The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, August 23, 2012

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen, Carrie Halperin and Ben Waldron

TODD AKIN ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: " Todd Akin Opens Door to Possible Exit" Here's what Missouri Congressman Todd Akin said when I asked if he was in the race to stay - even if it looked like he would lose and possibly cost Republicans control of the Senate. Well George, I'm never going to say everything that could possibly happen. I don't know the future, but I do know this. I knew that the party voters took a look at our hearts, understood who we were, had a chance to meet us in many, many different ways and made a decision," Akin told me. "And it makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs as opposed to the election process." LINK

The Hills' Alexandra Jaffe: " Akin comment increases pressure on Romney to shine at convention" Mitt Romney faces increased pressure to shine at next week's Republican National Convention because of Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) controversial comments on "legitimate rape" and abortion. Democrats are delighted that Akin, who will be nowhere near the GOP convention, has reenergized their line of attack on the GOP "war on women," and they're now working overtime to tie Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Ky.) to the conservative's comments. LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA The New York Daily News' Corky Siemaszko: " President Obama arrives in NYC to show he's got game on the basketball court, and to raise millions in campaign cash" President Obama swished and dished in the city Wednesday to net some serious dough at a trifecta of basketball-themed fund-raisers - but a gimpy knee was expected to keep him from playing above the rim. Obama's latest trip to the political ATM that is the Big Apple featured cash grabs - more like cash dunks - with NBA stars and a $20,000-per-person dinner co-hosted by the one-and-only Michael Jordan. LINK

MITT ROMNEY The New York Times' Clifford Krauss and Ashley Parker: " Romney Energy Plan Would Expand Oil Drilling on U.S. Land and Offshore" Mitt Romney plans to unveil an energy plan Thursday morning in Hobbs, N.M., that would allow states more control over the development of energy resources on federal lands within their borders, as well as aggressively expand offshore oil and gas drilling - including along the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas - as part of a broader effort to reach energy independence. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Seema Mehta: " Mitt Romney sees path to energy independence" Mitt Romney will unveil an energy plan Thursday that he says will allow North America to be energy independent by 2020 and decrease costs to consumers by increasing domestic production. The plan, released to reporters Wednesday, includes approving the Keystone XL pipeline bringing oil from Canada to Texas -President Obama has put off a decision until after the election - and increasing domestic production to spur job growth. LINK

PAUL RYAN The Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez: " Paul Ryan: 'I'm proud of my record' on abortion" Facing a mounting effort by Democrats to tie him to the Todd Akin controversy, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said Wednesday that he is proud of his record on abortion rights and maintained that Mitt Romney is the one who will set the GOP ticket's policy. LINK

USA Today's Tom Vanden Brook: " Ryan: Big on defense, tight on entitlements" Paul Ryan's budget-cutting bona fides - not his foreign policy or national security chops - made him the darling of the Republican Party and Mitt Romney's choice for running mate. Look deeper on the Wisconsin House member's list of priorities, military and foreign policy experts say, and you'll see a commitment to standard GOP principles: support for robust Pentagon spending and opposition to President Obama's foreign policy. LINK

ROMNEY/OBAMA The Washington Times' Dave Boyer: " Polls show Romney closing gap with Obama in swing states" The tight race is getting tighter. As Republicans head to Tampa, Fla., to nominate Mitt Romney for president, the contest with President Obama is narrowing in the 10 battleground states that likely will decide the election. LINK

GOP CONVENTION The Wall Street Journal's Arian Campo-Flores: " Republican Convention Threatened by Storm" Tropical storm Isaac, which is gathering strength in the Caribbean, could strike Florida, hurricane forecasters say, triggering concern it might force a postponement or cancellation of the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week. It is still too early to predict whether the storm could make a direct hit on the city. Forecast models show Isaac's center following a path that could take it as far west as the Gulf of Mexico and as far east as the Atlantic Ocean by next Monday. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS " Romney, Ryan on Damage Control for Women's Vote" LINK

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