The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, March 26, 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

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen, Carrie Halperin and Erin McLaughlin

RICK SANTORUM ABC News' Arlette Saenz: " Reporter Says Santorum Yelled Curse at Him on Ropeline" Rick Santorum reportedly grew heated and accused a New York Times reporter of distorting a statement he made in an earlier speech, even yelling "It's bulls-t" to him. Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times tweeted, "I ask Santorum if Romney is 'worst Republican' to run. LINK

The Washington Times' Seth McLaughlin: " Louisiana win steels resolve of Santorum to stay in race" Fresh off a big win in Saturday's Louisiana primary, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum on Sunday hammered front-runner Mitt Romney by painting him as "the worst candidate" the party could put up against President Obama. LINK

Boston Globe's Callum Borchers: " Santorum says La. win shows he's viable candidate" On the morning after his landslide win in Louisiana, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum contended the results show he is a strong contender for the GOP nomination and it is the Romney campaign that is "desperate." Santorum, who trails Romney 568-273 in the delegate count, argued that the score is, in fact, closer. LINK

Politico's Maggie Haberman: " Rick Santorum calls BS on the trail" Rick Santorum's line earlier in his speech in Wisconsin tonight - about Mitt Romney being the "worst" Republican in the country to put up against President Obama - is a version he's used in the past about his rival in the context of health care. He was a bit clumsier in this version - Romney is "the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama," he said - although the speech was on health care. LINK

MITT ROMNEY The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: " Is Mitt Romney underrated?" Is Mitt Romney underrated? That question hasn't been asked much during the former Massachusetts governor's run for the 2012 presidential nomination. In fact, the dominant story line when it comes to Romney is the exact opposite - that someone with his résumé who was widely seen as the runner-up in the 2008 Republican presidential race should have long ago wrapped up the GOP nod. LINK

NEWT GINGRICH The New York Times' Trip Gabriel: " Gingrich Is Soldiering On, Despite Dearth of Victories" Primary by primary, Newt Gingrich's reasons for remaining in the presidential race keep getting knocked down. Where once he saw a path to the nomination through the South, he has suffered a string of embarrassing losses there. LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA Bloomberg's Holly Rosenkrantz: " Republican Contest is 'a Clown Show,' Obama Adviser Says" The campaign for the Republican presidential nomination at times resembles "a circus show, a clown show," President Barack Obama's senior adviser said today.  David Plouffe was responding to criticism by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum of Obama's comments on the racially charged case of Trayvon Martin, the black teenager allegedly killed by a neighborhood-watch volunteer in Florida. Santorum accused Obama of "politicizing" the case; Gingrich said Obama is "dividing this country up."  LINK

The Hill's Vicki Needham: " Slower jobs growth for women voters could cost Obama in election" Women aren't faring as well as other groups in the job market's recovery and that could put a dent into their support for President Obama.  While female workers largely held their own through the recession, job gains have slowed since the downturn ended in June 2009, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data on the demographics of the labor market recovery.    LINK

OTHER The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Colleen McCain Nelson: " Candidates Woo Unbound Delegates" In a competition largely hidden from view, the Republican presidential candidates are intensifying efforts to win over a small but potentially powerful band of unbound delegates, who collectively hold more sway than most individual states. The 117 delegates, who will go to the party's convention in August in Tampa, Fla., due to their position as state party chairmen or members of the Republican National Committee, are free to support whomever they choose. Many said they have been getting more calls in recent weeks from campaigns eager to win their backing. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Paul West: " Counting GOP delegates is a mind-bending game" According to the latest delegate count, Mitt Romney is nearly halfway to the Republican presidential nomination.  Or not. Delegate trackers for the Republican National Committee credit the front-runner with 478 of the 1,144 delegates needed to win. That's almost 100 fewer than the widely followed Associated Press projection. LINK

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