The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, October 24, 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

HEALTHCARE ABC News' Abby Phillip: " Tea Party Group Turns Health Care Glitches Into Anti-Dem Ads" The Affordable Care Act's websites glitches have given Republicans a fresh anti-Obamacare message for the 2014 campaign. The tea party-backed group Americans for Prosperity today announced a slew of new television, radio and web ads criticizing two Democrats, Rep. Scott Peters of California and Rep. Ron Barber of Arizona, for their support of the 3-year-old law. Both Peters and Barber are top targets for Republicans in 2014. Specifically, these ads highlight the glitches that have plagued the site and the two Democratic lawmakers' support for the law. LINK USA Today's Kelly Kennedy: " Tech Fears and Failures" High demand for health insurance coupled with confusion between contractors led to many of the problems that have plagued the website meant to allow uninsured Americans to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act, an official with the top contractor will say in prepared testimony to a House panel Thursday. Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president of CGI Federal, said in advance testimony for her scheduled Thursday appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that another contractor was responsible for the technology that allowed users to create new accounts and which caused the initial bottleneck issues on the site. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro and Christi Parsons: " Obama allies join in criticism of healthcare website" The rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act again came under sharp criticism Wednesday, three weeks into the launch, but this time some of the loudest voices were among top Democrats, including President Obama's closest allies. Democrats on Capitol Hill said they were unhappy with the performance of the Obamacare website, which has been plagued with problems since its debut Oct. 1. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: "Obamacare's first users start to get kicked off insurance plans" The health care law's honeymoon period is over. For several years, Obamacare provided new benefits: Children could stay on their parents' plans longer, insurance companies couldn't impose lifetime benefit caps, and seniors got extra help in buying prescription drugs. LINK

FUNDRAISING The Hills' Amie Parnes: " Obama to go on post-shutdown fundraising blitz for Democrats" President Obama plans to be the star guest for at least eight fundraising events around the country over the next five weeks for House and Senate Democrats, sources say. The aggressive cross-country trip comes after a government shutdown battered Republican approval ratings and raised Democratic hopes of keeping control of the Senate and winning back the House for Obama's final two years in office. LINK

JOHN McCAIN The New York Daily News' Leslie Larson: " John McCain 'thinking about' Senate run in 2016 at age 80" Sixth time's the charm, at least that's the motto for John McCain. The veteran Republican Senator says that he's considering another run for the Senate in 2016 - when the politician would be 80. The self-described "maverick" told KFYI-AM in Phoenix on Tuesday that he's "seriously thinking about maybe giving another opportunity for you to vote for or against me in a few years from now." LINK PRESIDENT OBAMA Politico's Todd S. Purdum: " Trash-talking the president" No matter how many times you've been there, the White House is a pretty awesome place, conferring on every president what "The West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin once called "the single greatest home-court advantage in the modern world." So it would have to rank as the biggest "in your face" any modern president has faced if someone actually said to Barack Obama, in his own workspace - where a constantly shifting array of blown-up photographs of him line the halls and a retinue of helicopters wait at his beck and call - "I cannot even stand to look at you." LINK

DRONES The Washington Post's Greg Miller and Bob Woodward : "Secret memos reveal explicit nature of U.S., Pakistan agreement on drones" Despite repeatedly denouncing the CIA's drone campaign, top officials in Pakistan's government have for years secretly endorsed the program and routinely received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts, according to top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos obtained by The Washington Post. The files describe dozens of drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal region and include maps as well as before-and-after aerial photos of targeted compounds over a four-year stretch from late 2007 to late 2011 in which the campaign intensified dramatically. LINK

FOREIGN AFFAIRS The Wall Street Journal's Anton Troianovski and Siobhan Gorman: " Berlin Says U.S. May Be Spying on Merkel's Phone" Germany said it believed that U.S. intelligence agencies may be spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone, an intrusion that could escalate the international furor over U.S. data surveillance and complicate Washington's relationship with one of its staunchest allies. Ms. Merkel spoke by phone with President Barack Obama on Wednesday and made clear that such surveillance among allies would be "fully unacceptable" and a "grave breach of trust," her spokesman said in a statement released late Wednesday in Berlin. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Obama Defends Use of Surveillance Abroad" LINK

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