The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday, May 23, 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.

MITT ROMNEY ABC News' John Parkinson: " Paul Ryan Says Mitt Romney Will 'Save This Country'" Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the top contenders floated in GOP circles as a potential running m ''ate to Mitt Romney, addressed a sold-out audience Tuesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library, telling the friendly audience that he believes Romney will "save this country."The 42-year-old Wisconsin Republican, who serves as chairman of the House Budget committee, delivered an address titled "A Rendezvous with Reagan's Legacy: Lessons for 2012."  LINK

The Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez: " Romney was involved in 'raping' companies at Bain, top House Dem says" House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) on Tuesday escalated the debate over Mitt Romney's private equity background, arguing in an interview on MSNBC that the presumptive GOP nominee had been involved in "raping companies" during his tenure at Bain Capital. "This is not an attack on free enterprise," Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat, said of the Obama campaign's criticism of some aspects of Romney's Bain record. LINK

USA Today's  Jackie Kucinich: " Ky., Ark. primaries push Romney toward inevitable nomination" Tuesday's presidential primaries in Kentucky and Arkansas served one major function: ensuring that Mitt Romney can lock-up the delegates he needs to secure the nomination when Texas votes next week. Heading into Tuesday's primaries, Romney was 152 delegates short of the 1,144 needed to secure the nomination. Kentucky and Arkansas together offered only 75 delegates, leaving Texas and its 155 delegates at stake May 29 to push the former Massachusetts governor over the finish line. LINK

The Hill's Alicia M. Cohn: " Mitt Romney wins Kentucky primary" Mitt Romney won the Kentucky primary on Tuesday, accumulating more delegates toward the already presumed goal of becoming the GOP presidential nominee. The Associated Press projected Romney's win shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m. ET.  LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA Bloomberg's Mike Dorning: " Obama Prospects Improve as Swing State Economies Improve" From extra shifts at auto and steel plants in Ohio to office buildings rising in Northern Virginia, the geography of the U.S. economic rebound is providing an edge to President Barack Obama's re-election. The unemployment rates in a majority of the 2012 battleground states are lower than the national average as those economies improve. LINK

Politico's Ginger Gibson: " Obama struggles in Kentucky, Arkansas" President Barack Obama continued to have trouble on Tuesday performing in Democratic primaries in traditionally conservative states, barely eking out wins in Kentucky and Arkansas. The president didn't even have an opponent in Kentucky, but with 99 percent of the vote counted, Obama took just 57.9 percent of the vote, with the remaining more than 42 percent of ballots cast for "uncommitted." LINK

The Boston Globe's Tracy Jan: " Drop-off in gifts to Obama in Mass." The number of Massachusetts supporters contributing the maximum to President Obama's campaign fund has plunged nearly 50 percent compared with his 2008 fledgling run, reflecting a sharp drop in enthusiasm after the president's first term. The decline has forced Democrats to make up the difference with bigger contributions from fewer donors. LINK

The NY Daily News' Jonathan Lemire: " Colin Powell isn't ready to endorse President Obama again in the presidential election" Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who crossed party lines to support Barack Obama four years ago, is not ready to offer an endorsement this year.Powell, a decorated war hero held in high esteem on both sides of the political aisle, declared Tuesday that he was not willing "to throw my weight behind someone" at this time. LINK

OBAMA/ROMNEY The NY Times' John Harwood: " In One Corner, a Champion of Government. In the Other, Its Foe ."The currency of political persuasion is emotion - and the way President Obama and Mitt Romney are spending it crystallizes their starkly contrasting appeals. An Obama campaign video shows the president's national political director, Katherine Archuleta, tearfully crediting Mr. Obama with having saved her daughter's life. She portrays the president as a hero of government whose health care law assures her daughter, a cancer survivor, insurance coverage forever.. LINK

POLLS The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr. and Danny Yadron: " Obama, Romney Toe to Toe" Voters remain deeply pessimistic about the nation's future and uncertain of President Barack Obama's ability to set the economy on the right course, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that found Mr. Obama locked in a tight race with Mitt Romney. The president tops the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, 47% to 43%, when Americans are asked their choice today for president, a lead little changed from last month and within the poll's margin of error. LINK

CAMPAIGN FUNDING Bloomberg's Kate Andersen Brower and Julie Bykowicz: " Few Witnesses to Obama, Romney as They Raise $1.5 Billion" Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are on track to raise more than $1.5 billion to finance their presidential campaigns, and only an elite segment of the electorate will see them do it: their own donors. At an Obama fundraiser in February, reporters waited in a damp garage for more than an hour before being ushered into the Seattle-area mansion owned by Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) Chairman Jeff Brotman and his wife.  LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO "Mitt Romney Attracts More Married Women in Poll." LINK

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