The Note’s Must-Reads for Monday, December 19, 2011

By Jayce Henderson

Dec 19, 2011 3:31am

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 www.abcnews.com

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associate Jayce Henderson

NEWT GINGRICH:
ABC News’ Michael Ono: “Gingrich: Activist Judges Should Be Arrested” Presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested today that he would have the Capitol Police or U.S. Marshals arrest activist judges, citing an incident in which a sitting federal judge ordered students not use the word “benediction” in their high school graduation. LINK

The New York Times’ Jackie Calmes: “As Gingrich’s Star Rises, So Do His Party’s Concerns” From the House that Newt Gingrich once ran through the Washington establishment to state capitals across the nation, some Republicans are going public with their concerns that Mr. Gingrich would be a weak general election candidate and a drag on the party’s fortunes if he won the presidential nomination. LINK

MITT ROMNEY:
ABC News’ Emily Friedman: “Romney Boasts of VA Ballot Qualification as Gingrich Reportedly Scrambles” Just a few hours after Politico reported that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is scrambling to get enough signatures to get his name on Virginia’s primary ballot, Mitt Romney posted an informal web video of him and his wife Ann at their kitchen counter, flipping through his own election paperwork. LINK

The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser: “Wide-ranging Mitt Romney tries to build steam” Mitt Romney, making a direct appeal to middle class voters, said this morning that he would be a president who would protect average Americans – a statement that is sure to be challenged by Democrats and will become a major theme in the general election if Romney wins the nomination. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Maeve Reston: “Mitt Romney delves into his personal life” In case you’ve missed it, Mitt Romney is ready to dish. The famously buttoned-up presidential candidate, frequently described by voters as too aloof and wealthy to understand their problems, has long shied away from public introspection. But Romney suddenly seems determined to let America in — delving into his faith and personal life on the campaign trail while engaging in a dizzying series of interviews that will be capped with an appearance Monday night on “Late Show with David Letterman.” LINK

RICK PERRY:
Politico’s Maggie Haberman: “Bisexual teen confronts Perry in Iowa” An openly bisexual 14-year-old “incensed” over Rick Perry’s criticism of gays openly serving in the military confronted him Sunday night. “I was just wondering why you’re so opposed to gays serving openly in the military and why you want to deny them their freedom when they’re fighting for your rights,” Rebecka Green, surrounded by cameras and accompanied by her father, asked the Texas governor after his fifth and final stop of the day on a bus tour across Iowa. LINK

MICHELE BACHMANN:
The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan: “Bachmann sprints as Iowa caucuses loom” It’s mid-afternoon on a clear but blustery Saturday and Rep. Michele Bachmann is in the middle of what could be the busiest campaign swing in Iowa caucus history, and she’s signing a man’s bald head with a black marker. LINK

The Hill’s Meghashyam Mali: “Bachmann Obama acting like US is a ‘banana republic’” GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Sunday accused President Obama of running the nation like a “banana republic.” Bachmann during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press said the administration had failed to cut spending and had put the nation in greater debt. LINK

CAMPAIGN SPENDING:
USA Today’s Fredreka Schouten: “Outsider campaign spending linked to GOP candidates surges” Independent groups supporting Republican presidential candidates have sprung to life, funding a flurry of new commercials in recent days to influence the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and other early primary contests. LINK

OTHER / IOWA / VOTERS:
The Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz: “Evangelicals divided on whom to support in GOP presidential race”  Jenifer Bowen, the executive director of Iowa Right to Life, spent a recent evening at the Hoyt Sherman Place theater here listening to four Republican presidential candidates deliver faith-infused pitches to about 1,000 evangelicals representing one of this election’s most critical and conflicted voting blocs. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King Jr.: “Rivals Diverge on Late Tactics in Iowa” Newt Gingrich has injected a controversial new proposition to the Republican presidential contest—asserting that as president he would rein in the judiciary—while Mitt Romney appeared Sunday to nudge his campaign toward the political center, as the two GOP front-runners pursued very different tacks in their closing arguments to Iowa voters. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:
Mitt Romney Picks Up Big Endorsementslink

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