack" LINK

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