The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, February 25, 2013

ABC OTUS News

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 www.abcnews.com

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson and Amanda VanAllen

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Boston Globe: " New group seeks to 'strengthen progressive movement'" Two top political consultants to President Obama are forming a public advocacy group funded by donations from wealthy individuals and corporations. It is aimed at making political and legislative changes at the federal and state levels. The Organizing for Action says it will be nonpartisan and steer clear of election activity, although the line between issue disputes and electoral politics can be fuzzy. The first of an expected wave of ads on gun control, for example, has targeted only Republicans. LINK

SEQUESTER CUTS: ABC News' Rick Klein: " President Obama Faces 'Cliff Fatigue' in Latest Budget Fight" Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk. Delays await at airports. Padlocks are ready at national parks. The nation will suffer greater risk of wildfires, workplace deaths, and even surprise weather events, if government predictions are to be believed. Our entire military readiness and superiority are at risk. What if nobody cares? LINK

The Hill's Bernie Becker: " White House details state-by-state impact of looming sequester cuts" The White House escalated its efforts to pressure congressional Republicans on sequestration, releasing new reports that showed the state-by-state impact of some $85 billion in automatic spending cuts. President Obama's administration for days has been stressing the real-world implications of the spending cuts, which start going into effect on Friday, and has increasingly tried to bring that message directly to voters. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Paul West: " As Federal cuts near, White House trades blame with Republicans" With no progress evident in Washington's latest budget battle, the White House opened a new front Sunday by releasing state-by-state estimates on the effects of about $85 billion in spending reductions. The across-the-board cuts are scheduled to take effect Friday, but the two sides appear more eager to pin blame than to avert a potential economic crisis. LINK

The New York Daily News' Dan Hirschhorn: " Dems and Republicans take to Sunday morning airwaves to point fingers as sequester cuts loom" Billions of dollars in automatic cuts are set to hit government spending this week - and Washington is in full hysteria over who's to blame and just how bad it will really be. Democrats and Republicans took to the airwaves Sunday, each in a last-ditch attempt to blame the other for the so-called "sequester" cuts and to debate the impact on Americans' everyday lives. Democrats said Republicans haven't come to the table with a serious compromise to the replace the automatic cuts. LINK

USA Today's Susan Davis: " Sequester: 'Collateral damage' of budget war may be huge" Coming soon, the lines at airport security might get longer, the hours of service at Head Start centers might get shorter and the FBI might have fewer agents tracking down bad guys. These are only a few of the potentially sweeping effects of the latest battle in the ongoing two-year budget war between President Obama and a divided Congress. Across-the-board spending cuts totaling $85 billion start kicking in Friday if Washington doesn't act. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Janet Hook and Peter Nicholas: " Fresh Front in Budget Battle" Already looking past the current budget impasse gripping the capital, congressional leaders are quietly considering a deal to avert a government shutdown next month-but at the cost of prolonging across-the-board spending cuts. Attention is beginning to shift from Friday, when the broad cuts known as the sequester kick in, to the next budget deadline: Congress must pass a so-called continuing resolution by the end of March to keep funding government operations. LINK

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman: " Budget Impasse Signals a Shift in G.O.P.'s Focus" With Congress unlikely to stop deep automatic spending cuts that will strike hard at the military, the fiscal stalemate is highlighting a significant shift in the Republican Party: lawmakers most keenly dedicated to shrinking the size of government are now more dominant than the bloc committed foremost to a robust national defense, particularly in the House. That reality also underscores what Republicans, and some Democrats, say was a major miscalculation on the part of President Obama. LINK

The Washington Post's Zachary A. Goldfarb and Paul Kane: " White House releases state-by-state breakdown of sequester's effects" The White House on Sunday detailed how the deep spending cuts set to begin this week would affect programs in every state and the District, as President Obama launched a last-ditch effort to pressure congressional Republicans to compromise on a way to stop the across-the-board cuts. But while Republicans and Democrats were set to introduce dueling legislative proposals this week to avert the Friday start of the spending cuts, known as the sequester, neither side expected the measures to get enough support to pass Congress. LINK

TEA PARTY: The Washington Times' Seth McLaughlin: " Tea partyers fight for right-thinking GOP" Though years in the brewing, the internal fight over the direction of the Republican Party has exploded onto front pages and political talk shows this month after strategist Karl Rove announced the formation of a new political action committee designed to promote more electable candidates. Fed up with what they see as a sellout of their small-government agenda and tired of Election Day disappointments, tea partyers and many conservatives are firing back. LINK

IMMIGRATION: Politico's Kate Nocera: " Congress facing signs of immigration roadblocks" The push for immigration reform on Captiol Hill has been in overdrive thus far in 2013, but last week's recess serves as a reminder - if one was needed - that the issue is far from settled. On the face of things, there's plenty of momentum in Congress: The Senate Gang of Eight hopes to have a bill by mid-March; labor and business groups agreed on basic principles for low-skill workers; and a series of congressional hearings on the topic already have begun in earnest. LINK

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