The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, September 16, 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

AFGHANISTAN: The Washington Post's Dakota Meyer and Bing West: " The United States' disservice to Afghan translators" Four years ago, a bleeding Afghan interpreter, Fazel, staggered out of an ambush in Ganjigal Valley in eastern Afghanistan. Trapped inside the valley were four Americans. Asked to help rescue them, he said, "I have a wife and baby. But I will go back." Fazel returned to the battle, killed several Taliban fighters and carried out the bodies of the fallen Americans. LINK

SYRIA: ABC News' Matthew Larotonda: " UN Report on Syria to Be Released Monday" A United Nations report due for release Monday is expected to confirm chemical weapons have been used in Syria's civil war, but may not finger a perpetrator. Rebels and the regime of President Bashar Assad have each accused the other of orchestrating a chemical attack in town of Ghouta on Aug. 21, which the White House and Russian government both agree occurred. LINK

USA Today's Jim Michaels: " Syria chemical weapons plan poses unprecedented challenge" Identifying and eliminating Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles while the country is enmeshed in a civil war is an unprecedented challenge, made even riskier by rebel groups who may oppose the effort, analysts say. "There has never been an effort to disarm an entire country of its chemical weapons during a civil war," said Gregory Koblentz, a professor at George Mason University who specializes in weapons of mass destruction. LINK

The New York Daily News' Adam Edelman: " President Obama assures that pact with Russia over Syria's chemical weapons doesn't weaken US" President Barack Obama sent a message Sunday to Russian President Vladimir Putin that his success in avoiding U.S. military action in Syria is not a blank check to prop up the Syrian strongman. A day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart signed off on the Putin-proposed plan to put Syria's poison gas arsenal under international control, Obama sought to dispel the perception that he was weakened by a deal that defused a military response to Bashar Assad's chemical attack. LINK

OBAMA CARE: The Wall Street Journal's Louise Radnofsky: " Health Law Faces Skepticism" New poll results show the depth of the Obama administration's challenge on the eve of the rollout of the federal health law's core provisions, as many Americans say they don't understand the law and don't think it will help them. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that even those lacking health insurance, who are supposed to be the law's biggest beneficiaries, generally believe it wouldn't do them much good. LINK

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The Los Angeles Times' Michael Memoli: " Biden, at Iowa Fundraiser, accentuates his record with Obama" Vice President Joe Biden affixed himself to President Obama's record Sunday in a possible nod toward a third White House bid, saying the middle-class recovery would be the bellwether for the administration's success. Speaking at an annual political gathering that draws the state's Democratic stalwarts, Biden repeatedly cited what he called his "seamless" partnership with Obama, accentuating an aspect of his resume that didn't exist in 1988 and 2008, when he previously sought the presidency. LINK

ECONOMY: The Hill's Mike Lillis: " White House shifts focus to economy" Shifting the national conversation to the economy after a week of intense focus on Syria, the Obama administration now is highlighting its policy response to the Great Recession. In a report released late Sunday, the White House is trumpeting the steps President Obama has taken over the last four-and-a-half years to address the economic downturn, the worst since the Great Depression, and linking them to the recovery. LINK

SUMMERS: The New York Times' Annie Lowrey and Binyamin Appelbaum: " Summers Pulls Name From Consideration for Fed Chief" For Lawrence H. Summers, President Obama's preferred candidate to lead the Federal Reserve, the messy debate over a military attack in Syria was the final sign. After weeks of opposition to his candidacy from an array of progressives, the president's inability to rally Congressional Democrats on Syria persuaded Mr. Summers that his most important audience - the Senate, which must confirm a Fed chairman - probably could not be won over. LINK

Politico's Ben White: " With Larry Summers out, what's next?" Larry Summers, who longed to be chairman of the Federal Reserve, ultimately concluded that an ugly fight over his nomination would be bad for the central bank and possibly even worse for the fragile U.S. economy. He told President Barack Obama as much in a phone call and letter on Sunday. Obama did not disagree. Nor, at least at first, did financial markets. LINK

SUPREME COURT: The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " U.S. releases illegals who are sex offenders" The news last week that federal authorities had to release 2,837 convicted sex offenders back onto the streets has renewed focus on a Supreme Court case that requires the government to release immigrants whose home countries won't take them back. A report released last week by the Government Accountability Office said the nearly 3,000 sex offenders are part of the 59,347 immigrants who the courts have ruled cannot be held, whom the U.S. has been unable to send home, and who instead were released under some sort of supervision as of September 2012. LINK

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