The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, March 25, 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

GUN CONTROL: ABC News' Arlette Saenz: " Bloomberg, NRA Brace for Senate Showdown on Guns" With the U.S. Senate slated to consider comprehensive gun legislation next month, two powerful voices on different sides of the gun debate - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre - are bracing for the upcoming legislative showdown on guns. Bloomberg's gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, announced this weekend that it will pour $12 million into advertising in 13 key states to convince potentially persuadable Democratic and Republican senators to vote in favor of gun legislation, specifically focusing on the controversial universal background checks; a measure that an ABC News-Washington Post poll found is supported by 91 percent of the public. LINK

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: The New York Times' C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt: " Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid" With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria's opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against PresidentBashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders. LINK

The Washington Post's Greg Miller, Joby Warrick and Karen DeYoung: " Backing up Obama's warnings to Syria creates tough challenges on two fronts" The suspicious attack that killed 26 people in northern Syria last week exposed the difficulty of determining whether the Syrian regime has resorted to using chemical weapons as well as the lingering uncertainty over how President Obama would respond if what he has called a "red line" is crossed. LINK

Bloomberg's Rebecca Christie, James G. Neuger & Svenja O'Donnel: " Cyprus Salvaged After EU Deal Shuts Bank to Get $13B" Cyprus dodged a disorderly default and unprecedented exit from the euro currency by bowing to demands to shrink its banking system in exchange for a 10 billion-euro ($13 billion) bailout. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades agreed to shut the country's second-largest bank under pressure from a German-led bloc of creditors in a night-time negotiating melodrama that threatened to rekindle the debt crisis and rattle markets. LINK

BUDGET: The Wall Street Journal's Janet Hook: " Congress Set to Alter Focus After Passing Two Budgets" After the Senate passed its budget this weekend, Congress is expected to pivot to issues such as immigration and guns before attempting a broader deal on taxes, spending and the national debt later this year. Capitol Hill fell quiet as lawmakers headed home for a two-week spring recess, the longest pause in the Capitol Hill budget wars in months. LINK

ECONOMY: USA Today's David Jackson: " Obama loses polling advantage on economy" President Obama's poll numbers are heading in the wrong direction, especially as it relates to the economy and the Republicans. While most Americans favored Obama over the Republicans on economic issues after the president's re-election in November, more recent polls indicate that advantage is now gone. LINK

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Politico's Jennifer Epstein: " Biden speaks at Richard Ben Cramer memorial at Columbia" Vice President Joe Biden paid his respects Sunday to journalist Richard Ben Cramer, who followed the then-presidential hopeful during the 1988 race for his campaign classic, "What It Takes." Biden rounded out a weekend in New York that also included a fundraiser and a night at a theater with a trip up to Columbia University's Morningside Heights campus for Cramer's memorial service on Sunday, the Columbia Spectator reported. LINK

BACKGROUND CHECKS: The Hill's Alexander Bolton: " McCain emerges as key senator in expanding background checks" Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has emerged as a key player if Senate Democrats are to have any chance of passing legislation to expand background checks for private sales of firearms. McCain and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) are at the top of a list of Republicans considered most likely to sign on to legislation expanding background checks after talks with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) stalled earlier this month. LINK

The Washington Times' David Sherfinski: " Sen. Tom Coburn: Enhanced background checks will pass Senate, but not as written" New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn predict the Senate will pass a measure to strengthen background checks on gun sales, but National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre warned Sunday that Mr. Bloomberg cannot "buy America" on the issue. Three months after the shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school shocked the country, the Senate is poised to debate a gun package that includes several measures, the most contentious requiring near-universal background checks on all gun sales. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS: " Roundtable I: Karl Rove and Jim Messina" LINK

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