The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday October 23, 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

TAKEAWAYS ABC News' Abby Phillip: " Who Won? Political Analysts on the Final Debate" The final presidential debate on foreign policy appeared to be a win for President Obama, but a successful effort by Republican nominee Mitt Romney to return the conversation to the economy, ABC News political analysts said. "The president won tonight," said ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd. "Here's why: I think they both came in with different agendas, but the president was more successful." LINK

Politico's Maggie Haberman: " Presidential debate 2012: 7 takeaways" The curtain has fallen on the final debate of the 2012 cycle, yet one question remains unanswered - will it change anything? President Obama was on the attack, Mitt Romney modulated toward the center, and Bob Schieffer played it low-key in the moderator's seat in the Lynn University face-off in Boca Raton, Fla. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Janet Hook: " Rivals Seek Points by Going Off-Topic" The sponsors promised a foreign-policy debate, but the candidates didn't stick to the script. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney ranged far from international affairs, wading deep into the economic issues that are voters' top concern. The path was dictated more by the candidates' political needs than the agenda of debate organizers. LINK

REVERSING ROLES ABC News' Russell Goldman: " Whoppers, Bayonets and Zingers in Final Presidential Debate" President Obama was on the offensive during the third and final presidential debate tonight, hitting Mitt Romney for shifting on foreign policy positions and pointedly telling Romney, "Every time you've offered an opinion you've been wrong." Romney agreed with Obama during much of the debate that concentrated on foreign policy, but had sharp words for the president on the Middle East saying the president "wasted these four years" by failing to stop Iran's nuclear program and allowing the Middle East to descend into "tumult." LINK

The Boston Globe's Glen Johnson: " Obama gives his strongest debate performance" President Obama dissected Mitt Romney's foreign policy views on Monday, suggesting the former businessman lacked the familiarity, consistency, and forward-looking approach to be an effective president. It was perhaps the boldest statement of a night that saw Obama turn in his strongest debate performance against Romney. If there was one downside, it was on the topic - foreign affairs - that polls have consistently shown ranks well behind job creation and economic recovery as most important on voters' minds. LINK

The Hill's Justin Sink and Amie Parnes: " Obama hits Romney hard in debate" President Obama and Mitt Romney took each other on in the final presidential debate of the 2012 campaign Monday night, fighting to prove their credentials as the right leader for America on the world stage. Obama battled aggressively, repeatedly throwing darts at Romney and seeking to portray his opponent as "wrong and reckless" on foreign policy. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' David Lauter and Christi Parsons: " Obama reverses roles, comes out swinging at Romney in final debate" President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney made their closing appeals to voters in a final debate that featured an unusual reversal of strategy - Obama adopted the typical challenger's stance of underscoring differences, while Romney repeatedly sought to mute them. LINK

The New York Daily News' " Presidential debate: Determined Obama goes on attack, painting Mitt Romney as reckless and inconsistent in world affairs" President Obama lacerated Mitt Romney Monday during their third and final debate Monday, repeatedly painting his Republican rival as wrong, reckless and inconsistent in world affairs. Romney accused Obama of being ineffective on the global stage - but in a surprise, he soft-pedaled several of his differences with Obama and even agreed with the President on a host of policies. LINK

The Washington Post's Dan Balz and David Nakamura: " Obama keeps Romney on his heels in last debate" President Obama and Mitt Romney clashed repeatedly over foreign policy here Monday night, with the president arguing assertively that Romney has lacked the consistency or clarity of vision to lead the country while the Republican nominee charged that Obama has been weak and ineffective in the face of growing turmoil in the world. The two candidates differed most sharply over the president's handling of the uprisings in the Middle East, his efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and his treatment of Israel. LINK

FOREIGN POLICY The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " Obama, Romney tangle on al Qaeda, foreign policy in final presidential debate" Mitt Romney accused President Obama of failing to protect the military from budget cuts and squandering U.S. leadership in the Middle East, leaving America standing by as al Qaeda has surged to become active in a dozen countries, as the two men faced off Monday night in their final debate. LINK

The New York Times' Peter Baker and Helene Cooper: " Obama and Romney Bristle From Start Over Foreign Policy" President Obama and Mitt Romney wrapped up a series of defining debates on Monday night with a bristling exchange over America's place in the world as each sought to portray the other as an unreliable commander in chief in a dangerous era. Picking up where he left off in last week's debate, Mr. Obama went on offense from the start, lacerating his challenger for articulating a set of "wrong and reckless" policies that he called incoherent. LINK

Bloomberg's Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Indira A.R. Lakshmanan: " Obama Cites Foreign Policy Wins as Romney Mostly Agrees" President Barack Obama kept Mitt Romney on the defensive on foreign policy in their final debate before the election, as his Republican rival worked to criticize the incumbent's leadership while endorsing most major actions he has taken. The president sought to portray the former Massachusetts governor as ill-prepared to assume the mantle of commander in chief, branding his statements on international challenges as "all over the map" and his positions "wrong and reckless." LINK

GOP USA Today's Susan Davis: " GOP has firm grasp on House, but Dems Won't fold" Control of the White House and the U.S. Senate is up for grabs on Election Day, but as certain as anything is in politics, it's safe to bet that Republicans will continue to control the U.S. House in the next Congress - and maybe well beyond. Republicans control the House, and although Democrats have many good prospects to chip away at their majority, the nation's top election forecasters are decisively pessimistic about Democrats' chances of gaining the 25 seats they need to take control of the chamber. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO: " The Foreign-Policy Debate That Sort of Wasn't" LINK " Final Presidential Debate 2012 Analysis: Fact Checking the Debate" LINK

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