The Note's Must-Reads for Friday, March 9, 2012

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 and Amanda VanAllen

PRESIDENT OBAMA: ABC News' Devin Dwyer: " Obamas Dine in DC with Campaign Sweepstakes Winners" President and Mrs. Obama tonight took three lucky small-dollar campaign donors out to dinner in Washington, D.C., the prize in a campaign sweepstakes that offered "Dinner with Barack" for a gift of $5 or more. The winners - ReGina Newkirk, a nonprofit executive from Nashville, Tenn.; Cathleen Loringer, a former social worker from Wauwatosa, Wisc.; and Judy Glassman, a retired school administrator from Cambridge, Mass. - were each flown in with a guest of their choice to share in a meal and conversation with the president. LINK

MITT ROMNEY: The New York Daily News' Jonathan Lemire: " With GOP hopefuls campaigning in Dixie, Romney knows it's no home-field advantage" The Republican White House hopefuls dashed across the Deep South Thursday in advance of next week's primaries - with the GOP front-runner admitting that Dixie was unfriendly terrain. Mitt Romney holds a commanding delegate lead in the race for the Republican nomination, but he's struggled badly in the party's spiritual home, the South. LINK

RICK SANTORUM: ABC News' Matt Negrin: " What Could Santorum Demand from Romney?" Mitt Romney might seem like the eventual nominee, but Rick Santorum could have some leverage by the time the party's convention rolls around in August.  How does "running mate" sound? LINK

USA Today's Catalina Camia: " Santorum argues for two-man race with Romney" Rick Santorum is making the argument for a two-man race with GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, but he's not calling on Newt Gingrich to drop out. In an interview Wednesday night on Fox News, Santorum said Gingrich should "stay in if he wants to stay in." He called on Mississippi voters to help him narrow the Republican field, during a rally earlier that evening. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Michael Finnegan: " Santorum renews attack on JFK's speech on church and state" Rick Santorum renewed his criticism of John F. Kennedy on Thursday night for saying during his 1960 campaign for the presidency that he believed "in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." LINK

RON PAUL: The Washington Times' Stephan Dinan: " Now is the time for Paul to Pick up delegates" Rep. Ron Paul's presidential campaign always has banked on playing the caucus game to try to maximize his support where it counts - the delegates who will attend the national convention this summer in Tampa, Fla. LINK

NEWT GINGRICH: The New York Times' Trip Gabriel: " Amid Calls to Quit, Gingrich Seems More Subdued" Introducing Newt Gingrich on Thursday morning, a local official said: "I can tell you right now, he's tired. He needs your prayers." Did he know that the Gingriches were up until 2 a.m. the night before dancing to an oldies band in their hotel bar? LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Danny Yadron: " For Gingrich, It's Win Now or Head Home" Newt Gingrich has to win Tuesday's primaries in Mississippi and Alabama to remain credible as a presidential candidate, a number of conservative Republicans and his own campaign say. Mr. Gingrich has won two of the 23 nominating contests so far: in his political home state of Georgia and neighboring South Carolina. LINK

Politico's Maggie Haberman: " Newt hammers Santorum with Romney's attacks" So much for conservatives uniting ahead of Alabama and Mississippi. Newt Gingrich's team just came out with what I believe is its first sharp hit against Rick Santorum of the campaign, a video montage of the former Pennsylvania senator talking earmarks, endorsing Mitt Romney in the 2008 presidential race and taking "one for the team," as he memorably put it in the final GOP debate in Arizona last month. LINK

SOUTH PRIMARIES: The Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson: " Deep South primaries offer little hope for Romney, opportunity for Santorum" For Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, the Deep South primaries in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday will be a race for conservative primacy in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. Unless one of them decisively puts the other away, however, Mitt Romney could be the big winner no matter where he finishes. LINK

SUPER PAC: The Boston Globe's Brian C. Mooney: " PACs fill cash gap for GOP candidates" The long and increasingly brutal grind for the Republican presidential nomination is taking a toll on campaigns' treasuries, with allied super PACs continuing to bear most of the costs of advertising. Mitt Romney has outraised Rick Santorum by nearly 5 to 1 since last year, but has only a modest lead in cash on hand going forward. LINK

Bloomberg's Gigi Douban and Jonathan Salant: " Romney Prepares for Long Quest as Republican Race Turns to Unfriendly Turf" Rick Santorum said that on "key fronts of liberty" Mitt Romney would be an inadequate Republican presidential nominee as the two prime contenders in the party's race battled for support in the Deep South.  At a rally today in Pelham, Alabama, Santorum focused most of his attacks on President Barack Obama. LINK

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