The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday April 11, 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' Carrie Halperin, Amanda VanAllen and Jayce Henderson

BUDGET The Washington Times' " GOP says Obama's budget blows chance of 'grand bargain'"Top congressional Republicans declared President Obama's tax-laden budget for fiscal 2014 dead on arrival Wednesday, saying its failure to cut deficits destroys any hope of a "grand bargain" to fix the federal government's fiscal crisis. Read more: LINK

USA Today's Aamer Madhani and Susan Davis: " Amid criticism, Obama begins sales pitch on budget plan" President Obama unveiled his budget Wednesday, offering a fiscal plan that even before its release was eliciting groans from his conservative opponents as well as his backers on the left. The president's 2014 budget offered details for cutting the deficit by $1.8 trillion over the next decade, while also calling for billions of dollars in new spending to repair the country's infrastructure and bolster education. In a statement from the White House Rose Garden, Obama touted his plan as "a fiscally responsible blueprint for middle class jobs and growth" while acknowledging the budget is largely a retread of previous proposals that he's unsuccessfully pushed Republicans to embrace in the past. LINK

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery: "Obama releases a budget plan with a simple goal: Ending the debt standoff" In the first budget of his second term, President Obama set aside the grand ambitions that marked his early days in office and sent Congress a blueprint aimed at achieving a simple goal: ending the long partisan standoff over the national debt. The 10-year budget request Obama unveiled Wednesday calls for nearly $300 billion in new spending on jobs and public works. LINK

Politico's David Nather: " Obama's budget fantasyland" When President Barack Obama unveiled his budget Wednesday morning in the Rose Garden he announced "there's not a lot of smoke and mirrors in here" - almost daring you to look for the sleight of hand. Just like most budget proposals, which reflect the world as their authors would like to see it, Obama's $3.78 trillion proposal relies on a few tricks to make the numbers work. LINK

GUN CONTROL ABC News' Mary Bruce: " Michelle Obama Invokes Slain Pendleton to Enter Gun Debate" Invoking the memory of slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton, an emotional first lady Michelle Obama today delivered a passionate and personal plea for stricter gun control laws and additional resources for the nation's youth. "Hadiya Pendleton was me and I was her," the first lady told business and community leaders in her hometown. "But I got to grow up and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School and have a career and a family and the most blessed life I could ever imagine. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Kristina Peterson: " Senate in Deal on Gun Checks" Senate lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal Wednesday to expand background checks for gun sales, bolstering support for one of President Barack Obama's top priorities following December's Newtown, Conn., school shooting. The deal crafted by Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and backed by Sens. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) would require background checks-and paper records of the checks-for sales at gun shows and over the Internet. The bipartisan deal considerably boosts the chances of the Senate passing an expansion of background checks. LINK

The New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer: " A Senator's Search for an Ally Keeps a Gun Bill Alive" Senator Joe Manchin III so craved a pro-gun-rights Republican as a partner for a bill to expand background checks on gun buyers that he took to buttonholing senators on the in-house subway that ferries them from their offices to the Capitol, making his pitch while his colleagues were trapped with him in the tiny car. Repeatedly rebuffed, Mr. Manchin, a conservative West Virginia Democrat, decided to call on his friend Senator Patrick J. Toomey, the Pennsylvania Republican known almost exclusively for his conservative fiscal positions. LINK

Bloomberg's John McCormick: " Michelle Obama Evokes Slain Girl in Plea to Restrict Guns" First lady Michelle Obama, in a deeply personal speech that contrasted Chicago's civic treasures with its urban blight, called for more community resources for youth programs and tougher federal laws to combat gun violence. She traced a thin line separating her life from that of a girl from her hometown's South Side whose funeral she attended two months ago. LINK

GOP The Los Angeles Times' Maeve Reston and Seema Mehta: " Republicans turn back effort to change party rules" As members of the Republican National Committee met in Hollywood to debate how to reverse their party's recent losses in presidential campaigns, they narrowly defeated an effort by a Virginia committeeman to undo all the changes to party rules made during the 2012 Republican convention. LINK

The Boston Globe's Jim O'Sullivan: " GOP Senate debate gets personal" The three Republican candidates for US Senate unpacked their opposition research files Wednesday night, rifling through each other's careers for damaging information and flinging accusations during the primary's second televised debate. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Thousands Gather Nationwide for 'Rally for Citizenship'" LINK " Disgraced Weiner Weighs Comeback After Sexting Scandal" LINK

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