The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, December 27th, 2010

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates and Desk Assistants CLAUDIA MORALES, JACQUELINE NG FERNANDEZ, AND MOLLY HUNTER

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Brown: “’ Obama’s War’ More Successful on the Ground Thank With Americans” President Barack Obama says that his Afghanistan policy is on track on the ground, but that is clearly much less the case when it comes to the political support needed here at home to sustain his policy in the long run. LINK

Politico’s Josh Gerstein: President Barack Obama in 2011: Same Cabinet, More Road Time" Don’t expect major shake ups in the Cabinet next year as President Barack Obama gears up for his reelection campaign, senior White House advisers said Sunday. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama can be expected to name a replacement for departing National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, filling the most senior open role on the White House staff. With no major personnel changes in the office, President Obama has said he will take a different approach out of the office, spending more time mingling with the public, engaging with the American people. LINK

Politico’s Carol E. Lee: " Obamas Attend Church in Hawaii" On Sunday, the Obamas attended a late-morning service at St. Michael’s chapel on the Marine base near his vacation home in Hawaii. The Obamas do not belong to a church in Washington and the holiday visit marked the seventh time he’s gone to church since taking office. The President’s religious habits have been a point of discussion since his 2008 campaign, and a Pew Research poll released in August found that one in five Americans – 18 percent – believe Obama is a Muslim. LINK

FOREIGN: The Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe : “ U.S. troops battle to hand off a valley resistant to Afghan governance” Earlier this year, Lt. Col. Joseph Ryan concluded that his 800-soldier battalion was locked in an endless war for an irrelevant valley. "There is nothing strategically important about this terrain," said Ryan, 41, a blunt commander who has spent much of the past decade in combat. LINK

SUPREME COURT: USA Today’s Joan Biskupic: “ Sotomayor protests court’s refusal of appeals” Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has set herself apart from colleagues with her fervent statements protesting the majority's refusal to take some appeals, particularly involving prisoners. LINK

WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCES: ABC News’ Sunlen Miller and Yunji de Nies: White House Convenes “Inter-Agency” Call on Holiday Threats The White House convened an inter-agency conference call Sunday morning to review the steps taken to respond to holiday threats this season. The White House assured that they are being vigilant this holiday season after last year’s incident aboard a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit when Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to explode a powdery substance. The Administration says they do not see a specific and credible threat this holiday season. LINK

ABC News’ Brian Hartman and Human Khan: Robert Gibbs’ Christmas Gift To America: A Tweet Conference White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took questions from Twitter users in an impromptu tweet conference on Friday. He covered everything from tax cuts to President Obama’s injured lip. Our favorite question: How do questions from the Twitter community compare to those of the Washington press corps? Gibbs’ answer: That question will likely just get me in trouble! LINK

NATIONAL SECURITY: The Washington Times’ Joseph Weber: U.S. Focusing More On Rail, Hotel ecurity The U.S. has made air travel safer over the past year for Americans and is sharpening its focus on potential terrorists attacks on trains, subways and “soft targets” such as hotels, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday. Napolitano also said that the controversial pat downs and full-body scanners will continue into the “foreseeable future.” LINK

RNC: The Hill’s Hannah Brenton: Race for RNC Chairman Still A Toss Up As Steele Defends Tenure ith less than one month to go, the race for the chairmanship for the Republican National Committee is still wide open. To win, a candidate must receive 85 out of 168 votes from RNC members, most of whom were not elected. Of the six candidates, no clear front-runner has emerged against Chairman Michael Steele, who is running for a second term. The situation was similar in 2009 - six candidates and no census choice – Steele won on the sixth ballot. LINK

The Washington Post: “ Surveying the field of RNC race: Priebus out front, but it's anyone's guess” Uncertainty reigns in the race for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee despite the election being less than a month away. LINK

OTHER MUST-READS: Los Angeles Times’ Seema Mehta: California Says Census Missed 1.5 Million Residents alifornia officials estimate that the U.S. Census Bureau failed to count 1.5 million of the state’s residents, a discrepancy that if true could cost the state billions of dollars in federal aid over the next decade and perhaps an increase in its representation in Congress. Last week the Census Bureau’s figures declared California to have 37.3 million resident but according to data by the state Department of Finance the state’s population was 38.8 million on July 1. The key challenge facing California in any census is the high numbers of populations least likely to participate, namely minorities and illegal immigrants. LINK

NY Daily News’ Nina Mandell: " Bll Clinton To Hit Campaign Trail For Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel" ll Clinton will be back on the campaign trail, this time to support former White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel in his bid to be the next mayor of Chicago. Emanuel earned his reputation as a head-knocker during the five years he spent in the Clinton administration as Clinton’s political director, senior policy adviser and director of special projects. LINK

The New York Times Sharon Otterman: “ Hurdles Emerge in Rising Effort to Rate Teachers” For the past three years, Katie Ward and Melanie McIver have worked as a team at Public School 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, teaching a fourth-grade class. But on the reports that rank the city's teachers based on their students’ standardized test scores, Ms. Ward’s name is nowhere to be found. LINK

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