The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, October 18, 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 Danielle Genet

DEBATE ANYALSIS ABC News' Avery Miller: " How Jeremy the College Kid Got on the Stage With Obama and Romney" Although most of us try to avoid telemarketers, Jeremy Epstein's sister didn't. She picked up the phone and was asked by a research company if she was a registered voter. LINK

The New York Times' Peter Baker: " Debating Over Last Term, Candidates Say Little of Next" After three debates and four and a half hours of nationally televised exchanges, Americans have learned that President Obama has a smaller pension than his opponent and Mitt Romney wants to get Big Bird's beak out of the federal trough, that Joseph R. Biden Jr. likes to smile and Paul D. Ryan drinks lots of water. LINK

Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere: " Obama, Romney campaign for debate spin win" Spinning isn't just for surrogates. President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney moved quickly out of Hempstead, N.Y., and out on the trail Wednesday, each trying to wring a post-game win from their bitter second debate that many saw as - at most - a slight victory for the incumbent. LINK

The Hills' Amie Parnes: " Obama hopes second debate performance stopped the bleeding" A day after their bruising second presidential debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney claimed momentum heading into the final three weeks before Election Day. "Everyone is saying he showed up," said a Democratic former White House aide, adding, "He not only showed up. He kicked ass and then some. LINK

MITT ROMNEY ABC News' Russell Goldman: " Mitt Romney Changes Argument on Contraception at Debate" It doesn't quite have the same ring as "binders full of women," but a comment Mitt Romney made during Tuesday's presidential debate about contraception has added fuel to the narrative that he has adopted more moderate policy positions in the final weeks of the campaign. LINK

The Boston Globe's Matt Viser: " The story behind Mitt Romney's 'binders full of women'"In the debate on Tuesday night, Mitt Romney said that he made every effort to find qualified women to appoint to cabinet positions when he was governor of Massachusetts. "Well, gosh," he said he told his staff who had an abundance of male applicants, "Can't we find some - some women that are also qualified?" LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery: " Officials: Obama ready to veto a bill blocking 'fiscal cliff' without tax hike for rich" President Obama is prepared to veto legislation to block year-end tax hikes and spending cuts, collectively known as the "fiscal cliff," unless Republicans bow to his demand to raise tax rates for the wealthy, administration officials said. Freed from the political and economic constraints that have tied his hands in the past, Obama is ready to play hardball with Republicans, who have so far successfully resisted a deal to tame the debt that includes higher taxes, Obama's allies say. LINK

Bloomberg's Phil Mattingly and Hans Nichols: " Obama Pursuing Leakers Sends Warning to Whistle-Blowers" Eric Holder, attorney general under President Barack Obama, has prosecuted more government officials for alleged leaks under the World War I-era Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined, including law-and-order Republicans John Mitchell, Edwin Meese and John Ashcroft. The indictments of six individuals under that spy law have drawn criticism from those who say the president's crackdown chills dissent, curtails a free press and betrays Obama's initial promise to "usher in a new era of open government." LINK

WOMEN VOTERS The Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler and Carol E. Lee: " Candidates Zero In on Women Voters" The focus of the presidential race shifted Wednesday to women voters, as President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney carried their argument over women's health care and job opportunities from Tuesday's combative debate onto the campaign trail and TV airwaves. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Christi Parsons and Seema Mehta: " Obama and Romney fight for the female vote" Picking up where their contentious debate left off, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney battled Wednesday for the support of female voters, underscoring their potentially decisive role in settling the fiercely competitive race. Buoyed by a much-improved performance Tuesday night, Obama traveled to the swing state of Iowa, where he renewed his attacks on Romney for proposing an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and again touted legislation he signed making it easier for women to sue for job discrimination. LINK

LIBYA The Washington Times' Dave Boyer: " Obama yet to confirm 'terrorist' act in Libya" Despite numerous public events including a speech at the United Nations and two presidential debates, President Obama still hasn't publicly and plainly acknowledged to Americans that terrorists killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Libya on Sept. 11. Others in his administration have said it, belatedly. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS " 2nd Presidential Debate: Has President Redeemed Himself?" LINK " 2nd Presidential Debate: The Scorecard" LINK " Second Presidential Debate: Fact vs. Fiction" LINK " Arizona Elections Department Gets Election Date Wrong" LINK

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