The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, September 30, 2011

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 Digital News Associates Jayce Henderson, Jacqueline Fernandez and Desk Assistant Amanda VanAllen

PRESIDENT OBAMA: ABC News’ Jake Tapper: “ Obama: U.S. Had “Gotten a Little Soft” in Last Couple Decades, Lost Competitiveness” In an interview with an Orlando TV station Thursday, President Obama said that the U.S. had “gotten a little soft” in the last couple decades, losing its competitiveness. Discussing with WESH TV’s Jim Payne how this is a particularly “challenging” time for young people, the president said that “even before the financial crisis hit, one of the reasons that I ran for president was that wages, incomes had flat-lined at the same time that costs were going up, I think people felt that opportunities were becoming more constricted for the next generation.” LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson: “ Obama, Arizona Sheriff Arpaio clash over immigration” President Obama and Arizona-based Sheriff Joe Arpaio — noted for his roundups of illegal immigrants — are mixing it up. In a roundtable on Hispanic issues Wednesday, Obama said his Justice Department challenged the Arizona immigration law backed by Arpaio because “we thought that there was a great danger that naturalized citizens — individuals with Latino surnames — potentially could be vulnerable to questioning.” LINK

The New York Times’ Jackie Calmes and Mark Landler: “ Obama Charts a New Route to Re-election” With his support among blue-collar white voters far weaker than among white-collar independents, President Obama is charting an alternative course to re-election should he be unable to win Ohio and other industrial states traditionally essential to Democratic presidential victories. LINK

The Washington Times’ Dave Boyer: “ Obama gives boot to claims of slur on ‘slippers’” Facing an uproar from President Obama’s most loyal base of supporters, the White House on Thursday rejected claims that Mr. Obama stereotyped blacks when he told them to “take off your bedroom slippers” and work for his re-election. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Nathaniel Popper: “ Obama’s former campaign funders on Wall Street turn against him” The race is on to tap one of the most vital sources of campaign cash — Wall Street — and the early results are not looking good for President Obama. The president’s campaign struggled this week to sell out a fundraising dinner Friday at Manhattan’s gilded Four Seasons restaurant despite its being hosted by America’s No. 1 capitalist, Warren Buffett, according to people close to the campaign who were not authorized to speak publicly. LINK

GOP: The Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson: “ Herman Cain: The GOP’s next big thing?” Almost lost amid the buzz this week over the possibility that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may seek the Republican nomination for president was the potential rise of a candidate already in the race: Herman Cain. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King Jr.: “ As Christie Clamor Grows, His Positions Face Scrutiny” Chris Christie supporters clamoring for the New Jersey governor to enter the 2012 presidential race generally cite his reputation as a blunt crusader who has fought government red ink and public unions. Less mentioned are his views on a range of other issues—from abortion and immigration to gun control and energy policy—that reflect the relatively liberal shade of his state but could dog Mr. Christie if he jumps into the nomination fight. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Glenn Blain: “ Former New York Gov. George Pataki pushes for a New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie presidential bid” Former New York Gov. George Pataki has joined the Christie For President booster club. Pataki, who once considered his own run for President, issued a statement Thursday urging New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the underwhelming field of GOP candidates. LINK

UNEMPLOYMENT: The Hills’ Daniel Strauss: “ Durbin says Democrats don’t currently have the votes for Obama jobs bill” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, at the moment, Democrats in Congress don’t have the votes to pass President Obama’s jobs bill, but Durbin added that that situation would change.  ”Not at the moment, I don’t think we do, but, uh, we can work on it,” Durbin said, according to Chicago radio station WLS. LINK

Bloomberg’s Joshua Zumbrun: “ Fed’s Twist Will Fail to Boost Employment: Poll” Global investors say Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s bond-swap program, known as Operation Twist, will fail to reduce unemployment as the world’s largest economy slows. Seventy-eight percent of respondents say the Fed’s plan to replace $400 billion of short-term debt with longer-term Treasuries won’t create jobs for the nation’s 14 million unemployed, according to the quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll of 1,031 investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers.   LINK

OTHER: Politico’s Charles Hoskinson: “ Mike Mullen to Martin Dempsey: a generational shift at JCS” Adm. Mike Mullen and the man who replaces him Friday as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are just five years apart in age but their experiences are different in ways that represent a dramatic shift at the top of the nation’s armed forces. Mullen, 64, the last of six chairmen whose careers were first defined in combat in southeast Asia, spent time as a young ensign off the coast of Vietnam on the destroyer USS Collett in 1968, firing 5-inch guns with such intensity that the barrels melted from the heat. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:South Carolina GOP Chairman on ‘Top Line’LINKWhat’s Happening to the GOP Primary Calendar?LINK

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