The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, January 5, 2012

By Jacqueline Fernandez

Jan 5, 2012 4:38am

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates Jacqueline Fernandez, Jayce Henderson, and Amanda VanAllen

RICK SANTORUM
ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe: “Rick Santorum Goes After Obama, Romney at First New Hampshire Event” He may have lost Iowa to Mitt Romney by a stunning difference of only eight votes, but Rick Santorum was greeted by a packed house at his first event in the Granite State Wednesday evening. Santorum bounded up on the stage wearing jeans and his signature sweater vest in the “Live Free or Die State” and told the crowd that President Obama believes Americans are “incapable of freedom,” citing the president’s health care plan — what he and other Republicans have dubbed “Obamacare” — as the example. LINK

The Hills’ Josh Lederman: “Santorum looks for staying power” Rick Santorum’s near victory in Iowa has bought his campaign a second look. Now he must prove he’s not Mike Huckabee 2.0. Like the former Arkansas governor who emerged unexpectedly from the political backwoods to trounce the establishment candidates in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, Santorum has both serendipitous timing and the strength of the evangelical movement to thank for his dead-heat finish opposite Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s caucuses. LINK

MITT ROMNEY
The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny: “Romney Takes a Victory Lap as Santorum Plays Catch-Up” Mitt Romney flew here Wednesday, displaying his financial and organizational muscle in New Hampshire against the upstart candidacy of Rick Santorum, who was seeking to use his near-victory in the Iowa caucuses to become the standard-bearer of a conservative insurgency. LINK

The Washington Post’s Peter Wallsten and Philip Rucker: “Mitt Romney comes under attack after win in Iowa” Fresh off the slimmest of victories in the Iowa caucuses, Mitt Romney landed here Wednesday and immediately faced intense attacks from Republican presidential rivals who vowed to challenge him more aggressively. LINK

USA Today’s Jackie Kucinich: “McCain nod pads Romney’s comfortable lead in N.H.” Mitt Romney swept into New Hampshire on Wednesday relieved after his razor-thin win in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses and quickly grabbed the endorsement of the man whose win here four years ago was the beginning of the end of Romney’s bid for the 2008 Republican nomination. “New Hampshire,” said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, “is the state that will catapult him to victory in a very short amount of time.” LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Mark Z. Barabak and Seema Mehta: “Mitt Romney leads the way to the next GOP battlefield: New Hampshire” A shrunken field of GOP presidential hopefuls descended on New Hampshire on Wednesday, the next test in the party’s nominating fight, as Mitt Romney sought to bolster his status as front-runner and establishment favorite. A day after winning the Iowa caucuses by the slimmest margin in history — eight votes — Romney signaled that party ranks were closing and used a morning TV interview to contrast the breadth and strength of his campaign with the hand-to-mouth candidacy of Rick Santorum, Iowa’s runner-up. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King Jr. and Sara Murray: “Multifront Attack Awaits Romney in New Hampshire” Mitt Romney woke from his photo-finish win in Iowa facing two new forces that will shape the next stage of the fight for the Republican presidential nomination: the rise of a fresh social-conservative champion in Rick Santorum and the emergence of a highly motivated foe in Newt Gingrich. LINK

Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “GOP elites: Hard to stop Mitt Romney now” Mitt Romney’s Iowa showing indicated he still has glaring vulnerabilities with his party’s base — but conservatives got a stark reminder Wednesday about just how difficult it will be to block his path to the nomination. Romney’s conservative opposition remains split and unable to unify behind a single alternative — all the more so with Rick Perry deciding to stay in the race Wednesday after hinting he might step aside. LINK

 ABC NEWS VIDEOS
New Hampshire Republican Presidential DebateLINK
Sen. John McCain Endorses Mitt RomneyLINK

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