The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday, August 21, 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, Amanda VanAllen, and Carrie Halperin

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Hill's Jonathan Easley: " Obama campaign holds $123 million in cash" The Obama campaign spent more than it raised in July, but is sitting on $123.7 million in cash, according to Federal Election Commission report filing on Monday. Obama for America (OFA) raised $49.2 million and spent $59 million. The $49.2 million makes up part of the $75 million, announced earlier this month, that the campaign raised jointly with the Democratic National Committee. LINK

USA Today's Fredreka Schouten and Christopher Schnaars: " Obama campaign's spending outpaces its fundraising" As Election Day approaches, President Obama is burning through campaign money faster than he can collect it - exceeding his spending pace at this stage of the 2008 contest as he expands his field operation and trades combative ads on the airwaves with Republican rival Mitt Romney. LINK

MITT ROMNEY / PAUL RYAN: ABC News' Shushannah Walshe: " Romney and Ryan Condemn Congressman Who Went for Skinny-Dip in Israel" Mitt Romney said he thinks a congressman's late-night skinny-dipping episode in Israel last year was "reprehensible." News surfaced late Sunday that freshman Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder went skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galillee in Israel after a late night of drinking with other members of congress and their families. Today both members of the GOP tickets strongly rebuked them for their behavior. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Matea Gold and Joseph Tanfani: " Mitt Romney widens cash advantage over President Obama" Mitt Romney widened his cash advantage over President Obama in July as the president's reelection campaign continued to wage a costly air assault against the Republican presidential challenger, racing through more money than it raised. Obama's reelection effort and related Democratic fundraising committees had $127 million left at the end of July, while the Romney campaign and its Republican allies sat on $186 million, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission. LINK

The Boston Globe's Matt Viser: " Romney, Ryan blast Obama's health care law" Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, coming here to the state with one of the oldest median ages, on Monday morning criticized President Obama for his health care law and said the Republican ticket would be more likely to put Medicare on sounder financial footing. It was their first unscripted event since Ryan was named the vice president candidate nine days ago, with a town hall meeting where voters could ask questions. But little went awry. LINK

Bloomberg's Kathleen Hunter and Lisa Lerer:" " Romney Joins Republicans Criticizing 'Legitimate Rape' Remark" Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the chairman of the Republican platform committee worked to distance their party from a Missouri Senate candidate's remark that "legitimate rape" rarely leads to pregnancy. The comment yesterday by Todd Akin, 65, a congressman who is running to oust one-term U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, quickly went viral on the Internet, sparking outrage from women's groups and Democrats and prompting him to issue an e-mailed retraction. LINK

The Washington Times' Seth McLaughln: " Romney backs audit for Fed, vows to not raise taxes on middle class" Borrowing a key element of the anti-government libertarianism that fueled rival Ron Paul's presidential campaign, Mitt Romney said Monday that he thinks the Federal Reserve should face an audit. "Very plain and simple, the answer is yes. The Federal Reserve should be accountable. We should see what they're doing," Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said at a town hall in New Hampshire. LINK

The New York Times' Michael D. Shear: " As Romney Enjoys Ryan's Spark, Rivals Try to Fan It" It was no surprise that Mitt Romney's campaign decided to team him up again on Monday with Representative Paul D. Ryan. As the vice-presidential nominee, he brings bigger crowds, extra attention from the press and a spark that carries over to Mr. Romney's own performance on the stump. LINK

Politico's Maggie Haberman and Juana Summers: " On the trail, Romney relies on Ryan" They strode across the grass, pointing in the same direction off in the distance. They waved at the same moment, shirt sleeves rising above their heads. One sat on stage quietly while his more senior other half answered questions. LINK

OTHER / VOTERS: The Washington Post's Jon Cohen and Dan Balz: " Independents favor cooperation, are dissatisfied with political system" President Obama and Mitt Romney are waging one of the most partisan campaigns in recent memory, energizing their bases with heated rhetoric and harsh tactics. But among political independents, some of the most prized voters in the electorate, speaking more softly about the other side may be a key to winning their support. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr. and Danny Yadron: " Parties Vie to Sign Up Voters" The lead that President Barack Obama and his party have in voter registration in swing states has declined since 2008 but Democrats retain the edge in more of those states than Republicans, amid the final push to fire up voters before Election Day. The gaps between the two parties in some states have shrunk substantially since Mr. Obama came into office, due more to ebbing Democratic rolls than to greatly expanding Republican ones. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS: " Older Paul Ryan Supporters Weigh in on His Medicare Plan" LINK " Rape Is Rape: Obama Criticizes Rep. Akin's Comments" LINK

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