The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, March 12, 2012

Compiled by ABC News' Jackie Fernandez and Amanda VanAllen

PRESIDENT OBAMA USA Today's David Jackson: "Reid: Obama entitled to keep his campaign money" The Senate's top Democrat says he has no problem with the decision by President Obama's re-election team against giving money to congressional campaign committees. "They have to guard their money," Reid said told CNN's State of the Union. LINK

The Washington Times' Patrice Hill: "Obama's re-election fortunes ride on rising economy" President Obama's re-election prospects are getting a boost from the plunging unemployment rate and the pickup in the economy and financial markets this year, economic and political analysts say. The economic improvement since the middle of last year has been marked, with unemployment falling from more than 9 percent to 8.3 percent and economic growth rising from less than 1 percent to healthy annual rates closer to 3 percent. LINK

MITT ROMNEY ABC News' Rick Klein: "' World News' Political Insights: Mitt Romney's Math Beating Rivals' Momentum" Mitt Romney's path to the Republican presidential nomination is being powered by victories very large - think Ohio, Michigan, and Florida - and very, very small. If and when Romney locks down the GOP nod, this weekend's voting will mark a case in point as to how. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Patrick O'Connor and Janet Hook: " As Rivals Divide, Romney Gains" The split among conservatives over which Republican to back for president is bolstering the one candidate many of them don't want: Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor finds himself in striking distance of improbable wins in both Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday, thanks largely to the divided loyalties of conservatives in the Deep South. LINK

Politico's Maggie Haberman: " Americans Elect quietly changes fundraising rules" A deep-pocketed group hoping to field a third candidate in November has quietly shifted its fundraising focus earlier this month to serve a curious goal, a spokeswoman has acknowledged to BuzzFeed: All money raised by Americans Elect will, for the forseeable future, be given to the millionaires who created it. LINK

RICK SANTORUM ABC News' Shushannah Walshe: " Santorum Admits 'Lowlights,' Says If Campaign Is About Math 'We Are In Very, Very Tough Shape'" Two days before Mississippians vote, Rick Santorum admitted he has made a few mistakes on the campaign trail, saying he has had some "lowlights" on his quest to the nomination. "Now I've had my highlights and my lowlights during the campaign," Santorum said, telling the boisterous crowd he's only had five days off since announcing in June. LINK

SOUTHERN PRIMARIES The New York Times' Campbell Robertson: " Tight G.O.P. Primaries Suggest Less-Predictable South" They stood beneath a Saturn V rocket, baby-carrying mothers, cross-armed men, workers in coveralls and financial planners, listening as Rick Santorum told them who they were and why they mattered. "Red Alabama," he said to the crowd on Thursday at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center here in Huntsville. "Conservative Alabama. The heart of conservatism." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Michael Finnegan: " Gingrich and Santorum battle for GOP votes in Deep South" With the Alabama and Mississippi primaries two days away, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich tussled Sunday over which Republican presidential hopeful would adhere most faithfully to conservative orthodoxy on fiscal restraint, healthcare and oil drilling. They also took swipes at rival candidate Mitt Romney, whose heavy advertising has made Tuesday's contests in the Deep South fiercely competitive despite the cultural dissonance between the former Massachusetts governor and both states. LINK

The New York Daily News' Alison Gendar: " Gingrich, Santorum confident heading into GOP primaries in Alabama, Mississippi" Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both vow they are going to win big in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday. "I think we'll win both. We're campaigning very aggressively in both states," Gingrich said on "Fox News Sunday." LINK

OTHER The Hill's Jordy Yager: " Tea Party pressures GOP leaders to rev up Fast and Furious probe" Local Tea Party activists are pressing House Republican leaders to pursue their investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious gun-tracking effort more aggressively. The top three House Republicans have been slow to lead the charge of the GOP's criticism of the botched operation. LINK

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