The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, December 21, 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 and Desk Assistants Jayce Henderson, Claudia Morales, Jacqueline Fernandez and Amanda VanAllen


The Hill's Josh Lederman: "Top Iowa conservative asks Bachmann to drop out of presidential race" Bob Vander Plaats, the influential evangelical leader in Iowa, called Michele Bachmann on Saturday and asked her to drop out of the presidential race. Vander Plaats - who endorsed Rick Santorum on Tuesday - asked her to consider the vice presidential slot instead, according to a source close to the Bachmann campaign. Bachmann declined. LINK

New York Daily News' Aliyah Shahid: "Michele Bachmann approach by gay-rights activist claiming it's likely some of her kids are homosexuals"  Michele Bachmann has a problem with gay-rights activists. The Republican presidential candidate was confronted in Iowa by an advocate who said it was likely that several of her foster children were homosexual. The encounter comes just weeks after Bachmann - who has been outspoken in her fight against same-sex marriage - was approached by an 8-year-old boy who told her "My mommy, Miss Bachmann, my mommy's gay but she doesn't need fixing." LINK


ABC News' Emily Friedman: "One Eve of Major Bus Tour, Romney Delivers Closing Argument Speech in N.H." On the eve of his biggest push yet in the Granite State, Mitt Romney tonight delivered his closing argument, calling on voters to reject President Barack Obama's "failures" and "misguided policies," and opt for a leader - him - who will "save a vision of America." "We are Americans. And we will not surrender our dreams to the failures of this president," Romney said to a crowd of more than 150 who had packed into the Bedford Town Hall. LINK

Los Angeles Times' Maeve Reston: "Mitt Romney kicks off New Hampshire stretch of his run" Mitt Romney framed the 2012 election as a battle for "America's soul" and accused Obama of using "the invisible boot of government to bring us all down" on the eve of a three-day bus tour through New Hampshire, a state that he is relying on to clinch the nomination. Calling the presidential race a choice between two destinies, Romney argued that Obama had attempted to transform America from a merit-based society to an entitlement society - in which "the battle is over the size of the check you get from Washington." LINK


ABC News' Elicia Dover: "Gingrich Blasts Romney: 'His People, Doing His Dirty Work" Newt Gingrich wouldn't back down today on the negative attacks plaguing his campaign in Iowa and slowing his momentum in the polls. Gingrich went after Mitt Romney's super PAC, even questioning Romney's involvement with the organization, saying Romney was being "misleading" about having no ability to stop his super PAC from sending out negative ads against Gingrich. Today on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Romney said he could "land in the big house," if he communicated with the super PAC supporting him. LINK

The Wall Street Journals' Jonathan Weisman: "Gingrich Asks Romney to Get Ads Off the Air "The Super PAC backing presidential candidate Mitt Romney, which has blistered Newt Gingrich in this state, became the center of controversy on Tuesday, when Mr. Gingrich demanded its attack ads be pulled and said Mr. Romney was being "purely dishonest" in his refusal to intervene. Mr. Romney insisted the television ads were out of his control, and that coordinating with the group backing him would violate campaign-finance laws. LINK

Politico's James Hohmann: "Newt Gingrich races for Iowa organization" Newt Gingrich threw himself into retail campaigning Tuesday, but he's still not a traditional candidate. While Rick Perry speaks with a wireless microphone at his stops, Gingrich takes refuge behind a podium. While Mitt Romney dons jeans and Michele Bachmann puts on fleeces, Gingrich barnstormed through the state in a tailored suit with a red power tie and freshly-polished dress shoes Tuesday. LINK

Bloomberg's John McCormick and Lisa Lerer "Gingrich Counterattacks in Iowa Decrying 'Negative Junk' Ads " Newt Gingrich urged his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination to refrain from attacks on him as he returned to Iowa amid signs his surge in the polls is waning.  "What the campaign should really be about is who has the best ideas, who has the best solutions," he told about 100 people yesterday in the garage of a security company in Davenport, Iowa. "It's very disappointing," he said, to see his fellow Republicans putting "out so much negative junk." LINK

NEWT GINGRICH / RICK SANTORUM: The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg: "For Gingrich in Power, Pragmatism, Not Purity" WASHINGTON - Newt Gingrich arrived in Washington in January 1979 as a brash congressman dreaming of a Republican revival. Not quite four years later, frustrated at the pace of change, he quietly sought counsel from a man he had once worked to defeat: Richard M. Nixon. LINK

The Washington Times' Ralph Hallow: "Gingrich, Santorum score key endorsements" Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has corralled one of the top names in the conservative evangelical movement, winning the endorsement of Donald E. Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association and American Family Radio, in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. LINK

RON PAUL: The Washington Post's Peter Wallsten: "Ron Paul becoming serious contender in republican presidential race" As the first votes in the Republican presidential race approach, Rep. Ron Paul has become a serious force with the potential to upend the nomination fight and remain a factor throughout next year's general-election campaign. LINK


"Newt Gingrich Drops in Polls, Tied with Mitt Romney" LINK


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