The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates Jacqueline Fernandez, Jayce Henderson and Desk Assistant Amanda VanAllen

REPUBLICAN DEBATE: ABC News’ Michael Falcone and Shushannah Walshe: “ Tensions Run High Between Mitt Romney And Rick Perry At Las Vegas Debate” At the feistiest debate of the presidential campaign, Herman Cain came under fire, Rick Perry came prepared and Mitt Romney came to defend his status as the candidate to beat in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination. In the midst of a particularly volatile period in the primary cycle, the candidates threw some of their sharpest elbows yet. They got angry and at one point, they even got physical. LINK

Politico’s Maggie Haberman: “ The GOP debate: 8 takeaways Talk about a fall classic. Tuesday night’s fireworks-filled debate was the final in a series of five high-stakes debates held over a six week period, with a hiatus until the next one in November. The strong impressions left from the CNN/Western Republican Leadership Conference event should last until then. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King Jr. and Janet Hook: “ Gloves Come Off During Heated GOP Debate” Mitt Romney’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination laid into him during a heated debate Tuesday night, accusing him of a lack of commitment to conservative values and attacking the health-care overhaul he shepherded into law as Massachusetts governor. Mr. Romney had largely skated through the year’s first seven debates as the other GOP contenders tussled among themselves or ganged up on the front-runner of the moment. His steady performances have kept him in the top ranks of the Republican field. LINK

The Hills’ Josh Lederman: “ Candidates go for the jugular in testy Republican debate” The GOP presidential candidates took off the gloves and went straight for the jugular Tuesday in a no-holds-barred debate that signaled a Republican field frantic to differentiate themselves before it’s too late. Coming at the end of an exhausting series of five debates in six weeks, Tuesday’s CNN/Western Republican Leadership Conference debate revealed the hopefuls unhinged and quicker to make sharp, personal attacks than at any other point in the campaign season thus far. LINK

USA Today’s: William M. Welch and Jackie Kucinich “ Republican rivals get rough in Las Vegas debate” Mitt Romney and Hermain Cain , the two candidates leading the polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, spent almost two spirited hours Tuesday night fending off a series of attacks from their rivals. Cain, the pizza magnate who leaped to the front of the Republican presidential field with plain talk, found his “9-9-9? tax plan attacked right out of the gate. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Alison Gendar: “ GOP debate: Rick Perry accuses Mitt Romney of being a hypocrite on immigration” Herman Cain’s 15 minutes were up Tuesday night as heavy hitters Mitt Romney and Rick Perry debunked him and went after each other in the nastiest exchange yet of the GOP debates. Perry let loose and accused front-runner Romney of being a hypocrite on immigration because the former Massachusetts governor hired illegal workers at his own home. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Mark Barabak: “ Republicans take off gloves in Vegas debate” The Republican presidential candidates clashed bitterly and personally over healthcare and immigration in a snarling Tuesday night debate that featured some of the most barbed and heated exchanges of the months-long campaign. The event, staged in a hotel casino on the Las Vegas Strip, broke little new substantive ground as the candidates — facing one another for the sixth time in as many weeks — restated mostly familiar positions. LINK

The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny: “ A Fierce Clash for Romney and Perry as Republican Candidates Debate” Mitt Romney came under intensive attack from his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination at a debate here Tuesday night, with a newly assertive Rick Perry leading a sometimes personal barrage against him on conservative consistency, health care policy and even the immigration status of yard workers at his home. LINK

The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty and Amy Gardner: “ Republican presidential debate puts Herman Cain to Test” The near-weekly ritual of Republican presidential debates took a raucous turn Tuesday night as the unsettled field of candidates ganged up on one another in a series of attacks more intense and personal than any in their previous appearances together. LINK

The Washington Times’ Seth McLaughlin: “ GOP front-runners hit hard in debate” Republican presidential candidates sharpened their attacks on the front-runners as they took the stage Tuesday for the latest GOP debate, taking turns slamming Herman Cain’s “9-9-9? tax-reform plan and calling former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s health care reform the model for the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. LINK

OTHER: Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman: “ Obama Finds Re-Election a Tougher Sell With Economy Dragging” Lisa Hensley was thrilled when President Barack Obama unexpectedly showed up during the lunch hour at the Countryside Barbeque in Marion, North Carolina, a town of about 8,000 along the Blue Ridge Mountains. A registered Democrat, the 50-year-old accountant echoed the president’s message on his three-day bus trip through North Carolina and Virginia: “We need to be for America, not just for Democrats or Republicans,” Hensley said. LINK


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