The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates Jacqueline Fernandez, AmandaVanAllen and Desk Assistant Erin McLaughlin 

GOP DEBATE ABC News’ Amy Walter: “ Winners and losers at GOP National Security Debate” Herman Cain: He didn’t have a 53-second brain freeze, but it was also clear that he was out of his element. His answers to questions on foreign policy were vague and showed a thin understanding of these issues. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Finnegan and Maeve Reston: “ Differences on foreign threats emerge in GOP debate” Republican presidential contenders jousted over Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East on Tuesday night in a tense national security debate that laid out sharply contrasting views on how to keep America safe from attack. Candidates raised the specter of terrorists striking U.S. cities with nuclear bombs as they sought to gain an edge, with Pakistan emerging once again as a key source of disagreement among the White House hopefuls.   LINK

The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser and Tracy Jan: “ GOP rivals clash over foreign policy in Washington” The Republican presidential candidates last night clashed – at times vigorously – over their visions for American security, whether Muslims should be targeted for extra screenings at airports, and how precipitously the US military should pull out from Afghanistan. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Thomas M. Defrank & Alison Gendar: “ Romney’s name gaffe, debt crisis and illegal immigration dominate GOP debate” Romney’s stumble kicked off a national security debate that focused early on anti-terrorism legislation. Befitting his new status as the front-runner, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got the first question about strengthening the Patriot Act, passed after the 9/11 attacks to give the government new anti-terror powers. In a largely tame two-hour encounter, the combatants politely tangled on policy towards Pakistan. LINK

Bloomberg’s Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Roxana Tiron: “ Gingrich Immigration Plan Derided as ‘Amnesty’ in Republican Party Debate” The Republican presidential candidates clashed over how to treat millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S., after Newt Gingrich called for a “humane” policy that would allow those in the country for 25 years and with established family and community ties to remain.  The candidates also sparred over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program, extending the USA Patriot Act, defense spending cuts, wars and terrorism during the two hour national security debate in Washington at DAR Constitution Hall, a short walk from the White House. LINK

The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny: “ Spirited Foreign Policy Debate Includes a Test of Gingrich’s Rise” The Republican presidential candidates highlighted their party’s lack of a single national security vision a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, differing on Tuesday night over the pace of withdrawal from Afghanistan, aid to Pakistan and, in an exchange that could resonate dangerously for Newt Gingrich, what to do with illegal immigrants in the United States. Wading into treacherous territory in Republican primary politics just as he is climbing in polls, Mr. Gingrich said during a nationally televised debate that he would support allowing some illegal immigrants — those who had been in the country for decades, had paid taxes and had raised families here — to remain in the country. LINK

The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan and Seth McLaughlin: “ Republican hopefuls diverge on immigration, Iran policies” Surging in Republican presidential primary polls, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used Tuesday night’s national security debate in Washington to argue for a potential strike on Iran, a broader Patriot Act and the granting of legal status to many illegals in the U.S. as a way to regain control of the immigration system. “I’m prepared to take the heat,” Mr. Gingrich said as he defended an immigration plan that would allow those here illegally but who have families or have put down roots get a limited legal status to remain and work in the U.S. LINK

The Washington Posts’ Rachel Weiner: “ Newt calls for ‘humane’ immigration policy” As he starts to lead in primary polls, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) appears to be looking ahead to the general election. In CNN’s national security debate, he called for a “humane” immigration policy. It was an echo of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s declaration in an earlier debate that if you don’t support helping undocumented immigrants afford college, “you don’t have a heart.” LINK

The Hill’s Cameron Joseph: “ GOP Debate: Gingrich divides himself from pack on immigration” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) helped himself with Republican Party insiders but may have done damage with anti-illegal immigration conservatives in a Tuesday debate focused on foreign policy. ­­The format allowed Gingrich to show off his policy chops and play to an audience filled with high-level Washington insiders, many of whom have known Gingrich for years. The former Speaker — until recently — worked for the American Enterprise Institute, one of the debate’s sponsors. But one point that may have played well with the Beltway Republicans could hurt him with the Tea Party base giving Gingrich a second look: his argument against deporting illegal immigrants who have been here for decades. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Patrick O’ Connor and Julian E. Barnes: “ Gingrich Calls for Regime Change in Iran” Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called for replacing the leadership of Iran and said that could be accomplished within a year, adopting a more aggressive posture toward the U.S. adversary than advocated by the rest of the Republican field or by President Barack Obama. Mr. Gingrich’s comments came at a televised candidates’ debate Tuesday night at a moment when multiple polls showed him leading in the race for his party’s nomination. LINK

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