The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

By Jayce Henderson

Feb 29, 2012 4:19am

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’ Jayce Henderson, Jacqueline Fernandez and Amanda VanAllen

MITT ROMNEY:
ABC News’ Matt Negrin: “Mitt Romney Wins Primaries in Michigan and Arizona” Mitt Romney pulled off a win in the Michigan primary tonight, though the race was close and underscored his struggles as the GOP establishment candidate seeking the party’s nomination. The former Massachusetts governor also won, by a larger margin, a contest in Arizona, a state that he was expected to take in part because of its large Mormon population. LINK

ABC News’ Amy Walter: “Will Mitt-Mentum Help Romney Win Ohio Next Week?” Mitt Romney’s wins in Michigan and Arizona helped him pick up a big chunk of delegates, but more importantly, it has washed away talk of a Republican party desperate for a “white knight” to jump into the primary. Even so, one GOP bigwig finds Romney’s narrow Michigan win “unconvincing.” Romney, this GOP strategist told ABC News, won “by being totally negative. Where’s the hope and optimism? He’s becoming a human wrecking ball. A receding tide sinks all boats.” LINK

The New York Daily News’ Nina Mandell: “Mitt Romney personally recruited Kid Rock to campaign event” While many of his rivals were taking low-profile meetings with potential donors, Mitt Romney was busy kissing the ring of Kid Rock. The former Massachusetts governor drove out to the Detroit native’s home personally to woo him into doing a live performance at a Monday rally, according to ABC News. LINK

The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny: “Romney Claims Victory in Michigan and Arizona” Mitt Romney fought back a vigorous challenge from Rick Santorum in Michigan on Tuesday, narrowly carrying his native state, and won the Arizona primary in a pair of contests that reasserted his control over the Republican presidential race as it advances to critical Super Tuesday contests next week. LINK

SUPER TUESDAY:
The Washington Post’s Amy Gardner: “In Ohio, fierce primary fight may hurt GOP’s chances for fall” As the Republican presidential campaign turns to Super Tuesday this week, one contest looms more super than the rest: Ohio, a state with many of the same economic and electoral dynamics as Michigan but with much more at stake for Republicans. LINK

The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan: “GOP hopefuls look ahead to Super Tuesday” All of the Republican primaries and caucuses so far amount to mere appetizers ahead of next week’s main course, when GOP faithful go to the polls for Super Tuesday — the 10-state showdown that will signal how much longer long the nomination battle goes on. LINK

The Boston Globe’s Christopher Rowland: “Super Tuesday knockout punch appears unlikely” An analysis of what the Michigan and Arizona results mean for the next major milestone, Super Tuesday. LINK

RICK SANTORUM:
Bloomberg’s William Selway and Timothy R. Homan: “Santorum ‘Snob’ Attack Collides With Wage Gains” Republican candidate Rick Santorum’s attack on President Barack Obama’s promotion of a college education conflicts with the broad appeal and economic value that higher education holds for young Americans.  With the economy still struggling after emerging from a recession, more than two-thirds of U.S. adults view a college degree as essential for getting a good job, according to a Gallup Poll published in August. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Colleen McCain Nelson: “Santorum Looks for Silver Lining” After falling short in Michigan and Arizona primaries on Tuesday, Rick Santorum’s campaign is faced with the question: Does close count? The former Pennsylvania senator forced Mitt Romney to play defense on his home turf of Michigan, turning what was presumed to be an easy win into a down-to-the-wire slugfest. Mr. Santorum gained traction in both Michigan and Arizona, connecting with tea-party activists, evangelicals and blue-collar conservatives. LINK

NEWT GINGRICH:
The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Finnegan: “Newt Gingrich campaigns in South as a visionary” Like Thomas Edison before him, Newt Gingrich has a vision. It looks like this: As president, he stops persecution of Christians, offers no apologies to Islamic radicals, balances the federal budget, puts millions of jobless back to work and — not least — drives the price of gas down to $2.50 a gallon. LINK

USA Today’s Larry Copeland: “Gingrich kicks off focus on South in Georgia“As his rivals battled it out in Michigan and Arizona, former House speaker newt Gingrich spent the day Tuesday stumping for votes in Georgia ahead of a make-or-break performance here next week on Super Tuesday. During a spirited campaign stop, Gingrich hammered for apologizing to Afghanistan after U.S. soldiers accidentally burned copies of the Quran, and he promised that, if elected, he would lower the price of gas to $2.50 a gallon. LINK

OTHER:
Politico’s Manu Raju and Jake Sherman: “GOP squirms as national race drags on” Sen. Susan Collins fears that moderates will be put off by the nasty in-fighting in her party’s presidential primary. Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh is worried that the candidates’ focus on social issues and personal attacks could hurt his reelection bid. And the two Republican chairmen in charge of winning a House and Senate majority in the fall campaign just want the race to be over. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:
Rick Santorum Proud of His Impact in MichiganLINK
Mitt Romney Wins Michigan and Arizona PrimariesLINK

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