The Note's Must-Reads for Friday, October 12, 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, Carrie Halperin, and Ben Waldron

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Bloomberg's Margaret Talev and Lisa Lerer: " Obama Says Romney Doing 'Extreme Makeover' of Positions" President Barack Obama said Mitt Romney is performing "an extreme makeover" of stances he took during the primaries to win votes in the general election, while the Republican challenger intensified his attacks on Obama's handling of foreign policy. On a day when the focus was on last night's vice presidential debate, Obama told a rally before a mostly college- age audience at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, that Romney is trying to distance himself from past positions. LINK

MITT ROMNEY: The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan and Dave Boyer: " Romney Lashes at Obama on Libya Response" Mitt Romney on Thursday elevated the Benghazi terrorist attack to the forefront of the presidential campaign, saying President Obama and his campaign are politicizing the issue rather than explaining why the administration botched the initial response. Earlier in the day, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter told CNN that "the entire reason" the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has become a major political issue is that Mr. Romney and running mate Paul Ryan use it on the campaign trail. LINK

VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: ABC News' David Kerley: " Biden and Ryan Spar With Smirks, Laughs and a 'Bunch of Stuff:" Vice President Biden came to tonight's debate ready to make up for his boss' lackluster performance of a week ago, bringing the fight to Republican Paul Ryan within moments of the debate starting, calling his challenger's statements "a bunch of malarkey" and a "bunch of stuff." Ryan, 42, also skipped the pleasantries, quickly citing the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya last month, said the Obama administration had denied Stevens sufficient security, and saying it demonstrated the "unraveling of Obama's foreign policy." LINK

The Hill's Amie Parnes and Justin Sink: " Biden and Ryan exchange verbal blows in contentious debate" Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) traded furious blows Thursday night in a highly contentious vice presidential debate. There was no clear winner in the first and only showdown between the vice presidential candidates, with both sides making strong cases for their running mates at the top of their respective tickets. But perhaps the most prominent feature of the debate in Danville, Ky., was Biden's incredulous demeanor. The vice president repeatedly dismissed Ryan with laughter, eye rolling and even an "Oh, god!" in an evening of quips and comebacks. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Mark Barabak and Maeve Reston: " Biden, Ryan clash in feisty vice presidential debate" Clashing in a feisty, hard-edged debate, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday night repeatedly accused challenger Paul D. Ryan and his running mate, Mitt Romney, of favoring the rich at the expense of middle-class Americans and engaging in loose talk that could lead the country to another war. LINK

New York Daily News' Jonathan Lemire: " VP debate: Joe Biden, Paul Ryan lock horns over economy, taxes and foreign policy in lively duel" Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan dueled over the economy, taxes and foreign policy Thursday night in a crackling, lively debate that laid out two starkly different visions for America. Biden was as lively and energetic as his boss, President Obama, was oddly passive in last week's debate against Mitt Romney. And Ryan, 27 years younger than Biden and debating for the first time before a national audience, gave as good as he got. LINK

The Boston Globe's Brian MacQuarrie and Matt Viser: " Biden, Ryan aggressive in debate" Vice President Joe Biden and challenger Paul Ryan were feisty and combative on Thursday night in their first and only debate, providing a relentless, quick-moving exchange that outlined stark differences between their campaigns. From foreign policy to federal spending to health care, Biden and Ryan used statistics, rhetorical jabs, and humor to fashion a pointed discussion that differed strikingly from the debate last week in which President Obama often seemed listless and disengaged. LINK

The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg: " Biden and Ryan Quarrel Aggressively in Debate, Offering Contrasts" It was the debate that President Obama and Mitt Romney did not have a week ago. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Representative Paul D. Ryan fiercely quarreled at the vice-presidential debate here on Thursday night, with Mr. Biden using the cutting attack lines against the Republican ticket that Mr. Obama did not and Mr. Ryan delivering a spirited case for conservative policies that Mr. Romney had soft-pedaled. LINK

The Washington Posts' Dan Balz and Philip Rucker: " Biden, Ryan trade sharp words on foreign policy, economy during vice-presidential debate" Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) tangled fiercely and noisily here Thursday night over the economy and foreign policy in a spirited debate that underscored the vast differences between the Democratic and Republican tickets on virtually every issue in the presidential campaign. LINK

Bloomberg's Michael Shepard:" Ryan Won Vice-Presidential Debate, 48 Percent Say in CNN Poll"Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan won tonight's debate with Vice President Joe Biden, according to a CNN/ORC International poll of 381 registered voters who watched the nationally televised event. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said Ryan fared better in the vice-presidential debate, compared with 44 percent for Biden, according to results aired on CNN after the event concluded. The results were within the survey's five-percentage- point margin of error. LINK

Politico's Patrick Gavin: " Twitter frowns on Joe Biden's laugh" Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan were the two candidates on stage at Thursday's vice presidential debate, but a third character emerged: Joe Biden's laugh, which didn't escape the notice of tweeting politicos. (And led, of course, to at least three satirical Twitter accounts: Laughing Joe Biden, Biden Smirk, and yet another Laughing Joe Biden.) LINK

USA Today's William M. Welch: " Biden, Ryan exchange sharp attacks in VP debate" Vice President Biden, trying to restore the Democratic ticket's sagging momentum, and Republican rival Paul Ryan, seeking to continue his campaign's surge, faced off Thursday evening with heated exchanges over the economy and foreign policy. Biden was combative from the start, making reference to Mitt Romney's videotaped statement to wealthy supporters that 47% of Americans don't pay taxes and don't take responsibility for their own lives, and a previous statement by Ryan that 30% are "takers." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Carol E. Lee, Laura Meckler and Colleen McCain Nelson: " Sharp Jabs Dominate Combative Vice-Presidential Debate" Vice President Joe Biden and Republican rival Paul Ryan engaged in a confrontational debate Thursday night that included interruptions, flippant asides and pointed accusations over a wide range of economic, foreign policy and social issues. Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, delivered a biting critique of the Obama administration's handling of the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya and its proposals for reining in the budget deficit, while Mr. Biden assailed the Republican ticket's tax policies and Medicare proposals. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO: "Laughing Joe Biden: Smiles at the Debate" LINK

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