The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, August 20, 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 Carrie Halperin

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Boston Globe's Callum Borchers: " Obama campaign dismisses calls for Biden apology" The Obama campaign offered no apology Sunday for Vice President Joe Biden's "chains" remark, refusing even to call it a poor choice of words as Republicans accused the president's reelection campaign of race baiting. At a rally in Virginia last week, Biden told an audience that included hundreds of African-Americans that Republican challenger Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, are "going to put y'all back in chains." LINK

MITT ROMNEY & PAUL RYAN: ABC News' Dean Schabner: " Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan Turn Medicare Attacks Back on Obama" Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are trying to turn the tables on President Obama, making what Democrats had thought was a weakness - their Medicare plan - into a strength in the presidential race. Since Ryan was introduced as Romney's running mate on the presumptive GOP ticket, all the talk of the campaign has been about Medicare, not the economy. LINK

The New York Times' Jeremy W. Peters: " G.O.P. Packaging Seeks to Reveal a Warm Romney" They hail from the Broadway stage, the control rooms of NBC and the design studios that created sleek sets for Oprah Winfrey and Jon Stewart. Their craft is slick packaging and eye candy that audiences consume by the millions. LINK

Bloomberg's John McCormick: " Romney Attends Mormon Services With Media In Attendance" Mitt Romney yesterday revealed a side of his life he's rarely shown publicly when he attended Mormon religious services near his New Hampshire home in full view of the news media. Romney, 65, is the first Mormon to clinch the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party, and he doesn't speak often to voters about his faith in any great detail. LINK

The Hill's Mike Lillis and Carlo Munoz: " Romney campaign keeping debate over Medicare on center stage" It's supposed to be the Democrats' signature issue, but Medicare has risen to the forefront of this year's presidential race largely because Mitt Romney's campaign has put it there. On the Sunday political shows, surrogates for the GOP presidential hopeful amplified their attacks on President Obama's Medicare plans, saying the Democrats' reforms will gut the popular seniors program leaving it up to Republicans to save it. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Michael Finnegan: " Romney's shifting focus defies tested campaign strategy" When he began his campaign for president last year, Mitt Romney made a clear case for what he said made him best qualified for the job: His record as Massachusetts governor, head of the 2002 Winter Olympics and, above all, the businessman who founded Bain Capital. To create jobs in the private sector, he argued for months, it takes experience in the private sector. LINK

USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman: " Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan GOP ticket reflects religious shift" By naming devout, conservative Catholic U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, former governor Mitt Romney, once a Mormon bishop, did more than ensure the USA will have a Catholic vice president in 2013.He established the first Republican ticket without a Protestant since 1860, when Abraham Lincoln, who belonged to no church, chose Maine Sen. Hannibal Hamlin, a Unitarian as his running mate, says Mark Silk, professor of religion and public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Sara Murray: " Romney Set to Get Access to More Funds" When Mitt Romney leaves his party's convention in Tampa next week, he will depart with the Republican nomination-and access to $165 million that his campaign will use to blanket the airwaves. A substantial portion of that is money that Mr. Romney has so far not been able to touch, because it was donated specifically for the general election. LINK

Politico's Maggie Haberman: " Ryan releases taxes in late Friday news dump" Paul Ryan and his wife, Janna, paid an effective tax rate of 15.9% in 2010 and 20% in 2011, according to tax returns provided by the Romney-Ryan campaign to the Journal Sentinel on Friday.In 2010, Ryan and his wife paid $34,233 in federal taxes on $215,417 of adjusted gross income. LINK

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: The New York Daily News' Erin Durkin: " Mitt Romney and President Obama take a break from the campaign trail to attend Sunday service" Mitt Romney gave the public a rare glimpse of himself practicing his Mormon faith Sunday, as he attended church services near his New Hampshire vacation home. The Republican challenger has generally shied away from talking about his faith while on the campaign trail, but the window into his spiritual life was made possible after the candidate allowed a press pool to record his comings and goings, starting on Aug. 6. LINK

MEDICARE / OTHER: The Washington Times' Paige Winfield Cunningham: " Medicare now focal point of Obama-Romney debate" The Romney and Obama campaigns - both convinced that their man is more trustworthy with the future of Medicare - ramped up the debate this weekend, with operatives trading prickly barbs, the president dismissing Republican plans as "snake oil" and Paul Ryan bringing his 78-year-old mother into the fracas. LINK

The Washington Posts' Robert Barnes: " As always, Florida in the middle of the voting wars" Stick a pin almost anywhere on a map of Florida and you'll find a legal battle over who will be eligible to vote in the coming presidential election - and when, and how, and where. In a state crucial to Mitt Romney's battle to replace President Obama, a law passed in 2011 by the Republican legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) has created an awesome wake of litigation. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO: " Stephanie Cutter: Giuliani Should Consider Palin Endorsement Before Attacking Biden" LINK " President Obama's Abortion Attack Ad" LINK

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