The Note's Must-Reads for Friday, August 17, 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' Jayce Henderson and Will Cantine

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Washington Post's Amy Gardner: " Obama Hopes To Latino Voters Give Him A Chance In N.C" The faded, low-slung Greenview Meadows townhouses hidden behind a suburban neighborhood here represent both the challenge and opportunity for President Obama as he tries to repeat his win of this generally conservative state. LINK

Bloomberg's Margaret Talev: " Obama Threads Digs At Romney Into Campaign Rhetoric" While President Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 promising to rise above petty politics, he's showing a more down-and-dirty side in his re-election campaign. Obama this week tested a joke on the stump alluding to Republican Mitt Romney's treatment of a family pet, and he declined to back away from a controversial jab at Romney by Vice President Joe Biden. His campaign has refused to condemn an ad by independent pro-Obama super-political action committee that Republicans complained was a low blow. LINK

MITT ROMNEY / PAUL RYAN: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg, Devin Dwyer and Emily Friedman: " Romney Gives Medicare Lecture On Tarmac" Mitt Romney took another crack at resetting the Medicare debate Thursday, calling an impromptu press conference on the tarmac of a South Carolina airport. With a black marker in his hand and a whiteboard to his side, the Republican presidential candidate tried to spell out, literally, the differences between his and President Obama's policies. LINK

ABC News' Devin Dwyer and Steven Portnoy: " Fact Check: Romney's Plan To 'Restore' Medicare Spending Cuts" Mitt Romney is trying to seize the high ground in the Medicare debate by pledging to "restore" $716 billion in spending cuts imposed by President Obama. Never mind that the cuts were once backed by his vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan. Romney argues that it's Obama who has already "ended Medicare as we know it," and he will be the guy to fix it. LINK

ABC News' Shushannah Walshe: " Paul Ryan Set To Appear With Mom At World's Largest Retirement Community, Defend Medicare Plan" Paul Ryan is headed to a Florida retirement community with his mother on Saturday to make his argument about the need to change Medicare for future generations. Ryan's mother is in her late 70s. LINK

The Hill's Alicia Cohn: " Poll Finds Romney, Ryan closing the gap with Obama in Wisconsin" Rep. Paul Ryan's addition to the GOP presidential ticket appears to have tightened the race in the key swing state of Wisconsin. A new poll from CNN/ORC International released Thursday found President Obama with a very narrow lead among registered voters in the state, taking 49 percent to Romney's 45. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3 points. The poll was taken after Romney picked Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, to join him on the GOP ticket. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Michael Finnegan and Robin Abcarin: " Romney says his tax rate was at least 13% in last 10 years" Trying to defuse Democratic criticism of his refusal to release more tax returns, Mitt Romney said Thursday that he paid a federal tax rate of at least 13% in each of the last 10 years, and his wife, Ann, said there would be no further tax disclosures lest the couple become a bigger target for critics. LINK

USA Today's Alan Gomez: " Romney, GOP try for greater share of Hispanic votes" In the 25 years Maricruz MaGowan has been living in the U.S., the Maryland economist has never been able to understand why Democrats maintain such a tight grip on the nation's Hispanic vote. LINK

The Boston Globe's Bryan Bender: " Paul Ryan Denied He Sought Stimulus Funds" After seeking millions of dollars from a stimulus spending program he had publicly opposed as wasteful, GOP vice presidential candidate and congressman Paul Ryan repeatedly denied making the requests, first on a Boston radio station in 2010 and again Wednesday in a television interview. LINK

The Boston Globe's Callum Borchers: " Points Amiss In Romney's Ads On Welfare" Mitt Romney's ads attacking President Obama for a plan to "gut welfare reform" have been criticized by independent fact checkers but, fair or not, their message is resonating with some swing-state voters who say they've worked hard for a living and won't support a president who they believe would enable free riders. LINK

The New York Times' Michael D. Shear: " Romney Says He Paid At Least 13 Percent In Income Taxes" Mitt Romney said Thursday that he paid at least 13 percent of his income in taxes each year during the past decade, again confronting a vexing issue that Democrats have used to portray him as out of touch with middle-class values. LINK

The New York Times' Ashley Parker: " Campaigning Aside, Team Plans A Romney Presidency" As Mitt Romney and Paul D. Ryan fanned out across the country this week, glad-handing voters and donors, a smaller but no less important gathering was taking place on Capitol Hill: Mr. Romney's transition team met on Tuesday with more than a dozen loyalists from the private and public sectors in space borrowed from a law office. LINK

Politico's Maggie Haberman: " Van Hollen Chosen As Ryan Stand-In For Biden Debate Prep" The Obama campaign has tapped Rep. Chris Van Hollen to play Rep. Paul Ryan in debate prep for VP Joe Biden, a source with knowledge of the choice confirmed to POLITICO. LINK

Bloomberg's Heidi Przybyla and Kathleen Hunter: " Ryan Bipartisan Image Based More On Style Than Substance" Representative Paul Ryan has shown "an ability to work across the aisle" and "find enough common ground to get things done," Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said this week in introducing his new running mate to Floridians. While a review of his record shows little evidence that Ryan has teamed with Democrats to pass bipartisan measures into law, members of both parties say the Wisconsin lawmaker offers a less combative brand of leadership in an era of hyper- partisanship characterized by personal attacks and vilification. LINK

IMMIGRATION: The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " Questions on illegal immigration go back to states" President Obama's new non-deportation policy has thrown many of the thorniest immigration questions back into states' laps, as governors and legislators now must decide whether to issue driver's licenses or allow in-state tuition at public colleges to the illegal immigrants who will be given an iffy legal status. LINK

OTHER: The Wall Street Journal's Carol Lee: " Campaigns Seek Positives in Negative Tone" The presidential race's unusually early negative character has shaped the course of the campaign, raising significant risks but also opportunities for both sides. The sharp attacks traded between the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney escalated this week, particularly on the subject of which party might undermine Medicare. Atypically for this stage of the campaign, the barbs began involving the two candidates rather than just their campaign surrogates. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS: " Mitt Romney Reveals Income Tax Rate" (VIDEO) " Mitt Romney: "Every Year I've Paid At Least 13 Percent" Tax Rate" (VIDEO) " Romney Uses Whiteboard To Explain Medicare Plan" (VIDEO)

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