The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, December 8, 2011

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 Digital News Associates Jayce Henderson, Jacqueline Fernandez and Amanda VanAllen

G.O.P.: The Washington Post's Dan Balz, Amy Gardner and Philip Rucker: " Gingrich, Romney prepare for January collision" Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, who have spent much of this year ignoring one another, are now on a collision course in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, facing a series of state-by-state battles in January that will possibly decide the race by testing which one can best surmount his own weaknesses. LINK

RON PAUL: ABC News' Jason M. Volack: " The Forgotten Candidate: Ron Paul Gathers Momentum, Has Sights Set on Newt Gingrich" While portions of the national press corps have declared the GOP primary a two-man race between Newt Gingrich  and Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, the tenacious Texas Congressman on his third run for the White House, is quietly picking up speed. The libertarian leaning Texas Congressman is buoyed by strong poll numbers. In the latest ABC News/ Washington Post poll, Paul is polling in the top three in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Similar polls by NBC, CBS, and the Des Moines Register show the same. LINK

NEWT GINGRICH: The Wall Street Journal's: " Gingrich Sends Hawkish Signal" Newt Gingrich told a gathering of Jewish Republicans Wednesday that he would name former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton to be his secretary of state if elected president, and would immediately move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. LINK

The Hills' Jonathan Easley: " Poll: Gingrich holds double-digit leads in 3 of first 4 voting states" Newt Gingrich holds double-digit leads over the rest of the Republican presidential field in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida - three of the first four states that will vote in primaries or caucuses this January, according to a CNN-TIME-ORC poll released on Wednesday. In Iowa, Gingrich leads Mitt Romney 33 percent to 20 percent, in South Carolina he leads Romney 43 percent to 20 percent, and Gingrich performs best in Florida, where he leads Romney 48 percent to 25 percent. LINK

RICK PERRY: USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman: " Perry's Christian campaign ad 'a new low': Pastor" Evidently, Gov. Rick Perry thinks his August prayer rally, where the podium was packed with pastors from the far right evangelical extreme, didn't stamp "CHRISTIAN" on the GOP candidate's forehead in bold enough letters. Now, as Catalina Camia blogs at On Politics, sinking-in-the-polls Perry has a new video out questioning President Obama's religiosity. LINK

MITT ROMNEY: The Wall Street Journal's Elizabeth Williamson and Patrick O'Connor: " Romney Camp Turns Battle Personal" The battle between Republican presidential primary front-runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich is moving to the domestic front.  Mr. Gingrich wasn't mentioned in a new Romney campaign video this week or in Ann Romney's recent appearances on behalf of her husband. But the campaign makes clear it's trying to draw a contrast between the Romneys' 42-year union and Mr. Gingrich's three marriages.   LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Alana Semuels: " Romney, an active man of faith" In a closely-knit Mormon congregation, Ronnie Catalano was a problem Mitt Romney wanted to solve. As bishop - a position akin to priest or pastor - Romney presided over a fast-growing flock that included Catalano's wife, Sandy, a new convert. LINK

SARAH PALIN: The New York Daily News' David Boroff: " Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump's GOP debate, says Mitt Romney should participate"  Sarah Palin is not running for President, but she has some pointed advice for those who are seeking the GOP nomination: Don't fear The Donald. Palin says Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates should jump at the chance to participate in Trump's Dec. 27 debate. LINK

TEA PARTY: The Washington Times' Seth McLaughlin: " Tea Party Caucus members don't back Bachmann" Rep. Michele Bachmann founded and leads the House Tea Party Caucus, but the Minnesota Republican's presidential bid has won only one endorsement from its five dozen members - putting her well shy of Mitt Romney, who leads the presidential field with eight supporters from the caucus. LINK

OTHER / 2012 RACE: The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg: " Democrats See a Two-Horse G.O.P. Race, Adding a Whip" The White House and its allies are starting to turn their sights to Newt Gingrich, invoking his tumultuous history as House speaker to brand him as the "godfather of gridlock," a testament to his new viability and the sudden realization that he could be President Obama's Republican opponent. LINK

The Boston Globe's Matt Viser: " Chris Christie: Iowans should vote for candidate who would not 'embarrass America'" One of Mitt Romney's highest-profile supporters - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie - tonight portrayed the former Massachusetts governor as a committed family man who won't embarrass the Republican Party or America.  Without directly mentioning Newt Gingrich, who is Romney's chief rival and has been married three times, Christie said voters should make sure they evaluate the candidates' personal backgrounds when going into the voting booth. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS: " GOP Hopeful Ron Paul Sounds Off" LINK " GOP 2012: New Romney Ad Emphasizes Family" LINK

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