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The Note's Must-Reads for Friday October 18, 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, Will Cantine, Amanda VanAllen and Jordan Mazza

SHUTDOWN ABC News' Abby D. Phillip: " Ted Cruz Won't Rule Out Another Shutdown, But McConnell Does" It's the question on everyone's minds: could the country be pushed to the brink of another shutdown when government funding runs out in January? Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who pushed the strategy to tie government funding to defunding President Obama's health care law, wouldn't rule out revisiting it in the coming months. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Damian Paletta: " Deep Divide Lingers After Impasse Ends" Eight hours after President Barack Obama signed a bill to reopen the federal government, top congressional budget leaders from both parties gathered over breakfast to try to find common ground in coming weeks. But differences between the two sides remain stark, and a number of congressional aides said the chances of devising a budget that both parties can live with are low. LINK

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and Zachary Goldfarb: " President, Congress leave one crisis behind but face long road to budget deal" President Obama and congressional leaders sought Thursday to move beyond the cycle of crisis that has paralyzed Washington for three years, initiating talks over the broad issues at the heart of their fight: the size of government and the level of federal taxation. Neither Republicans nor Democrats held out much hope that the talks would produce an ambitious deal to spur economic growth or tame the $16.7 trillion national debt. But senior Republicans - whose party suffered in opinion polls after forcing the second-longest government shutdown in U.S. history - said they are unlikely to use that lever to challenge Obama again. LINK

Politico's John Bresnahan, Manu Raju, Jake Sherman and Carrie Budoff Brown: " Anatomy of a shutdown" House Speaker John Boehner just wanted to sneak out of the White House for a smoke. But President Barack Obama pulled him aside for a grilling. Obama wanted to know why they were in the second day of a government shutdown that the speaker had repeatedly and publicly pledged to avoid. LINK

The Boston Globe's Noah Bierman and Tracy Jan: " Tea Party's shutdown tactics pose new challenges for GOP" As Congress's grueling fiscal impasse neared its end Wednesday, Senate Democratic leaders graciously thanked Republican leader Mitch McConnell and praised him for his courage in brokering a bipartisan deal. By Thursday, that praise had turned to an attack. It came in the form of an e-mail sent around his home state by Senate Democrats' political wing: "Face of DC Dysfunction: Mitch McConnell's Shutdown Hurts Kentucky, Creates Disastrous Political Consequences for Himself." LINK

Bloomberg's Micheal Tackett: " Tea Party Vows Future Fights as Republicans Assess Damage" House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio may have had little choice in the fight over Obamacare other than showing his unyielding faction of Tea Party members what their strategy would bring, right up to the point of a potential economic calamity, said Mike Murphy, a Republican consultant who has advised several presidential campaigns. "Republicans in the House, with a little help from Ted Cruz, got all excited with this stupid wing strategy that has now done a lot of damage to our brand," said Murphy, in a reference to the Texas Republican senator who spurred the confrontation with the White House. "We've taken a big blow." LINK

The Hill's Alexander Bolton: " GOP's McConnell Promises No More ShutDowns Over ObamaCare" Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not allow another government shutdown as part of a strategy to repeal ObamaCare. McConnell (Ky.) told The Hill in an interview Thursday afternoon that his party learned a painful political lesson over the past 16 days, as its approval rating dropped while the government was shuttered. He said there's no reason to go through the political wringer again in January, when the stopgap measure Congress passed late Wednesday is set to expire. LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA The New York Times' Peter Baker: " Obama's Edge Over G.O.P. Is Still Unclear After Victory in Standoff" As the Senate voted Wednesday night on a bipartisan deal to reopen the government and avert a national default, President Obama emerged from the Oval Office prepared to head to the White House briefing room to deliver a televised statement. But he was thinking beyond the moment. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons: " Obama's Winning Strategy Will Be Retested" It's been a constant quandary for the Obama White House: Should the president reach out to his Republican opponents or isolate them? Should he compromise to move his agenda or try to split the GOP ranks? Carrot or stick? That debate appeared settled on Thursday when President Obama spoke in the White House State Dining Room to deliver his verdict on the just-ended government shutdown: more stick. LINK

The Washington Times' Dave Boyer: " Obama scolds Congress for 'unnecessary damage' upon government's reopening" As the 16-day government shutdown ended Thursday, President Obama gave an impassioned defense of big government and accused congressional Republicans of an unpatriotic effort to "break" it. Virtually seething with frustration at times about the shutdown, Mr. Obama said the federal government plays an essential role in people's lives and said the interruption of services hurt everyone from seniors to homebuyers to small-business owners. LINK

The New York Daily News' Dan Friedman: " President Obama Slams GOP Over Shutdown As Government Employees Return To Work" The monuments reopened and federal employees streamed back to work, but President Obama on Thursday was not ready to move on from the crisis that paralyzed Congress and made Americans furious at Washington. In a scorching lecture, Obama blamed Republicans for the government shutdown and its brush with default - a "spectacle" that he said harmed America's economy and its reputation. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Ted Cruz Says He Doesn't Need Friends in Senate" LINK

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