The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, December 9, 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 and Jacqueline Fernandez

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Washington Post's David Nakamura and Ylan Q. Mui: " Obama denounces Senate vote to block Cordray at Consumer Watchdog agency" An agitated President Obama accused congressional Republicans on Thursday of not standing up for ordinary Americans after the Senate derailed his nominee to head a new federal consumer protection agency. LINK

NEWT GINGRICH: ABC News' Shushannah Walshe: " Newt Gingrich's Headquarters May Be Empty, But Campaign Says They Are Going Strong" Newt Gingrich is surging in the polls, but it's hard to tell if you drop by his headquarters in this suburb of Des Moines. No phone banking or teams of volunteers making signs, instead on an afternoon trip here ABC News found an empty office with only six staffers and two volunteers working hard on the Iowa frontrunner's campaign. LINK

The Washington Times' Seth McLaughlin: " Former Hill allies call out Gingrich" Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's political past is starting to haunt him on the campaign trail, where several of his ex-colleagues are saying his surplus of ideas often left political messes that they had to clean up, and that this harmed the conservative cause he championed. LINK

Los Angeles Times' Paul West: " Gingrich's record belies his conservative image" Reporting from Washington- For months, many Republicans have cast about for an alternative to Mitt Romney, decrying him as insufficiently conservative. Now they appear to have settled on a new front-runner - Newt Gingrich - who is no more conservative than Romney. LINK

MITT ROMNEY: USA Today's Gregory Korte: " Romney ad attacks Obama's jobs-creation record" A "super PAC" associated with Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign launched a $3.1 million ad buy in Iowa on Thursday, starting with an ad attacking President Obama's job-creation record and touting Romney's. LINK

Politico's Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman: " Dem campaign means two-front war for Mitt Romney" If Newt Gingrich ends up as the Republican presidential nominee, he may have the Democrats to thank for it. For nearly two months now, Democrats have pummeled Gingrich's top primary rival - Mitt Romney - with a relentless stream of character attacks, casting him as a soulless political flip-flopper in Web videos, press conferences and paid television ads. Only in the past few days have Obama allies bothered to address Gingrich's rocket-like ascent in the polls. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman, Neil King Jr. and Douglas Belkin: " Tough Talk as Romney Takes Aim at Gingrich" The Republican presidential campaign took a sharply negative turn on Thursday, a result of increasing signs that Mitt Romney's main argument to GOP voters-that he alone can beat President Barack Obama in November-is coming under pressure from a surging Newt Gingrich. LINK

RICK PERRY / MICHELE BACHMANN: The New York Times' Richard Oppel Jr.: " Perry's Anti-Gay Rights Focus Is Divisive Even to Staff" Gov. Rick Perry of Texas' hard turn the past two days on gay issues, in which he has suggested that gay rights are inconsistent with both American and Christian values, has generated enormous criticism from lesbian and gay organizations and some religious groups, and has even helped split Mr. Perry's top campaign aides over a new ad. LINK

New York Daily News' Jonathan Lemire: " Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann are latest GOP hopefuls to turn down Trump debate" Donald Trump may be playing ringmaster to a sparely attended circus. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann on Thursday became the latest GOP White House hopefuls to turn down an invitation to The Donald's upcoming debate in Iowa. LINK

RICK SANTORUM: The Hill's Daniel Strauss: " Santorum to get big endorsement in Iowa" Rick Santorum will be endorsed by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz on Friday, according to sources close to Santorum's campaign. The former Pennsylvania senator will receive Schultz's nod at what the campaign is touting as a "major campaign announcement." LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS: " Romney Highlights Religion Amid Gingrich's Rise" LINK " Newt Gingrich's Rise Highlights Morality" LINK

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