The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday, May 22, 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' Amanda VanAllen, Carrie Halperin and Ben Waldron

OBAMA/ROMNEY ABC News' Jake Tapper and Mary Bruce: " President Obama Directly Seeks to Make Romney's Business Experience the 'Bain' of His Existence" At the close of the NATO Summit, taking questions from reporters, President Obama launched his most direct attack yet at challenger Mitt Romney, defending his campaign's attacks on Romney's tenure at Bain Capital and full-throatedly saying "this is what this campaign is going to be about.""If your main argument for how to grow the economy is 'I knew how to make a lot of money for investors' than you're missing what this job is about," the president said.  LINK

The Washington Post's Jon Cohen and Dan Balz: " Poll: Obama, Romney in dead heat" After months of aggressive campaigning on jobs and the economy, President Obama and Mitt Romney, his likely Republican challenger, are locked in a dead heat over who could fix the problem foremost on voters' minds, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The parity on economic issues foreshadows what probably will continue to be a tough and negative campaign. LINK

USA Today's  Aamer Madhani, and Richard Wolf: " As NATO summit wraps, Obama and Romney trade attacks" President Obama and Mitt Romney took direct aim at each other on Monday, with Romney charging that Obama has failed to accept moral responsiblity for his policies and the president defending his re-election campaign's focus on the private-equity firm once headed by the former Massachusetts governor. Obama's sharp critique came after Romney aides and Republican operatives spent Monday peppering the president's re-election campaign. LINK

The New York Daily News' Alison Gendar and Thomas M. Defrank: " Obama attacks Romney's business background: good for running a company, bad for a country" President Obama went directly at Mitt Romney's jugular Monday, arguing that his Republican challenger's business pedigree may turn around a company but isn't enough to run a country. Obama dissed what he called Romney's "main calling card," arguing a President must consider a bigger picture than merely the bottom line for wealthy investors. LINK

The NY Times' Nicholas Confessore, Jo Craven and Derek Willis: " Fund-Raising for Romney Eats Into Obama's Edge."President Obama's once-commanding fund-raising advantage is declining as major Republican donors rally for Mitt Romney, conservative "super PACs" far outpace their liberal counterparts and tax-exempt issue-advocacy groups swarm the political landscape. With Republican Congressional committees largely keeping pace with the Democrats, Mr. Obama and his Democratic allies appear increasingly likely to be matched or even outspent by Republican and conservative groups - a far cry from 2008, when Mr. Obama outspent Senator John McCain by more than two to one and super PACs did not exist. LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA Bloomberg's Whitney King and Inyoung Hwang: " Worst Market Since Reagan Greets Obama Before Election" With only six months before the election, the stock market is giving President Barack Obama the worst returns since Ronald Reagan was seeking a second term.  The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) is up 1.3 percent since Mitt Romney's campaign began 12 months ago, compared with average gains of 12 percent for incumbents who won re-election starting with Harry S. Truman, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. LINK

The Boston Globe's Callum Borchers: " Obama defends Bain-themed attacks against Romney" President Obama Monday vigorously defended his reelection campaign's attacks on Mitt Romney's business record, saying the principles of private equity do not apply to the presidency. "If your main argument for how to grow the economy is, 'I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,' then you're missing what this job is about," Obama said. "My job is to take into account everybody, not just some." LINK

The Hill's Jeremy Herb and Amie Parnes: " President: Bain jabs fair game" President Obama on Monday defended his reelection campaign's aggressive attacks on Mitt Romney's private-equity background, which he described as a central issue in the campaign.  The reason this is relevant to the campaign is my opponent, Gov. Romney, his main calling card for why he should be president is his business experience," Obama said at a press conference after the conclusion of the NATO summit in Chicago.  LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Kathleen B. Hennessey: " Obama makes commencement speech in Joplin, Mo." President Obama held up storm-ravaged Joplin, Mo., as a model for the power of cooperation in a commencement speech Monday night that hit on some of the themes of his campaign.  LINK

The Washington Times' Paige Winfield Cunningham: " Catholic leaders take aim at Obama contraception plan" Catholic Church leaders escalated their fight Monday against President Obama's health care plan, as dozens of the U.S. church's biggest archdioceses, universities and other institutions filed a torrent of lawsuits demanding the law's contraception mandate be struck down as violating constitutional protections of religious liberty. LINK

Politico's Glen Thrush and Maggie Haberman: " Obama's Bain Capital mutiny" President Barack Obama flew into Chicago grimly set on ending the war in Afghanistan - and left his hometown by gleefully starting a new one over Bain Capital with Mitt Romney.  If Obama had any reticence about diving into an election-year controversy at an otherwise deeply sober gathering of world leaders bent on ending 10 years of conflict, he wasn't showing it Monday when asked about the escalating controversy over Romney's stewardship of his highly profitable private equity firm. LINK

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