The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday December 6, 2012

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' Carrie Halperin, Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and Will Cantine

FISCAL CLIFF ABC News' Devin Dwyer, Sunlen Miller, Mary Bruce and john Parkinson: " WH 'Absolutely' Willing to go Off 'Fiscal Cliff'" President Obama's lead negotiator in the "fiscal cliff" talks said the administration is "absolutely" willing to allow the package of deep automatic spending cuts and across-the-board tax hikes to take effect Jan. 1, unless Republicans drop their opposition to higher income tax rates on the wealthy. LINK

USA Today's David Jackson: " White House: Obama Pledged Tax hikes During Campaign" White House officials say it's no mystery why President Obama is insisting on higher tax rates for the top 2% of incomes. He promised it during the campaign. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Patrick O'Connor: " Obama, GOP Each Pitch to Business" President Barack Obama told about 105 chief executives of big companies Wednesday that higher-income Americans - including those in the audience - should face higher rates. A few blocks away, Republicans huddled with small-business owners to promote the argument that a rate increase would stifle the economy. LINK

The New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer: " Boehner Gains Strong Backing of House G.O.P. " With a daunting fiscal crisis looming and conservatives outside the House torching him at every turn, Speaker John A. Boehner might be assumed to have a shaky hold on his gavel. Instead, it appears he is enjoying the broadest support of his tumultuous two-year speakership from House Republicans. LINK

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman: "Some in GOP urge lawmakers to back tax hikes for changes in safety-net programs" A growing chorus of Republicans is urging House leaders to abandon their staunch opposition to higher tax rates for the wealthy with the aim of clearing the way for a broad deal that would also rein in the cost of federal health and retirement programs. With less than a month before the "fiscal cliff" deadline, President Obama remains adamant about allowing tax rates to rise for the wealthiest 2 percent of taxpayers. LINK

Politico's Anna Palmer and Kate Brannen: " The big business of fiscal cliff" The fiscal cliff is big business in Washington. Message men, lobbyists, grassroots firms and lawyers are raking in cash as Congress and the White House argue about how to avoid a fiscal calamity at the end of the year - threatening spending cuts, tax hikes and changes to entitlement programs. LINK

The Washington Times' Susan Crabtree: " Obama changes tune on budget" While he now demands that higher tax rates for the wealthy must be part of a "fiscal cliff" deal, President Obama took a very different line just over a year ago in the last major clash with Congress over a long-term budget deal. In comments Republicans on Capitol Hill are highlighting, Mr. Obama argued in the summer of 2011 that the government could raise more than $1 trillion in revenue without increasing tax rates paid by the rich - something the president now contends is mathematically impossible. LINK

The Boston Globe's Christopher Rowland: " GOP deduction cap would hit the comfortable" Say you live in Massachusetts (or New York, or California, or Illinois). You and your spouse earn salaries commensurate with your advanced degrees, together bringing home $250,000 to $500,000. You make monthly mortgage payments on a nice house in a suburb where property taxes are steep. Whether you call yourself rich, fairly well-off, or merely upper-middle-class, you are in the crosshairs of the Washington tax debate. House Republicans' proposals to cap or even eliminate itemized deductions would exact a bigger toll on upper- to high-income earners in the professional classes. These earners are not the Warren Buffetts and the Mitt … LINK

SECRET DONATIONS Bloomberg's Alison Fitzgerald: " Rural Law Firm Shields $262 Million in Secret Donations" About 50 miles west of Washington, in a newly developed zone between the roadside farm stands and the shops that line the Victorian Main Street of tiny Warrenton, Virginia, sits a brick office building that's emerged as a nexus of Republican secret money and power. The building houses the law firm of Holtzman Vogel Josefiak PLLC, a boutique outfit that specializes in advising organizations that want to participate in the electoral process without disclosing who's paying their bills. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " White House Mum on Anna Wintour as Ambassador" LINK " Is Anna Wintour Being Considered for UK Ambassador Job?" LINK

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