The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, May 25, 2012

By Amanda VanAllen

May 25, 2012 2:52am

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’ Amanda VanAllen and Carrie Halperin

OBAMA/ROMNEY
ABC News’ Devin Dwyer: “President Obama Accuses Mitt Romney of ‘Cow-Pie Distortion’ on Debt, Deficits” On his first visit back to the Iowa state fairgrounds since the 2008 campaign, President Obama tonight used a grassroots rally to launch sharp new attacks against rival Mitt Romney over the debt and deficit and vigorously defend his own handling of the same. The venue holds symbolic value for Democrats because it was here, in August that Romney made his now-famous declaration that “corporations are people, my friend.” LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson: “Poll: Obama leads with professionals, Romney with executives” Voters classified as professionals and service workers support President Obama, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney leads among executives and managers, reports a new Gallup Poll. Overall, among all workers, Romney leads 47%-45%, a statistical tie when the margin of error is factored in. LINK

Bloomberg’s Roger Runningen: “Obama Rallies Base In Iowa With Attack On Romney Record” President Barack Obama accused Mitt Romney of trying to return to policies that crippled the U.S. economy as he renewed an appeal from his 2008 campaign for the nation to “come together around a common purpose.” Addressing a cheering rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines last night, Obama delivered his sharpest attack to date against his presumed Republican opponent in the November election as both campaigns anticipate a tight race. Iowa is a swing state that both campaigns are targeting. LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA
The Hill’s Bernie Becker: “Obama’s campaign manager huddles with Senate Democrats” President Obama’s campaign manager huddled with Democratic senators on Thursday to brief them on the campaign’s grassroots strategy, according to lawmakers in attendance. Speaking to reporters afterward, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina,  a former top aide to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), said he walked the lawmakers through what the campaign was doing on the ground, and senators said the meeting did not spend much time on other hot-button issues — like the private equity experience of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Christi Parsons: “Obama rebuts GOP charges on U.S. influence”  President Obama pushed back against the idea of U.S. influence being in decline — and against Republican criticism of his stewardship — telling the Air Force Academy’s graduating class that around the world “there’s a new confidence in our leadership.” LINK

The New York Times’ Peter Baker: “Obama Takes Early Leap Into Campaign Fray” With the general election campaign now under way, one thing has become clear: There will be no Rose Garden strategy for President Obama.  If past incumbents have been reluctant to directly engage opponents this early in an election year for fear of looking like a candidate rather than a president, Mr. Obama has tossed aside convention. No simply leaving it to the vice president or the campaign staff, no waiting until summer, no dancing around with oblique phrases like “my opponent.” LINK

MAJORITY VOTE
The Washington Post’s Jon Cohen and Karen Tumulty: “Romney holds key advantages among financially struggling white voters” In an election year in which the economy ranks as Americans’ top concern, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney holds significant advantages over President Obama among white voters who are struggling financially and buffeted by job loss, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Asked which candidate would do more to advance their families’ economic interests, middle-class white voters who say they are struggling to maintain their financial positions chose Romney over Obama by a large margin — 58 percent to 32 percent. LINK

LATINO VOTE
The New York Daily News’ Brian Browdie: “Latino voters support President Obama for reelection over Mitt Romney: poll” President Obama holds a sizeable lead among a potentially pivotal group of voters with 61% of Latinos supporting him for reelection, a new poll found. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telereleased Wednesday shows 27% of Latino voters support his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler: “Romney Faces Latino Challenge” President Barack Obama maintains a large lead among Hispanic voters in the presidential race, while Republican Mitt Romney will have to work to improve his standing with the fast-growing group of Americans, according to a new poll. At the same time, the poll suggests that Mr. Obama faces a challenge in getting Hispanic voters to the polls. LINK

MITT ROMNEY
The Boston Globe’s Christopher Rowland: “Mitt Romney lags with N.H. independents” Republican Mitt Romney’s resounding primary victory in New Hampshire was tarnished by an underlying statistic: More than half of the independents voting in the GOP contest, according to exit polls, supported the second- and third-place finishers, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman.  Now evidence is emerging that a portion of those crucial swing voters remains up for grabs or has gone elsewhere since Paul and Huntsman dropped out of the presidential race, instead of getting in line behind the all-but-certain Republican nominee. LINK

Politico’s Maggie Haberman: “Romney ‘haunted a little’ by his gaffes, regrets ‘like to fire people’ line” Mitt Romney opened up a bit to Peggy Noonan, who asked him about the understanding many reporters and political watchers have that he is so cautious with what he says because of his dad’s “brainwashed” comment from his own Vietnam War-era presidential run. “I don’t think my father’s comment figures into my thinking at all,” he says. It’s his own mistakes “that make me want to kick myself in the seat of my pants,” that “cause me to try and be a little more careful in what I say. . . . I’ve had a couple of those during the campaign, which have haunted me a little bit, but I’m sure before this is over will haunt me a lot.” LINK

The Washington Times’ Seth McLaughlin: “Romney downplays value of small class size” Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s plans for reshaping K-12 education has injected an old debate into the presidential race: Do smaller classroom sizes produce better students? Speaking to teachers and educational leaders of a West Philadelphia charter school on Thursday, the former Massachusetts governor said that his experience has taught him that a good education is not necessarily tied to class size, but rather a school having the right mix of strong teachers, parental involvement and sound leadership in the administration ranks.  LINK

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