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 05, 2012

  • ‘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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  • 10 Questions With Rick Santorum

    With John Harwood, New York Times and CNBC.

    After losses in Arizona and Michigan, the Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum seeks new momentum for next week’s Super Tuesday contests. Mr. Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, aims to move beyond controversies over his views on social issues and emphasize economic proposals — including his signature idea of eliminating corporate taxes for manufacturing firms.
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Mar 01, 2012

  • Romney Appeals for Working-Class Votes in Ohio

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appealed for the support of working-class Americans in industrial Ohio on Wednesday, a day after narrowly averting a humiliating defeat by rival Rick Santorum in Romney's home state of Michigan.
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  • That Presidential Voice

    By Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair

    Mitt Romney’s narrow win in his home state of Michigan and his comfortable victory in Arizona salvaged his presidential candidacy, if not his former aura of inevitability, and remade the Republican nominating race yet again. “We didn’t win by a lot but we won by enough, and that’s all that counts!” Romney said in slightly goofy understatement.
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  • President Offers Theme of Nation Seeing a Comeback

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    President Obama has a new message: America has gotten its groove back. In ways large and small, Mr. Obama has seized on a narrative of national optimism in recent weeks, offering a portrait of a country that, guided by him and powered by the American worker, is making a comeback.
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    President Barack Obama (CNN)

  • Candidates Scramble to Create Differences

    By John Harwood, New York Times

    Facing big hurdles here in Mitt Romney’s native state, Rick Santorum seized on the novel tactic of attacking his rival for agreeing with him. Mr. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, accused Mr. Romney of turning his back on Detroit by opposing federal bailouts for the auto industry — the same bailouts that Mr. Santorum also opposed.
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  • Romney Won't Be A Pushover in November

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Mitt Romney started as the odds-on favorite for the GOP nomination, and he's never really lost that spot. Still, he's had a rough six weeks. He's been attacked by his Republican rivals as both a heartless capitalist and a closet liberal. He's committed gaffes that make him sound like a caricature of a clueless rich guy. And the Democratic president he wants to replace has surged ahead of him (and all the other GOP challengers) in head-to-head polls.
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Feb 29, 2012

  • He’s Alive!

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    In the state where Mitt Romney was born, his campaign did not die. Despite his many advantages in Michigan, the race was a nail-biter. In the end, Romney won 41 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Rick Santorum. “We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough but that’s all that counts,” said Romney at his victory party, looking relieved to have survived another near-death experience. In Arizona, he clobbered the former Pennsylvania senator 47 percent to 26 percent. By the end of the night, Romney captured more than 30 new delegates. On that score, he is now well ahead of his rivals.
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  • Mitt Romney Survives Michigan Primary, Looks to Super Tuesday

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    February was supposed to be Mitt Romney’s month, a time when he could put distance between himself and his rivals for the Republican nomination with a series of contests on generally friendly terrain. Instead it turned into a grinding endurance test far more difficult than anything he or his campaign had imagined.
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    Mitt Romney delivering a victory speech in Novi, Mich (CNN)

  • As Gas Prices Spike, Obama May Tap Oil Reserve

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    Expectations are high that President Obama will tap the nation's oil reserves by this summer to respond to rising gasoline prices as he seeks a second term, according to analysts who stand on all sides of the question.
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  • Obama Targets UAW on Michigan Primary Day

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman reports on President Obama's appearance in front of auto workers on the day of the Michigan primary. She speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Inside Track."

    Watch Video on Bloomberg News

  • Michigan and Arizona: Bruising GOP Primaries Brighten Obama’s Prospects

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    When President Obama accused Republicans who opposed the auto industry bailout of peddling a “load of you know what,” he might have been describing the residue in Michigan and Arizona for Republicans now that the two primaries are over. Obama is in better shape in both states since the GOP circus came to town, with higher favorable ratings than before and with an elevated profile among key constituencies, like blue-collar voters and women who have new appreciation of his handling of the auto bailouts and the contraception issue. The bruising primary campaigns didn’t elevate Obama all by themselves.
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Feb 28, 2012

  • I’m One of You! No, Really!

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Mitt Romney reminds voters at every campaign stop in Michigan that he is a local boy. He points out school friends, the cemetery where his parents are buried—his father picked the plot because it was the cheapest—and talks about vacations they took in his family’s rambler. In Traverse City on Sunday, he delighted the packed house on how he stole his first kiss from his wife Ann on a beach down the road. It seems to be working.
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  • Oil Prices Could Hurt Global Recovery

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    Oil prices remain at multi-month highs, causing concern that lofty prices could hurt the global economic recovery.CNBC's Eamon Javers reports.

    Watch Video on CNBC

  • Strife Spurs Rethinking of Afghan Mission

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    As violence continued Monday in Afghanistan over the accidental burning of Qurans by U.S. troops last week, American military officials and analysts are beginning to question whether the United States needs to change its mission of training Afghan soldiers and police, a key plank of President Obama's withdrawal strategy.
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  • Tight Race in Michigan

    By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    Polls show Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in a close race for Michigan’s Tuesday primary. Jeff Zeleny reports.
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    Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum (CNN)