The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, March 1, 2012

By Jayce Henderson

Mar 1, 2012 3:35am

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 Alicia Tejada

MITT ROMNEY:
The Los Angeles Times’ Paul West: “Mitt Romney has yet to close the deal” Reporting from Atlanta— As the Republican contenders turn in earnest to the Super Tuesday states, Mitt Romney’s next challenge is to convert a slender Michigan win into something bigger: an unshakable lead in the presidential contest. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Aliyah Shahid: “White knight candidate rescuing GOP presidential race from Romney, Santorum possible: experts“ Mitt Romney’s squeaker of a victory in his home state of Michigan has done nothing to quiet his doubters.  LINK

Wall Street Journal’s Janet Hook and Patrick O’Connor: “Relieved Republicans Seek to Keep Focus on Economy” Mitt Romney’s twin victories in Michigan and Arizona Tuesday sent a wave of relief through the ranks of his supporters and anxious members of the party establishment, but still left him facing a multistate battleground to the Republican presidential nomination that includes some difficult territory.  LINK

Politico’s Maggie Haberman: “Romney says super PACs will drag out the process” Mitt Romney, who’s been able to effectively deal with his rivals thanks in part to negative attacks launched by the super PAC supporting him, commented to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on the role that the outside groups are playing in the primary – and the likelihood that they will help drag out the race. LINK

RICK SANTORUM:
ABC News’ Arlette Saenz: “Rick Santorum Meets Mixed Crowd, Gets Booed on Nashville College Campus” Rick Santorum faced a mixed crowd Wednesday evening as many of his go-to talking points, which typically garner applause and cheers, were met with resistance on the campus of Belmont University.   LINK

The Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson and Sandhya Somashekhar: “Rick Santorum faced with strategy shift that will test his shoestring campaign” Rick Santorum does not plan to abandon the fiery Christian rhetoric or the shoestring campaign that got him to where he is today. But as a slate of high-stakes Republican presidential primaries approaches, he is being forced to shift his strategy to beat back perceptions that he is obsessed with controversial social issues and harbors outdated ideas about women. LINK

The New York Times’ Richard Oppel Jr.: “Ohio Offers Chance for a Santorum Rebound” With Mitt Romney pulling out a pair of victories on Tuesday night, the pressure is on Rick Santorum to prove he remains a viable challenger by scoring at least a handful of major wins five days from now on Super Tuesday. And his main target is Ohio, where Christian conservatives and working-class voters provide a tempting demographic mix for his comeback effort. LINK

The Hill’s Niall Stanage: “Santorum let his moment come, then go” Rick Santorum put a lot of chips on Michigan, and he lost. Now the question is whether his chance to prove he is a viable alternative to Mitt Romney has slipped away for good. Santorum’s team contends that the close Michigan result — in the end, he lost by just 3 percentage points in Romney’s home state — amounts to a moral victory. LINK

GOP RACE / SUPER PAC:
The Washington Times’ Ralph Hallow: “Forecast still cloudy on eventual GOP pick” Despite Mitt Romney’s twin wins in Arizona and Michigan this week, the long slog to clarity in the GOP nomination contest looks set to last well beyond next week’s Super Tuesday primaries and could extend well into the spring. LINK

USA Today’s Fredreka Schouten: “Super PACs, candidates blur lines ahead of Nov. 6“  Presidential candidates and the super PACs accepting unlimited donations to help their campaigns cannot coordinate their activity, yet they are sharing consultants, donors and even advertising footage, raising new questions about the independence of outside groups.  LINK

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