The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, June 14, 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 and Amanda VanAllen

PRESIDENT OBAMA ABC News' Olivier Knox: " Obama to defend economic record, hit Romney, in high-stakes Ohio speech" President Barack Obama travels Thursday to the critical electoral battleground of Ohio to deliver his first major economic speech of the general election. He will offer a ringing defense of his handling of the economic recovery, tell voters he feels their pain, and warn them against picking Mitt Romney in November. LINK

Politico's Charles Mahtesian: " Obama's play for the rural vote" The non-partisan Daily Yonder, which is devoted to rural issues, takes a skeptical look at a new Obama administration report that highlights its policies and accomplishments in rural America. The report, which was rolled out Monday, was accompanied by presidential interviews with 8 small market television stations - 6 in swing states and another that bleeds into a swing state. LINK

The Hills' Justin Sink: " RNC hits Obama ahead of jobs speech, says he lost focus on 'day one'" The Republican National Committee released a new Web video Wednesday hitting President Obama for a planned address on the economy Thursday in Cleveland. The speech is expected to draw sharp contrasts between the president's economic proposals and those of his rival, Mitt Romney, according to reports. And while the president isn't expected to detail new policy proposals, Obama is expected to take a sharper tone in outlining his vision for the country's economic path forward. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Mitchell Landsberg: " Catholic bishops say fight with Obama is over freedom of religion" Stung by criticism that they are engaging in partisan attacks in a presidential campaign, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops insisted Wednesday that their fight with President Obama has nothing to do with party politics or contraception, and everything to do with what they see as a fundamental assault on religious liberty. The bishops did not shrink from attacking the administration in a dispute that has become their signature issue, one involving what Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton called "the most serious intrusion of government that we have ever experienced." LINK

The Washington Times' Dave Boyer: " Obama aims to shore up Jewish support" President Obama awarded the nation's highest civilian medal Wednesday night to Israeli President Shimon Peres as frustration mounts in Israel over the administration's handling of Iran and as signs emerge of a possible backlash among Jewish voters in the U.S. From appearances, the Medal of Freedom ceremony in the East Room of the White House, with toasts followed by a reception in honor of Mr. Peres, exemplified what Mr. Obama calls his "unshakable" commitment to Israel. LINK

VICE PRESIDENT USA Today's Jackie Kucinich: " S.D. senator downplays talk of being 'dark horse' for VP" Sen. John Thune doesn't buy the recent buzz that he may be Mitt Romney's "dark horse" vice presidential pick. " 'Dark horse' usually means you are way back in the pack somewhere. I'm not sure that's a good thing," he said during an interview Wednesday in his Capitol Hill office. "Very few dark horses actually win the race." LINK

MITT ROMNEY The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore: " Campaign Aid Is Now Surging Into 8 Figures" Even in a political season marked by unprecedented levels of political spending, Sheldon Adelson stands alone. In recent days, Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino owner, and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, gave $10 million to Restore Our Future, a "super PAC" backing Mitt Romney, people with knowledge of the contribution said Wednesday. The move leaves the Adelsons by far the most prolific campaign donors in the country. LINK

The Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb and Philip Rucker: " Romney double down on economic message as slowdown weakens Obama" The spring slowdown in the economy has further exposed President Obama's greatest political vulnerability going into his reelection campaign and forced him into a more urgent and aggressive debate with Mitt Romney on the central issue of the presidential election. LINK

Bloomberg's Julie Hirschfeld: " Romney Tells Executives Eloquent Words From Obama 'Are Cheap'" Mitt Romney dismissed an economic policy speech President Barack Obama planned for today, urging business executives to ignore "soaring and eloquent" rhetoric and focus on joblessness during Obama's term. LINK

Boston Globe's Callum Borchers: " Adelson reportedly gives $10m to pro-Romney super PAC" Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has consummated his new alliance with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney by donating $10 million to Restore Our Future, a super PAC backing Romney's candidacy. Most of Adelson's donations to date had been directed at a super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich, one of Romney's GOP primary opponents. But with the former House speaker out of the race, Adelson met with Romney late last month in Las Vegas and pledged to back him. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr.: " Romney Points to Fa ilures, GOP Governors Tout Jobs" A recent TV spot that ran for weeks in Virginia had all the makings of an ad touting President Barack Obama's re-election effort. "Virginia is growing strong again, and so is our future," gushed the narrator, adding that Virginians were now enjoying "the lowest unemployment rate in over three years." LINK

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