The Note's Must-Reads for Friday September 14, 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' Carrie Halperin, Jayce Henderson, and Amanda VanAllen


USA Today's Susan Page: " Obama's lead poses test for Romney" A presidential race that has been neck-and-neck for months suddenly isn't. In the week after the political conventions ended, President Obama has opened the most significant, sustained lead in the daily Gallup Poll since Mitt Romney emerged as the Republican nominee last spring. Disappointing unemployment statistics released last Friday haven't stemmed Obama's rise, and Romney's sharp criticism of the president in recent days during the unfolding crisis in Libya has opened a new line of partisan attack against the challenger. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr.: " Obama Holds Lead in Three Key States" With few voters still on the fence, President Barack Obama holds leads over Mitt Romney in new polls of Ohio, Florida and Virginia, three of the states likely to determine who wins the White House in November. Mr. Obama has fought Mr. Romney to a draw on the question of which candidate is best equipped to grapple with the economy, the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist Poll surveys suggest. Mr. Romney's campaign is built largely on an argument that he can best reinvigorate the economy. LINK


ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: " Exclusive: Romney on Obama's 'Shoot First, Aim Later' Attack" In our interview today, Mitt Romney did not back down from his belief that the Obama administration's first response to the Cairo protest demonstrated "sympathy" for the attackers, but he also made it clear that he was ready to move on. "What I said was exactly the same conclusion the White House reached, which was that the statement was inappropriate. That's why they backed away from it as well," Romney told me. LINK

The Hill's Daniel Strauss: " Romney to receive intelligence briefings starting next week" Mitt Romney will begin receiving intelligence briefings next week, his campaign said on Thursday. Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan had not begun receiving intelligence briefings similar to those the president and vice president receives -a courtesy usually extended the opposing party's nominees once they are formally nominated. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Mitchell Landsberg: " Romney tries to regain footing and focus on economy" Mitt Romney won the Republican nomination for president chiefly by being a steady hand, the tortoise amid so many hares. Others could bolt ahead and inevitably stumble; Romney plowed forward, relentlessly. He is still fairly unflappable, and nobody could ever call him flighty. But as the general election nears, his campaign has seemed to be searching for its footing, venturing into territory in recent days that is far afield from the economic issues that, by virtually every account, will decide the election. LINK


The Washington Times' " Not all Obama bundlers are on his public list" President Obama's campaign has left off its public list of "bundlers" at least 25 names its own finance team considers to be among their most valuable funders, including seven who live in foreign countries, a review of records by The Washington Times found. In one case the campaign's own internal documents listed Cynthia Stroum as bundling $400,000 this election cycle, yet she is not on the campaign's official public list. LINK


The New York Times' Eric Lipton and Clifford Krauss: " Fossil Fuel Ads Dominate TV in Campaign" When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming. As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. LINK


The Washington Post's Philip Rucker: " Romney team sharpens attack on Obama's foreign policy" Advisers to Mitt Romney on Thursday defended his sharp criticism of President Obama and said that the deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president. "There's a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you'd be in a different situation," Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser, said in an interview. LINK

Politico's Kevin Cirilli: " Poll: Obama over Romney in fistfight" President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have been throwing political punches for months now. But who do Americans think would win in an actual brawl? LINK


Bloomberg's Julie Hirschfeld Davis: " Presidential Race May Hinge on Third Party Candidates" Virgil Goode, an anti-immigration southerner, and Gary Johnson, a pro-marijuana southwesterner, have little in common, save one thing: They both are seeking to shake up the American presidential race as third-party candidates. While they have no chance to win the Nov. 6 election, the tight race between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney may create the right circumstances for one of them - or both - to pull just enough votes in a key state to sway the contest. LINK


" Political News Pop (09.13.12)" LINK " Romney Criticizes Bernanke on Economy" LINK " Mitt Romney Heckled Over Libya Remarks" LINK


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