The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday February 26, 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' Carrie Halperin, Jayce Henderson Amanda VanAllen and Danielle Genet

FISCAL BATTLE ABC News' John Parkinson: " Boehner Not Blinking in Budget Deadlock " With sequestration set to strike on Friday, House Speaker John Boehner returned to the Capitol after a nine-day recess with no apparent change in his political posture: If the $85 billion cuts are going to be averted, Boehner insists, it's up to the Senate to act. Some lawmakers had returned to Washington today hoping for a "hail Mary" attempt to avert the looming sequestration cuts. LINK

USA Today's David Jackson: " Obama enlists governors' help on sequestration fix" President Obama sought to recruit the nation's governors Monday in his sequestration battle with Congress, telling them that $85 billion in automatic budget cuts would cripple economic progress in their states. Set to start Friday, the sequestration cuts will lead to fewer teachers, reduced medical care, idle defense workers and other job-killing reductions in all 50 states, Obama told members of the National Governors Association at the White House. LINK

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman and Michael D. Shear: " G.O.P. Drafts Plan to Give Obama Discretion on Cuts" Congressional Republicans are preparing to counter increasingly dire warnings from President Obama about the impact of automatic budget cuts with a plan to give the administration more flexibility in instituting $85 billion in cuts, a proposal they say could protect the most vital programs while shifting more of the political fallout to the White House. The plan is vigorously opposed by the administration, which said Monday that it would do little to soften the blow to military and domestic programs. LINK

The Washington Post's Michael Laris: " In Newport News shipyard, looming budget cuts create anxiety and anger" As President Obama returned from a Florida golfing trip and Congress was on a Presidents' Day break last week, Tommy Bassett, a nuclear machinist, was applying for a backup job at Lowe's. The carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was supposed to arrive at the massive shipyard here on Valentine's Day for a multibillion-dollar overhaul that would take years and provide Bassett and some of the other 21,000 shipyard employees with steady work. LINK

Bloomberg's Hans Nichols: " Obama Seeks Pressure on Congress from Governors" President Barack Obama urged the nation's governors to pressure Congress for a deal to avoid automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin March 1, telling them the impact would be felt in every state. With the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, the White House distributed a state-by-state list of programs, including defense, education and public health, that would be affected by the across-the-board reduction of $85 billion in this fiscal year. LINK

GUN CONTROL Politico's Reid J. Epstein: " Obama's gun strategy falling short in Senate" President Barack Obama's legislative strategy for gun control may be the reason he gets no deal at all. Obama's team has been working a delicate inside game to reach out to otherwise combative Senate Republicans: The White House conveys messages to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who develops strategy with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the gun-friendly moderate who is tasked with whipping GOP support. LINK

USA Today's Jackie Kucinich: " Senate to take up assault weapons ban" The Senate on Wednesday will hold the first hearing to consider a revamped assault weapons ban, but despite the emotionally loaded witness list, the ban is unlikely become law this year. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the author of the first ban, will preside over the hearing, which will feature testimony from Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was one of the 20 schoolchildren shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14. LINK

IMMIGRATION The Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler: " The GOP's Immigration Dilemma" Sen. Lindsey Graham had just explained how his immigration overhaul plan would secure the border and crack down on employers who hire illegal residents. But when he asked a luncheon of the Cherokee County Republican Party what should happen to the millions already in the U.S., one woman yelled back, "Send them home!" LINK

THE WHITE HOUSE The Washington Times' Dave Boyer: " No open door: White House denies selling access to President Obama to wealthy supporters" The White House refuted a report Monday that President Obama's former campaign team is selling access to him for wealthy donors who contribute at least $500,000 to a newly organized advocacy group pushing his liberal agenda. White House press secretary Jay Carney offered a flat "no" when asked by reporters if donors to the group Organizing for Action - a spinoff of Obama for America - would be rewarded with quarterly meetings with Mr. Obama in exchange for their hefty contributions to the tax-exempt group. LINK

VIDEOS " New York Politician Apologizes for Blackface Costume" LINK

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