The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, October 12, 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

GOP / DEBATE: ABC News’ Amy Walter: “ Analysis: Herman Cain, Mitt Romney Win GOP Economy Debate” Mitt Romney and Herman Cain: You can always tell who the frontrunners are at a debate because they are the guys who take all the incoming fire. Tonight, it was clear that Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are seen by their rivals as the men to beat. In fact, when the candidates were allowed to ask one of their opponents a question, all picked Romney — except for Ron Paul, who picked Cain.  LINK

USA Today’s Susan Page and Jackie Kucinich: “ Cain finds himself the target at GOP debate”  Businessman Herman Cain, the unlikely presidential contender who has never won an election, suddenly found himself the center of attention and the target of fire by his rivals after surging to challenge former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at the top of the Republican field. The seventh debate of the political season featured a reshaped Republican contest, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry trying to recover after his support plummeted in the wake of stumbles at the past two debates. LINK

The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker: “ Romney Looks Past Rivals as Debate Focuses on Economy” Mitt Romney offered a robust defense of the health care plan he signed as governor of Massachusetts and sought to look beyond his Republican presidential rivals at a debate here Tuesday night by presenting himself as the leader who is best prepared to take on President Obama. LINK

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Amy Gardner: “ Mitt Romney solidifies his front-runner status in Republican debate” A comfortable and confident Mitt Romney solidified his front-runner status on Tuesday night in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination, navigating 90 minutes of tough questions on the economy from his rivals and debate moderators. LINK

The Washington Times’ Seth McLaughlin: “ GOP rivals target Cain’s ’9-9-9' plan” Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain learned last night what it’s like to sit among the top tier of candidates in the GOP presidential race, as his rivals poked fun at and dismissed his “9-9-9? tax plan, which he argues would kick-start economic growth. LINK

Bloomberg’s Jeanne Cummings: “ Debate Shows Frontrunner Romney Lacks Party Majority” Mitt Romney left the stage of last night’s Republican presidential debate on the economy as he entered: a cautious frontrunner, not prone to mistakes, who has yet to win the backing of at least 70 percent of his party. With four of his seven Republican challengers at a debate table in Hanover, New Hampshire, directing questions at him, Romney’s was the voice viewers and listeners heard the most.   LINK

Politico’s Maggie Haberman: “ The GOP debate: Six takeaways” They came to talk about the economy, and for the most part that’s exactly what the GOP field did Tuesday night. Eight candidates again took the stage — or in this case, the table — for a Bloomberg/Washington Post debate, which focused on the main issue driving the 2012 campaign: the nation’s fiscal problems. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman and Neil King Jr.: “ Cain, New to the GOP Top Tier, Faces Barbs at Debate” Former restaurant-company executive Herman Cain, assuming his new position as a top-tier contender for the Republican presidential nomination, was pressed to defend his economic prescriptions against attacks from rivals at a Republican candidates’ debate that showcased the shifting fortunes of the campaign. Mr. Cain trumpeted his “9-9-9? tax plan, which would scrap the current income-tax code and replace it with a 9% flat individual tax rate, a 9% corporate tax rate and a 9% national sales tax. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Alison Gendar and Aliyah Shahid: “ Chris Christie endorses Mitt Romney for President in 2012, just hours before Republican debate” Governors unite! Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has grabbed up a plum endorsement from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama,” Christie said today as he stood beside Romney addressing supporters ahead of Tuesday’s debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Paul West: “ Herman Cain, ’9-9-9' plan the focus of latest GOP debate” Herman Cain , the rising star of the moment in the Republican presidential contest, was repeatedly put on the defensive over his tax-overhaul plan in a televised debate Tuesday night. Several of his GOP rivals criticized a central facet of the Atlanta businessman’s 9-9-9 proposal: a new 9% national sales tax. Noting that New Hampshire has no state income tax, Rick Santorum asked for a show of hands from New Hampshire residents in the debate audience who favored that proposal. Few hands went up. LINK

JOBS: The Hills’ Alexander Bolton: “ Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan blocked with 50-49 Senate vote” President Obama received a slap from members of his own party Tuesday as the Senate voted 50-49 to block his $447 billion jobs package. The jobs plan, which the president has spent much of the last month touting on a cross-country tour, fell well short of the 60 votes it needed to proceed. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:First Lady Attempts World RecordLINKRomney Compares Experience to Cain’sLINK

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