The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday June 22nd, 2011

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates Claudia Morales, Jacqueline Fernandez, Jayce Henderson and Desk Assistant Amanda VanAllen

PRESIDENT OBAMA/AFGHANISTAN: The Washington Time’s Dave Boyer: “ Obama to lay out pace of troop pullout” President Obama will explain Wednesday night his plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan with indications of a more rapid recall of soldiers than military advisers recommended but not enough to satisfy his liberal allies. LINK

The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung: “ Obama’s task: maintaining support for Afghan war” President Obama will face a stiff political challenge Wednesday in presenting his plan for a gradual end to the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. His prime-time address must remind a skeptical electorate and a concerned Congress that the country’s longest war remains worth fighting — and funding — for several more years. LINK

Politico’s Josh Gerstein & Scott Wong: “ President Obama to withdraw troops from Afghanistan” Caught between the Pentagon brass and his political base, President Barack Obama will start his long-promised wind-down of the Afghanistan war in a speech Wednesday night that seems sure to please no one. The generals want to stick it out. His supporters – and a growing number of Republicans – think Obama can’t get out of Afghanistan fast enough, particularly now that Osama bin Laden is dead. LINK

USA Today’s Mimi Hall and Tom Vanden Brook: “ Obama to announce Afghanistan withdrawal plan” President Obama takes his case for winding down the nation's 10-year war in Afghanistan to a war-weary public tonight when he announces the start of troop withdrawals in a prime-time address to the nation. LINK

NY Daily News’ Aaliyah Shahid: “ President Obama plans to withdraw 30K troops from Afghanistan by end of 2012: report” The troops are coming home, at least some of them. President Obama will announce his much-anticipated Afghanistan withdrawal plan on Wednesday, with one administration official telling CNN that the commander in chief will bring home 30,000 U.S. "surge" forces by the end of 2012. LINK

The Hills’ John T. Bennett: “ Afghan war is first task for Panetta” When President Obama announces troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, he will do so with a more natural ally headed to the Pentagon. CIA Director Leon Panetta was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday as the successor to Robert Gates, one of the most respected Defense secretaries in history. LINK

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl: “ Huntsman on Afghanistan: 'Definitely, Get American Troops Out Faster'” Just hours after Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, admonished Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman's war stance on Good Morning America, the former Ambassador to China said he'd like to see "a significant draw down" and to get "American troops out faster" from Afghanistan . Just a couple of hours after kicking off his official campaign with a speech in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, Huntsman sat down for an exclusive interview with Jonathan Karl's 'Subway Series,' where they talked about Afghanistan, his relationship with the White House and those head scratching videos from the campaign featuring a man riding a motorcycle. LINK

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: The Boston Globe’s Theo Emery: “ Kerry, McCain push role in Libya” Senators John F. Kerry and John McCain, seeking to defuse a contentious debate over funding for US military operations in Libya, proposed a resolution yesterday offering congressional support for President Obama’s policy in the North African country. The senators, both high-profile members of the chamber and former nominees for the presidency, sought to project a united front in support of the NATO-led action to protect Libyan civilians from Moammar Khadafy’s forces and curtail the dictator’s ability to wage war. LINK

LA Times’ Lisa Mascaro and Ken Dilanian: “ Panetta confirmed as Defense secretary” The Senate unanimously confirmed Leon E. Panetta as secretary of Defense on Tuesday, putting the Pentagon in the hands of a former Democratic congressman and budget expert amid growing political discontent over the cost and reach of President Obama's military engagements. Panetta, who spent two years as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will replace Robert M. Gates , who is retiring after serving in two consecutive administrations. LINK

ECONOMY: The New York Times’ Helene Cooper: “ Slow Domestic Economy Puts Focus on Cost of Two Wars” President Obama will talk about troop numbers in Afghanistan when he makes a prime-time speech from the White House on Wednesday night. But behind his words will be an acute awareness of what $1.3 trillion in spending on two wars in the past decade has meant at home: a ballooning budget deficit and a soaring national debt at a time when the economy is still struggling to get back on its feet. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Brody Mullins and Danny Yadron: “ Government Jobs, Outside Income” Sen. Harry Reid's top aide received $1.2 million from Comcast Corp. after he began working for the Senate majority leader, joining a long list of congressional staffers who have collected money from past employers after starting on Capitol Hill. LINK

The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery and Rosalind Helderman: “ Senate budget chairman says $2 trillion not enough” The debt-reduction package emerging in talks between the White House and congressional leaders would not “fundamentally change” the alarming rate of growth in the national debt, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said Tuesday. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS: 'Conditions-based' Afghanistan DrawdownLINK

Sen. John McCain's Comments 'Irresponsible'LINK

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