The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, February 9, 2012

By Jacqueline Fernandez

Feb 9, 2012 4:24am

Compiled by ABC News’ Jacqueline Fernandez, Jayce Henderson, Amanda Van Allen, and Carrie Halperin

PRESIDENT OBAMA
ABC News’ Devin Dwyer: “Obama Trumps Romney With Small Donors” In the scramble for campaign cash, President Obama has proved once again that he’s king,  at least among  American small-dollar donors. Nearly half  —  48 percent — of Obama’s $118 million haul in 2011 came from individuals giving $200 or less, according to a new analysis by the Campaign Finance Institute, a nonpartisan group. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Alison Gendar: “Obama tells donors he’s going after Romney, not Wall Street” That assurance was conveyed by Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina in a private meeting with nervous Democratic donors from the financial services industry. LINK

RICK SANTORUM
ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe: “Rick Santorum Draws Crowds, Raises Nearly $1 Million After Tuesday Trifecta” Standing in front of a massive crowd at a rally in Plano, Texas, Rick Santorum unleashed criticism of Barack Obama and threw out some campaign red meat to supporters hungry for it, telling them the president has an “overt hostility to faith.” “(He’s) trying to weaken them, churches, trying to say that anybody who believes in the values of the Judeo Christian policies,” Santorum said to about 2,000 people in a converted barn, one of his largest audiences of the campaign. LINK

The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg and Nicholas Confessore: “A Wealthy Backer Likes the Odds on Santorum” Mitt Romney and Foster Friess, a wealthy donor to conservative causes, were walking out of an event together a few months ago when Mr. Friess broke the news: After backing Mr. Romney for president four years ago, he was getting behind Rick Santorum this time around. LINK

The Boston Globe’s Michael Levenson: “Santorum surge is telling for Romney” By carrying Rick Santorum to victory in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota on Tuesday night, voters were also sending a message to Mitt Romney: not so fast. While Romney has sought to unite the party behind him and begin focusing on a potential general election matchup with President Obama, the results exposed how a sizable swath of the Republican base remains dissatisfied with his strait-laced, business-minded appeal. LINK

MITT ROMNEY
The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Nicholas and Joseph B. White: “Suddenly, Romney Country Seems Like No Sure Thing” Four years ago, Mitt Romney topped the field in Michigan and placed second in Arizona, which might suggest he is the one to beat Feb. 28, when both states hold their presidential primaries. But coming off Mr. Romney’s performance in a trio of Republican nominating contests Tuesday—where he was bested by Rick Santorum in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota—that prospect suddenly seems in doubt. LINK

Politico’s Maggie Haberman: “Mitt Romney 2012: Cartoon millionaire” Meet Mitt Romney, the parody. He’s really rich, worth between $150 million and “$200-odd million,” as he memorably put it. He thinks “corporations are people,” but doesn’t much worry about real people if they’re “very poor.” LINK

NEWT GINGRICH
USA Today’s Eugene Kiely: “Fact check: Gingrich’s inflated gasoline claim” Newt Gingrich exaggerates when he says the Environmental Protection Agency has a proposal “that would raise the price of gasoline by 25 cents a gallon.” Gingrich’s cost estimate comes from an oil industry study of “clean gasoline” recommendations made by U.S. automakers. LINK

REPUBLICAN PARTY
The Los Angeles Times’ Mark Z. Barabak: “GOP presidential field still lacks a party unifier” The road to the Republican presidential nomination just got longer, steeper and less predictable.  Mitt Romney is still the prohibitive front-runner as the race heads now to Arizona and Michigan. He alone has the financial and organizational wherewithal to stay in the race and fight in every contest through the last big day of balloting, on June 5.  LINK

The Washington Times’ Seth McLaughlin: “Hot-button social issues burst back onto radar in GOP race”  It’s no longer just the economy, stupid.  Supplanted in recent election cycles by economic concerns, social issues such as gay marriage, abortion and religious freedom have elbowed their way back into the political debate in the 2012 presidential race. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS
Rick Santorum Encircled in PrayerLINK

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