The Note’s Must-Reads for Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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

2012 ELECTIONS: ABC News’ Michael Falcone, Emily Friedman, Gregory Simmons and Arlette Saenz: “ GOP Candidates Tout Conservative Bona Fides At South Carolina Forum” On a day usually marked by end-of-summer barbecues, five presidential candidates came here on Labor Day for a grilling of a different kind. Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain spent the afternoon in front of a panel of three conservative inquisitors, including Tea Party icon, Sen. Jim DeMint. LINK

Los Angeles Times’ Shane Goldmacher: “ Poll illustrates California voters’ anger” California voters are increasingly downcast about the direction of the country, but — like their leaders in Washington — many would rather adhere to party orthodoxy than compromise to address the current economic problems, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll shows. The findings offer little guidance for President Obama, who will unveil a jobs package this week that he hopes to push through a polarized Congress. LINK  

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Washington Post’s Jon Cohen and Dan Balz: “ Obama ratings sink to new lows as hope fades” Public pessimism about the direction of the country has jumped to its highest level in nearly three years, erasing the sense of hope that followed President Obama’s inauguration and pushing his approval ratings to a record low, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. LINK

The New York Times’ Jackie Calmes: “For Obama, a Familiar Labor Day Theme” Labor Day must seem like the movie “Groundhog Day” to President Obama. On Monday, for a third year he celebrated the holiday that honors workers with union members and their families in a political swing state, promising job-creation measures to reduce a 9 percent unemployment rate and calling on the Republican opposition to “put country before party.” LINK

The Hills’ Sam Youngman and Erik Wasson: “ Ahead of Thursday’s job speech, Obama blasts House Republicans” With his highly-anticipated jobs speech scheduled for Thursday, President Obama used Labor Day to fire up his base and put Republicans on notice. Obama, speaking to an estimated crowd of 13,000 on the Detroit River here, offered a slight preview of his jobs speech, castigating Republicans for not signing on to infrastructure spending that he will propose on Thursday. LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson: “ Obama asks if GOP will ‘put country before party’” President Obama used Labor Day to offer a preview of his big jobs speech later this week, challenging congressional Republicans today to support items that have received bipartisan support in the past. “We’re going to see if we’ve got some straight shooters in Congress,” Obama told a friendly crowd at a labor picnic on Detroit’s waterfront. LINK

REPUBLICANS: Bloomberg’s Laurel Brubaker Calkins: “ Rick Perry Accused of Distorting Congressional Map as Texas Trial Begins” Texas governor and U.S. presidential candidate Rick Perry is to face allegations in a trial starting today that he intentionally distorted congressional districts with the help of Republican lawmakers to prevent Latinos from winning office in the state. Texas gained four seats in Congress after adding almost 4.3 million new residents since 2000, according to the 2010 U.S. census.    LINK

Politico’s Emily Schultheis: “ Romney resists tea party lures at S.C. event” Asked by leading conservatives to join them in embracing hard-line conservative positions, Mitt Romney pushed back — and left them thinking about Rick Perry. The former Massachusetts governor’s more moderate stances are one of his main liabilities in the race for the Republican nomination — and here in this staunchly conservative state that hosts a key early primary. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman and Naftali Bendavid: “ Romney Stakes Out Centrist Ground” Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, seeking to regain his footing after losing his front-runner position, sought to stake out some moderate ground at a Labor Day candidates’ forum here, pushing back on some of the sharply conservative positions his competitors embraced. On the unofficial launch day of the 2012 presidential cycle, Mr. Romney stood out among a slate of candidates who embraced abolishing the Education Department, privatizing Social Security and ending the Federal Reserve’s role in addressing unemployment. LINK

The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser: “ Romney, in S.C., courts Tea Party Mitt Romney traveled to this conservative state yesterday and stepped up his courtship of Tea Party supporters, as the intensifying GOP presidential campaign entered the fall political season. The former Massachusetts governor, who until now has mostly ignored the Tea Party movement, made an appeal to social and religious conservatives in a state in which politics are guided by both.  LINK

OTHER: The Washington Times’ Luke Rosiak: “ For House, budget cuts hit close to home” The House of Representatives that returns Tuesday is 10 percent leaner than a year prior – the result of a pair of mandates requiring largely symbolic cuts to the way it goes about its business enacted since John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, assumed the speaker’s gavel in January. LINK

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