The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday, October 16, 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 ABC News' Devin Dwyer: " Obamas Cast Ballots Early, A Presidential First" President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will both cast their ballots for the 2012 election early, the couple announced today on Twitter. The announcement means Mr. Obama will become the first presidential candidate to not vote in-person on election day, according to his campaign. LINK

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE The Hills' Justin Sink: " Obama, Romney look to channel Bill Clinton in next debate" Both Mitt Romney and President Obama are looking to channel one man at Tuesday night's debate: former President Bill Clinton. According to political consultants on both sides of the aisle, Clinton's 1992 performance against then-President George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot serves the gold standard of the town-hall format. LINK

The New York Times' Sharon LaFraniere: " China and Its Trade Practices Are Coming to the Debates" Halfway through the fall debates, the sparring between President Obama and Mitt Romney and their running mates has been notable for the absence of an issue Mr. Romney has pressed on the campaign trail and in his television advertising: China. When American policy toward Beijing does come up Tuesday night - or next week, when it will be one of five designated topics in a debate focused solely on foreign affairs - Mr. Romney will have plenty of arguments to draw on. LINK

The Boston Globe's Matt Viser: " Candidates prepare for possibly pivotal debate on Long Island Tuesday" With just three weeks to go before voters head to the polls, President Obama and Mitt Romney both enter the second presidential debate on Tuesday night with vital missions: the incumbent needs to display the urgency that he lacked in the first debate, while the challenger is hoping to build on the momentum his campaign has seized over the past 10 days. With Super Bowl-sized audiences tuning in to the latest chapter in what's become a weekly political mini-series, President Obama's task is hard to difficult to overstate. LINK

MITT ROMNEY The Los Angeles Times' Matea Gold: " Romney posts a surge in donations" Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney saw a surge of donations in September, bringing in $170 million, a major cash infusion that will help pay for a deluge of advertising in the final weeks of the White House contest. Romney came close to matching the $181 million that President Obama raised last month - and he did so during a rocky period for his candidacy and before his solid performance in the Oct. 3 debate, an event that greatly energized the Republican base. LINK

Politico's Joe Scarborough: " Romney's Electoral College gains" Is Mitt Romney surging ahead of Barack Obama in the battleground states that will elect the next president? USA Today says "yes" and insiders in the Democratic Party are growing more concerned by the day that the President's built-in advantage in the Electoral College has all but disappeared. LINK

BATTLEGROUND STATES The Washington Times' Dave Boyer: " In battleground states, race is now hand-to-hand combat" Since President Obama's lackluster showing at the first debate two weeks ago, the race has tightened across the board, both in national surveys and where it matters most - in the 11 battleground states that will decide the election. In every state still considered up for grabs Nov. 6, the Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls shows Republican nominee Mitt Romney has gained ground on the president - and has taken the lead outright in Colorado, Florida and North Carolina. LINK

Bloomberg's Jonathan Salant: " Romney Ties Obama Among Likely Women Voters in Swing States" The USA Today/Gallup poll gave Romney a 50 percent to 46 percent lead among likely voters in the 12 swing states. Romney led 54 percent to 42 percent among men likely to go to the polls and was tied at 48 percent among likely women voters in states that strategists in both parties say will decide who wins the White House on Nov. 6. Both candidates are focusing on the battleground states during the final weeks of the campaign. LINK

USA Today's Susan Page: " Swing States poll: Women push Romney into lead" Mitt Romney leads President Obama by four percentage points among likely voters in the nation's top battlegrounds, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and he has growing enthusiasm among women to thank. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Taxpayer Waste: $18 Billion Listed" LINK

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