The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday December 27, 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 and Jordan Mazza


ABC News' Sarah Parnass, John Parkinson, and Reena Ninan: "At Edge of 'Cliff,' White House Lashes Out at 'Congressional Stupidity'" With only days to come up with a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, the White House said "congressional stupidity" was damaging the economy but that an agreement could be reached if Republican leaders don't get in the way. LINK

The Hill's Jonathan Easley and Peter Schroeder: " Obama, lawmakers return to 'cliff' with little room left to maneuver" With time running out, President Obama and members of the Senate will return to Washington on Thursday in search of a scaled-back agreement to lessen the economic pain of the "fiscal cliff." Lawmakers are under pressure to pass some kind of legislation that reverses or delays the tax increases and spending cuts slated for January, but they find themselves without a clear path forward after the breakdown in negotiations between Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro: " Mitch McConnell lies low as 'fiscal cliff' nears" This time of year, Republican leader Mitch McConnell's office suite, steps away from the Senate floor, often crackles with a fire in the hearth. On Wednesday, it sat shuttered and almost empty. The cold stillness captured the state of affairs as senators and President Obama prepared to return to work Thursday facing an imminent deadline to avoid across-the-board tax increases and large spending cuts scheduled to take effect Tuesday. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " Liberals press own red lines in 'fiscal cliff' talks" Republicans said Wednesday that it's now Democratic leaders' turn to feel the heat of trying to work out a budget deal. After House conservatives sank his plan last week, Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, and his top lieutenants said it's now up to President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, to take the next step and try to write a deal that can get through the Senate. LINK

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer: " Senators to Return With 5 Days Left and No Clear Fiscal Path" With just five days left to make a deal, President Obama and members of the Senate were set to return to Washington on Thursday with no clear path out of their fiscal morass even as the Treasury Department warned that the government will soon be unable to pay its bills unless Congress acts. LINK

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery Paul Kane: " On 'fiscal cliff,' Obama and senators returning to Washington for one last attempt at deal" With historic tax increases set to hit virtually every American in five days, President Obama and members of the Senate are headed back to Washington on Thursday to take one last shot at a deal to protect taxpayers and the gathering economic recovery. If anything, hope for success appeared to have dimmed over the Christmas holiday. The Republican-controlled House last week abdicated responsibility for resolving the crisis, leaving all eyes on the Senate. But senior aides in both parties said Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have not met or even spoken since leaving town for the weekend. LINK

Politico's Manu Raju and Jake Sherman: " Fiscal cliff deal increasingly unlikely" Nearly all the major players in the fiscal cliff negotiations are starting to agree on one thing: A deal is virtually impossible before the New Year. Unlike the bank bailout in 2008, the tax deal in 2010 and the debt ceiling in 2011, the Senate almost certainly won't swoop in and help sidestep a potential economic calamity, senior officials in both parties predicted on Wednesday. LINK


The Wall Street Journal's Damian Paletta and Janet Hook: " Debt Ceiling Nears as Budget Talks Stymied" The Treasury Department said Wednesday the government would hit its legal borrowing limit by Monday, setting in motion emergency measures to keep the government operating for several more weeks and serving as a reminder that the nation's budget wrangling could continue well into 2013. LINK


USA Today's Doug Stanglin: " Elder Bush in intensive care with 'stubborn' fever" Former president George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized in Houston last month with a bronchitis-like cough, has been in intensive care since Sunday because of a "stubborn" fever that has worsened in recent days, his spokesman said Wednesday evening. LINK


"President Obama and First Lady Sit Down for Joint Interview" LINK

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