The Note's Must-Reads for Friday, September 27, 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, Will Cantine and Jordan Mazza

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN ABC News' Mary Bruce: " Obama Slams GOP For Trying To 'Blackmail' Him Over Obamacare" President Obama today accused Republicans of political extortion, saying they are trying to "blackmail a president" by threatening to shut down the government or refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless he agrees to gut his signature health care law. Making a sales pitch for "Obamacare" before a crowd of students in Maryland, the president said that critics of the Affordable Care Act have become "more irresponsible" as implementation approaches. LINK

USA Today's Susan Davis: " Senate To Advance Stopgap Bill" The Senate is on track to approve Friday a stopgap spending bill that sets Congress up for a weekend of partisan jockeying to resolve a shutdown threat before Monday's deadline. Simmering tensions surrounding a Republican-driven effort to defund President Obama's health care law as part of the stopgap measure spilled out on the Senate floor when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., attempted to clear the floor for a final passage vote Thursday evening. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro: " Time Is Short For GOP To Stop Obamacare, Avoid Government Shutdown" The collapse of a GOP strategy to halt President Obama's healthcare law has Republican leaders scrambling to find other ways to dismantle it as part of legislation needed to fund the government in a few days or trigger a shutdown. Time is not on their side: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has monopolized the floor in his lonely filibuster-like campaign to kill the Affordable Care Act. Patience among Republicans for the renegade senator's go-it-alone strategy is waning as money for routine government operations is set to run out by Oct. 1. LINK

Politico's Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan: " House GOP Banking On Plan C" House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is thinking about taking some of his members to see the new thriller "Prisoners" this weekend. But the California Republican, along with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), might feel like the ones getting locked up after their attempt to tie a one-year debt-ceiling hike to a laundry list of popular conservative policies - including a delay of Obamacare - fell flat Thursday, victim to continuing skepticism over the leadership's strategy within GOP ranks. LINK

The Washington Post's Zachary A. Goldfarb: " Obama's Line In The Sand Is On The Debt Ceiling" To the chagrin of many in his own party, President Obama has almost always been willing to negotiate - on taxes, on spending, even on the social safety net. But in the current fights over a potential government shutdown and the debt limit, the Democratic president has decided where he will draw the line. LINK

IRAN The Hill's Mario Trujillo: " Kerry: Iran Nuclear Deal Possible In Months" Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday a deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program could come in as little as three months, depending on the country's willingness to negotiate. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said a short timeframe of three-to-six months would be ideal for his country. When asked in a CBS interview whether that timeline is realistic, Kerry said, "sure. It's possible." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Laurence Norman and Jay Solomon: " Iran, U.S. Launch Nuclear Talks" The U.S. and Iran held their highest-level talks in 36 years on Thursday, in what some officials present described as a substantial meeting over Tehran's disputed nuclear program that could begin to counter decades of enmity. In the session, diplomats began the process of trying to establish programs to inspect, verify and curtail Iran's expanding nuclear complex, a process diplomats on both sides warned was arduous and uncertain. LINK

PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES Bloomberg's Kathleen Hunter: " Yellen Probably Will Be Fed Chair, Senate Democrat Says" President Barack Obama will choose Janet Yellen as head of the Federal Reserve, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat predicted. "I would bet a few bucks that that would happen if I were a betting man," Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois told Peter Cook in a Bloomberg Television interview for "Capital Gains" airing this weekend. Durbin, who has a close relationship with Obama, is one of about 20 Senate Democrats who signed a July 26 letter urging Obama to pick Yellen, 67, the central bank's current vice chairman. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " Obama Energy Nominee Becomes Climate Change Battleground" President Obama's nominee to head an obscure but powerful energy panel is in deep trouble on Capitol Hill, but the White House said Thursday it is standing by Ron Binz in what is shaping up to be a major battle over Mr. Obama's climate agenda. The Senate Energy Committee said it has been informed that there is a search for other names that could be sent over in lieu of Mr. Binz, whom Mr. Obama nominated in June to be chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. LINK

OBAMACARE The New York Times' Peter Barker: " Obama Scorns G.O.P. 'Blackmail' On Health Law" President Obama mounted a passionate, campaign-style defense of his health care program on Thursday, just days before its main elements take effect, mocking opponents for "crazy" arguments and accusing them of trying to "blackmail a president" to stop the law. Addressing a friendly audience outside Washington, the president abandoned the professorial tone he sometimes takes while describing the program and departed from his text to fire up supporters. LINK

MAYOR CORY BOOKER The New York Daily News' Adam Edelman: " Cory Booker's Tweety Sweety Defends Their Online Relationship, Admits She Has 'Crush' On Newark Mayor" Cory Booker's favorite tweety sweety defended her online flirtation with the popular pol Thursday, insisting the pair "did nothing wrong." Lynsie Lee, the Oregon-based stripper who bombarded the Newark mayor and U.S. Senate candidate with sexual invitations over Twitter, said the attention the duo has received for their racy exchange is "ridiculous." LINK

BOSTON ELECTION The Boston Globe's Andrew Ryan and Maria Cramer: " Police Pay May Entangle Candidates" Boston police patrolmen are expected to receive a major arbitration award in coming days that could thrust a high-profile labor dispute into a heated race for mayor. Arriving just weeks before the Nov. 5 election, the award could plunge City Hall back into the kind of conflict it saw in 2010, when a fight over a Boston firefighters' contract, with a 19.2 percent arbitration award, dominated for weeks. Details of the patrolmen's award remain confidential, because it has not been finalized, but two officials said they were told it is a six-year deal that would raise police pay by 23 percent or more. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " President Obama Promotes Healthcare Law to Young People" LINK " U.S. Senate Moves To Avoid Government Shutdown" LINK " Samuel L. Jackson To Obama: 'Stop Trying To Relate'" LINK " Stock Markets Slide On Fears Of Government Shutdown" LINK

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