The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday, January 17, 2012

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

MITT ROMNEY ABC News' Gary Langer: " Riding Electability & Expectations, Romney Rolls to 35 Percent Support" Bolstered by the twin engines of electability and perceived inevitability, Mitt Romney's on a roll, advancing in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll to a 2-to-1 lead over his closest competitor in support for the Republican presidential nomination. Coming off his eight-vote victory in Iowa and strong showing in New Hampshire, a vast 72 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents now expect Romney to be their nominee - up by 32 points from mid-December. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Paul West and Seema Mehta: " Romney endures battering in South Carolina" In one of the most sustained batterings he has endured in the 2012 presidential primary debates, Mitt Romney was repeatedly put on the defensive over his business and government record and the attack ads by his supporters that are swamping South Carolina's airwaves. The former Massachusetts governor's rivals have been increasingly desperate to derail his front-running candidacy as Romney looks to put a virtual lock on the Republican nomination in Saturday's primary. LINK

USA Today's Jackie Kucinich: " Huntsman gives Romney small boost" Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman's decision to suspend his campaign and endorse Mitt Romney on Monday does little to change the landscape of the Republican race but adds to the momentum Romney has amassed going into Saturday's primary. Huntsman's supporters and Republican campaign consultants said Huntsman, who was elected Utah governor twice and served as a U.S. ambassador three times, never gained enough momentum to challenge Romney effectively. LINK

The Hills' Josh Lederman: " Rivals attack Romney in testy Republican presidential debate" Republicans took every opportunity to jab at Mitt Romney at a Monday debate - one of their last chances to undercut him before he seals his fate as the GOP nominee. The debate, sponsored by Fox News, was easily one of the liveliest and testiest encounters the candidates have engaged in thus far. LINK

The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg: " Romney Is Opponents' Main Target in G.O.P. Debate" Mitt Romney withstood forceful attacks during a debate here on Monday evening, with his Republican rivals lining up to question his job-creation record, wealth and character, as they implored voters to scrutinize his candidacy more deeply before allowing him to sail to the party's presidential nomination. LINK

The Boston Globe's Matt Viser and Tracy Jan: " Rivals rip Romney in S.C. debate" With just five days before a primary that could effectively decide the GOP presidential nomination, a narrowed field tried desperately to alter the trajectory of Mitt Romney.   LINK

The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Jon Cohen: " Most in poll think Romney will clinch GOP nomination" Mitt Romney holds a strong lead nationally in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with a 2 to 1 advantage over his closest competitors, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " In Debate, Romney urged to release tax forms" Mitt Romney's opponents in the Republican presidential primary pounced Monday night, demanding the former Massachusetts governor release his income tax forms, halt misleading attacks coming from his supporters, and explain his job-creating record as each man sought to establish himself as the chief alternative in the race. LINK

NEWT GINGRICH The New York Daily News' Thomas M. Defrank and Alison Gendar: " Newt Gingrich takes swipe at New York City public workers during Monday's GOP presidential debate" Newt Gingrich took a swipe at New York City public workers during Monday's debate as he tried to resuscitate one of his ideas - one that flopped earlier in the campaign. The former House Speaker charged that city unions are to blame for janitors making way too much money - and he did so to defend himself from a question after he recycled a so-called plan to put school children to work. LINK

OTHER The Wall Street Journal's Jennifer Levitz: " Candidates Vie for Congressman's Blessing" The messages have arrived at all hours lately as Rep. Tim Scott prepares to make his endorsement in the Republican presidential race. A fellow congressman sent him a text message at 4:37 a.m., urging support for Mitt Romney. Constituents also have waylaid Mr. Scott, seeking his guidance or offering their own.  LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS " Jon Huntsman Drops Out of GOP Presidential Race" LINK

BOOKMARKS The Note:  LINK The Must-Reads Online:  LINK Top Line Webcast (12noon EST M-F):  LINK ABC News Politics:  LINK The Political Punch (Jake Tapper):  LINK George's Bottom Line (George Stephanopoulos):  LINK Follow ABC News on Twitter:  LINK ABC News Mobile:  LINK ABC News app on your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad:  LINK


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