Essential Reads

Essential Reads is your one-stop source for the top stories of the day as reported by your favorite Washington Week panelists. It's a simple way to save time and stay informed about the news you need to know. Check it out every day!

Mar 08, 2012

  • Pentagon Leaders Reject Military Intervention in Syria

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    Any U.S. military effort to protect civilians in Syria zone would take weeks to implement, the top Pentagon civilian and military officials said Wednesday, underscoring the limited U.S. options for ending President Bashar Assad's violent campaign against Syrian rebels.
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Mar 07, 2012

  • Romney’s Rivals Have Scant Hope of Closing the Delegate Gap

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    Though Mitt Romney’s opponents continue to insist there is a road to the Republican presidential nomination for them after the Super Tuesday contests, the arithmetic suggests otherwise. How long it will take for the other contenders and their supporters to figure that out — and to make peace with it — is another question.
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    Mitt Romney in Boston, Mass. (CNN)Mitt Romney in Boston, Mass. (CNN)

  • Obama Scolds G.O.P. Critics of Iran Policy

    By Jackie Calmes and Mark Landler, New York Times

    President Obama on Tuesday forcefully rebuked Republicans on the presidential campaign trail and in Congress for “beating the drums of war” in criticizing his efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program, underscoring how squarely the national security issue had entered the election-year debate.
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  • Netanyahu and Obama Still Divided Over Iran

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been working hard to present a united front on Iran, the nation at the heart of a simmering dispute between the two close allies. But there is no disguising the fact that the two leaders remain sharply divided on the way forward.
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  • How the Economy Changes the Campaign

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Is the economy getting better, or do people perceive that it is getting better? David Wessel discusses the impact of the economy on the presidential campaign.

    Watch Video on Wall Street Journal

  • With No Knockout Punch, a Bruising Battle Plods On

    By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    Mitt Romney won the delegates, but not necessarily the argument. His quest to win the Republican presidential nomination has always resembled a detailed, methodical business plan. Mr. Romney, who spent much of his life fixing troubled corporations, must now decide whether steps are necessary to repair his lethargic candidacy.
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Mar 06, 2012

  • How Santorum Became the GOP’s Rocky Balboa

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    I am my campaign. That was Rick Santorum's message at the Dayton Christian School in Miamisburg, Ohio, the day before Super Tuesday. The former Pennsylvania senator recounted how pundits had sniffed at him and how he'd been down in the polls for so long. But he slogged on, as he does today, even though he says he's being outspent 12-to-1 in this key battleground state. Only someone who could muscle through so much adversity can beat Barack Obama, he tells the crowds.
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  • Candidates Hammer Obama Over Iran, but Approaches Differ Little

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    To rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, Mitt Romney says he would conduct naval exercises in the Persian Gulf to remind Iran of American military might. He would try to ratchet up Security Council sanctions on Iran, targeting its Revolutionary Guards, and the country’s central bank and other financial institutions. And if Russia and China do not go along, he says, the United States should team up with other willing governments to put such punitive measures in place.
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  • Santorum and Romney Court Blue-Collar Voters in Ohio

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    If Mitt Romney defeats Rick Santorum in the bellwether primary here on Tuesday, it will be in no small part because he managed to win over one of the most hotly contested and elusive segments of the electorate: white working-class voters. At a metal works in Canton and a welding factory in Youngstown, in mailboxes and on the radio, Mr. Romney’s intense focus on these Republican-leaning voters was in evidence on Monday as he made his closing appeal in Ohio — if not as an everyman, then at least as a chief executive who knows how to generate blue-collar jobs and get factories running again.
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  • Gen. John Allen Stands by U.S. Apology for Koran Burning

    By Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said today he does not regret the apologies he and President Obama issued for the Koran burning incident, arguing that the move -- rare for a U.S. commander in chief -- was the right thing to do and that it had saved American lives.
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  • Two Sets of GOP Voters: Rationals and Notionals

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    There is a way to think about the up-and-down GOP nomination fight that at least partially explains its volatility and the seemingly endless array of short-lived challengers to front-runner Mitt Romney as well as Romney's surprising resilience. It's been the battle between the rationals and the notionals.
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Mar 05, 2012

  • Israel's Brinkmanship, America's Peril

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Last week, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, confirmed a no-longer-surprising fact: the Pentagon has sent the White House a menu of options for going to war with Iran. But that doesn't mean the military thinks bombing Iran would be a good idea. "It's not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran," Schwartz's boss, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on CNN last month, adding that his advice applied to Israel as well as the United States. "A strike at this time would be destabilizing and wouldn't achieve their objectives," Dempsey said.
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  • Mitt Romney's Super Tuesday Push

    With John Harwood, CNBC.

    CNBC's John Harwood has the update on the candidates poll results and the whether or not GOP candidate Mitt Romney, in the lead with 38 percent, can win the nomination.

    Watch Video on CNBC

  • U.S. Commander in Afghanistan – “We owe them” the Apology

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    GENERAL ALLEN: “WE OWE THEM” THE APOLOGY…Martha RADDATZ is the only journalist – print or broadcast – to travel with General John Allen, the Commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. It’s obviously timely – coming in the aftermath of the Koran burnings and killings of six U.S. soldiers.
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  • Before Super Tuesday, Big Names Rally to Romney

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    A reluctant Republican Party is increasingly showing signs of rallying around Mitt Romney in the presidential race, with leading members of Congress and influential conservatives signaling that a coast-to-coast burst of voting on Super Tuesday should mark a moment to start concentrating on defeating President Obama.
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    GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney (CNN)

  • ‘Loose Talk of War’ Only Helps Iran, President Says

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    As Republicans on the campaign trail ramped up their support for Israel in a possible military strike on Iran, President Obama used a speech before a pro-Israel lobbying group on Sunday to warn against the “loose talk of war” that could serve to speed Iran toward a nuclear weapon.
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Mar 02, 2012

  • Home Is Where the Candidate Has to Win

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Resolved: It is really, really important for presidential candidates to win their home states. Pride is on the line, obviously, but a loss on native ground begs a legitimate question: If the candidate can’t win here, why should voters believe the candidate can win anywhere else? In 2012, the stakes are even higher than usual because the Republican primary contest is so volatile.
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    Mitt Romney
    GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney (FlickrCC/Gage Skidmore)

  • Senate Rejects Effort to Roll Back Birth Control Rule

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate today narrowly rejected an amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., to circumvent a controversial Obama administration rule requiring employers to provide contraceptives. The Obama rule has provoked a passionate election year debate about the line between religious freedom and women's health.
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  • $3B Facebook Tax Break?

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    Facebook could use a $3 billion stock-option loophole, allowing a deduction when employees cash in stock options says Sen. Carl Levin, (D-MI). CNBC's Eamon Javers reports.

    Watch Video on CNBC

  • Romney Campaign Downplays Ohio's Importance

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    After eking out a slim victory in his home state of Michigan, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign said Thursday the front-runner for the party's nomination can survive a loss next week in the critical state of Ohio.
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