The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Compiled by ABC News' Jackie Fernandez, Jayce Henderson, Amanda Van Allen and Carrie Halperin

PRESIDENT OBAMA The Boston Globe's Brian C. Mooney: " Obama donations fall short of '08" Campaign downplays import of Jan. Figures. President Obama did not raise as much money from supporters last month as he did during January 2008 in his first campaign for the White House, a Globe analysis shows. LINK

MITT ROMNEY The New York Times' Monica Davey: " Romney Facing Unexpected Hurdles in Michigan" This was supposed to be a state, at last, where Mitt Romney could coast. After all, he grew up here. His father, an automobile executive, had been the governor. And the last time there was a Republican presidential primary in Michigan, Mr. Romney won handily. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Brody Mullins: " Romney Has Big Share of 'Maxed Out' Givers" Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is drawing a disproportionately high amount of campaign funds from people who have given him the legal maximum, weakening his ability to raise money from such proven donors as the GOP nomination fight drags on. Far more than his three rivals, Mr. Romney has tapped these large donors to build his campaign fund. LINK

RICK SANTORUM ABC News' Shushannah Walshe: " Rick Santorum on Satan Speech: 'I Will Defend Everything I Say'" Rick Santorum made a veiled mention this evening of a controversy that bubbled up after audio of a speech the candidate gave in 2008 in which he said Satan was attacking U.S. institutions in government and religion made its way around the Internet. "I think the reason we are doing so well is because we are available to the American public, no teleprompters, no speeches … sometimes, I've been told that when you don't read off a teleprompter, they may find a thing or two and say, 'Oh, he said this and he might mean this,'" Santorum said at a rally here. LINK

The Hill's Jonathan Easley:  " Santorum risks GOP nomination with religious rhetoric" Rick Santorum's language on religion and values is coming under deeper scrutiny and raising questions about whether he should be the GOP standard-bearer in the fall.  Santorum has always been bold about discussing his faith, but his comments took center stage after he criticized President Obama's "phony theology" on the environment.   LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Mitchell Landsberg: " The Santorum question: Is he too extreme for the middle?" Rick Santorum is winning the hearts of conservative voters with uncompromising social views that, he says, are drawn from the same well as his fiscal and environmental policies: a reading of America's founding documents that stresses their Judeo-Christian underpinnings.  In friendly settings around the country, in hotel ballrooms and public school auditoriums, Santorum has framed the 2012 election as one for the very salvation of the country and its culture. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " Hopefuls mix words, deeds on E-Verify" Rick Santorum has called for every business in the country to use E-Verify, the government's database for screening out illegal immigrant workers, but his own presidential campaign has not signed up to use the program. That is not a national problem because the system is still voluntary on the federal level. But it could be a problem if Mr. Santorum hired any staff in Arizona, which holds its primary next week and which has made use of E-Verify mandatory for anyone doing business there. LINK

Politico's Jonathan Martin: " For Rick Santorum, all politics were local" In Washington and on the presidential campaign trail, Rick Santorum is known as an unflinching culture warrior with a penchant for speaking out on issues such as contraception, gay marriage and theology. Pennsylvania political insiders, however, associate the former senator with another set of issues when recalling his tenure: Sewers, housing and dredging. LINK

GOP PRIMARY RACE The Washington Post's Aaron Blake: " As Super Tuesday looms, Republican primary heads into potentially decisive phase" Starting with the Michigan and Arizona primaries on Tuesday, Republican front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will face each other in a series of one-on-one matchups that are likely to determine the direction of the rest of the race for their party's presidential nomination. LINK

USA Today's Catalina Camia: " Polls: Romney, Santorum tied in Mich., Ariz." A new poll in Arizona shows Rick Santorum is gaining ground on Mitt Romney, with the two GOP presidential rivals now essentially tied a week ahead of the state's primary. Romney leads, 36% to 32%, among likely GOP voters in the poll by CNN/ Time/ORC International. The difference is within the survey's margin of error. LINK

Bloomberg's  Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Lisa Lerer: " Santorum, Romney to Vie for Advantage in Republican Debate Held in Arizona" Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are vying to define each other and gain an edge in a tightening Republican presidential race as they and two other rivals meet tonight in Arizona for a potentially crucial televised encounter. The debate in Mesa, Arizona, marks the first time in almost a month that the candidates will face off on the same stage, and it's also the first since Santorum usurped Romney's perch at the top of national polls of the Republican contest. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS " Rick Santorum Won't Comment on Satan Speech" LINK " Newt Gingrich Dubs President Obama 'Dangerous'" LINK  

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