The Note’s Must-Reads for Monday, January 9, 2012

By Jayce Henderson

Jan 9, 2012 3:51am

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 Associates Jayce Henderson, Jacqueline Fernandez and Amanda VanAllen

MITT ROMNEY:
ABC News’ Emily Friedman: “Romney, Christie Clash With Occupy Protesters” At a rally meant to be all about boosting support for Mitt Romney, protesters instead took center stage, evoking colorful responses from both Romney and his outspoken surrogate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who at one time referred to one of the protestors as “sweetheart.” LINK

The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny: “Romney Is Focus as Battle in G.O.P. Takes Sharp Edge” The Republican race for president splintered along two distinct tracks on Sunday, with all of the candidates who are not named Mitt Romney intensifying their attempts to derail the one who is. And all the while they kept their sights trained on one another as they try to emerge as his chief rival. LINK

The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty and Amy Gardner: “Mitt Romney under attack in final N.H. debate” Mitt Romney’s opponents, seizing upon what could be one of their last opportunities to blunt his accelerating ­momentum toward the GOP presidential nomination, trained their fire on the front-runner Sunday. LINK

The Washington Times’ Ralph Hallow: “Evangelicals weighing Romney options” Prominent evangelical leaders agreed in a conference call last weekend that finding a mutually acceptable candidate to stop Mitt Romney is not likely to happen at a private meeting scheduled for this coming weekend, The Washington Times has learned. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Mark Maremont: “Romney at Bain: Big Gains, Some Busts” Mitt Romney’s political foes are stepping up attacks based on his time running investment firm Bain Capital, tagging him with making a fortune from the rougher side of American capitalism—even as Mr. Romney says his Bain tenure shows he knows how to build businesses. LINK

The Hill’s Josh Lederman: “Facing attacks from left and right, Romney rallies with Gov. Christie” He came to New Hampshire to help Mitt Romney conclude his argument that he offers the most hope to a beleaguered nation, but for Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), the emotion of the day was anger. Playing bad cop to Romney’s happy warrior as Romney fended off escalating attacks from his Republican rivals, Christie said the real target was President Obama who he called the most pessimistic man to ever occupy the Oval Office. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Paul West: “As Mitt Romney surges, Republican divisions sharpen” Reporting from Concord, N.H.— A fusillade of attacks on front-runner Mitt Romney presages what is likely to be at least a month of internal warfare among Republicans as the presidential candidates head for the South, the heart of the GOP’s restive base. LINK

NEWT GINGRICH:
ABC News’ Elicia Dover: “Gingrich Super PAC Film Trailer About Romney Released” A super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich, Winning Our Future, today released the trailer to its 27-minute movie, “When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” described on the PAC’s web site as “one raider and his firm” and how they “destroyed” the American dream for “thousands of Americans and their families — Mitt Romney and Bain Capital.” LINK

RICK SANTORUM:
ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe: “Rick Santorum Plants a Flag in South Carolina, Thinks He Can Win the First in the South Primary” Rick Santorum returned to South Carolina today, even though it was just two days until New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary, to send a signal to the state that he’s competing in the Granite State, but it’s here that he thinks he can win. LINK

NEW HAMPSHIRE:
Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei: “New Hampshire primary: The land of make-believe” The trappings are here: debates … diner stops … satellite trucks. But the contest isn’t: Mitt Romney is holding onto his apparently huge lead over rivals in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, and is looking so strong going into South Carolina’s primary two weeks from now that his advisers privately talk up hopes for a 3-0 sweep of the opening contests – and a quick kill to win. LINK

USA Today’s Martha T. Moore and David Jackson: “Big GOP battle brews in N.H. for 2nd place” While the toughest attacks of back-to-back debates this weekend were aimed at former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who enjoys a wide lead in polls here, the fiercest battle in Tuesday’s primary may be for second place. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:
Granite State ShowdownLINK
David Axelrod Questions Romney’s ‘Bain Mentality’LINK
Roundtable: Debate Report CardLINK

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