The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, October 19, 2012

By Amanda VanAllen

Oct 19, 2012 3:23am

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, Carrie Halperin and Danielle Genet

ABC News’ Mary Bruce and Emily Friedman: “President Obama, Mitt Romney Trade Barbs, Jokes at Al Smith Dinner” Two days after their rhetorical brawl at the second presidential debate, Mitt Romney and President Obama faced off again tonight in a war of wit at the annual Al Smith dinner, poking fun at themselves and each other. “I’m pleased that the president is here,” Romney joked at the top of his remarks. “We were chatting pleasantly this evening as if Tuesday night never happened.” LINK

Wall Street Journal’s Colleen McCain Nelson: “Obama, Romney Enjoy Some Comic Relief” President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney shared a stage again Thursday night, but this time the candidates traded punch lines instead of political punches as they poked fun at themselves, at each other and the bruising presidential campaign. LINK

ABC News’ Gregory J. Krieg: “Poll Suggests Romney Continues Surge” Mitt Romney continues his rise, according to a Gallup poll released today that suggests he has a seven-point national lead over President Obama. The tracking poll, which surveyed likely voters, put Romney ahead 52-45, Gallup said. LINK

The Hills’ Julain Pecquet: “Romney all but erases Obama’s polling lead on foreign policy” Mitt Romney has all but erased President Obama’s lead on foreign policy issues in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, according to a Pew poll released Thursday. Obama’s lead on foreign policy has plummeted by 11 points since the outbreak of violence in the Middle East that culminated with the death of four Americans in Libya on Sept. 11, according to Pew. LINK

USA Today’s Richard Wolf: “Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen stump for Obama” President Obama’s campaign rolled out two rock stars Thursday in the crucial swing state of Ohio, and only one is best known for his music. The Obama re-election campaign teamed former president Bill Clinton and rock legend Bruce Springsteen for a get-out-the-vote rally at Cuyahoga Community College outside Cleveland. LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson: “Obama defends handling of Libya attack” President Obama defended his handling of the Libya attack during a mostly serious appearance Thursday on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. Obama said security would be improved at embassies worldwide, and attributed changing stories of the attack to changing evidence. LINK

The Washington Times’ Stephan Dinan: “Welfare spending jumps 32% during Obama’s presidency” Federal welfare spending has grown by 32 percent over the past four years, fattened by President Obama’s stimulus spending and swelled by a growing number of Americans whose recession-depleted incomes now qualify them for public assistance, according to numbers released Thursday. LINK

The Boston Globe’s Brian MacQuarrie: “In N.H., Obama blasts Romney” Seeking to build momentum after a solid debate performance against Mitt Romney two days ago, President Obama today continued a whirlwind tour of critical battleground states by urging a boisterous crowd of 6,000 supporters to turn their cheers into votes in 19 days. Under a canopy of brilliant fall foliage in a downtown park, Obama hit Romney on the Republican’s job plan, taxes, energy, and women’s issues in phrasing that often repeated, word for word, the arguments he made for reelection at the second presidential debate at Hofstra University. LINK

Wall Street Journal’s Keith Johnson: “Campaigns Clash Over the Future of Coal” Coal has improbably risen to become one of the top issues of the presidential campaign, with dueling ads about coal in swing states and attacks by each candidate on the other’s position. The battle is escalating even though coal employment is just a shadow of what it was a few decades ago and its use in power generation is steadily declining, from 48% of U.S. electricity in 2008 to 38% in the 12 months ended July 2012. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ James Rainey: “Climate change activists beg more attention from Romney, Obama” With just 2 1/2 weeks left before election day, there’s an urgency on all fronts in the presidential race. For activists, it’s not just about whether President Obama or Mitt Romney will win, but whether either man will pay attention to their issue.  Perhaps no interest community has been as disappointed as those who worry about global climate change. LINK  

2012 Presidential Candidates, Spouses Spar on Women’s VoteLINK
Michelle Obama Talks Guilty Pleasures: French Fries and ‘Housewives’LINK
Bruce Springsteen Stumps for ObamaLINK

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