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!

Apr 12, 2012

  • Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney: Self-Restraint in an Age of Rage

    By John F. Harris, Politico

    American politics has become so angry and divisive that it favors candidates who appeal to extremists and eccentrics, and even are extremist and eccentric themselves. The nonstop circus of modern campaigns, meanwhile, has left the county’s most accomplished and capable people on the sidelines, with scant interest in running for office. Or so the argument goes. But something strange—or rather something normal—is happening in 2012.
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  • Romney Rebuts Claims that He, GOP are Anti-Women

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Presidential candidate Mitt Romney intensified his efforts Wednesday to rebut claims that he and fellow Republicans are insufficiently supportive of women, or even hostile to them. For the second straight day, the presumptive GOP nominee campaigned at a female-owned work site, and denounced Democrats for saying his party is waging "a war on women."
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    Mitt Romney speaks in Warwick, RI (CNN)

  • How the World's Most Exclusive Club Was Born

    By Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, TIME

    It was one of those moments that, in a mere second or two, changed American history: On January 20, 1953, at the inauguration of President Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman greeted Herbert Hoover on the platform. "I think we ought to organize a former presidents club," Hoover suggested. "Fine," Truman replied. "You be the President of the club. And I will be the Secretary." Up to that moment, the Presidents Club was more an idea than an institution.
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  • George Zimmerman Charged With 2nd Degree Murder in Trayvon Martin's Death

    By Matt Gutman, Candace Smith and Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who admits he shot unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, was charged with murder today and has been taken into custody. The charge of second degree murder was announced by Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey at a news conference this evening.
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  • Ann Romney Tweets; What Would Hillary Do?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    You've come a long way, baby? Somehow the 2012 campaign has regressed back to 1992 (some would say even decades earlier) when Hillary Clinton kicked up a storm for saying "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.''
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  • Obama Won’t Order Ban on Gay Bias by Employers

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    President Obama disappointed and vexed gay supporters on Wednesday with his decision, conveyed to activists by a senior adviser, not to sign an executive order banning discrimination by employers with federal contracts.
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  • The Campaign is On, and So Are the Fake Fights

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Today is for all intents and purposes the first full day of the 2012 general election for president. If you scan headlines, blog posts, and Twitter feeds, you'll notice two stories are sucking up a lot of the coverage of the race: President Obama's push for a "Buffett Rule" to force millionaires to pay the same effective federal tax rate as middle-class Americans, and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's claims that Obama is waging an economic war on women.
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Apr 11, 2012

  • Obama Goes on Offensive Over Taxes on Wealthy

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    All but certain now that his Republican opponent will be Mitt Romney, President Obama has made his proposed “Buffett Rule” minimum tax for the wealthiest Americans like Mr. Romney a centerpiece of his re-election campaign, defying the political risk of being seen as a tax-and-spender by wary voters.
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    President Obama speaks about the 'Buffett Rule' (CNN)

  • With Rick Santorum Out of GOP Presidential Race, Mitt Romney Shifts Focus to Obama

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    Rick Santorum’s decision to suspend his presidential campaign Tuesday effectively ended the race for the Republican nomination, giving likely nominee Mitt Romney the opportunity to repair the damage he sustained in the primary contests, rally reluctant conservatives behind his candidacy and shift his focus to President Obama.
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  • Obama to Millionaires: Time to Pony Up!

    With Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    WSJ's Laura Meckler checks in on Mean Street to discuss President Obama's plan to pressure Republicans into supporting a minimum tax on millionaires, also known as the 'Buffett Rule.'

    Watch Video on Wall Street Journal

  • Obama-Romney Showdown Starts with a Harsh Tone

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The 2012 presidential general election has begun. It won't be pretty. Tuesday marked Day One, in essence, of the contest between the two virtually certain nominees, Republican Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. Rick Santorum's departure removed the last meaningful bump from Romney's path to the GOP nomination. Romney and Obama wasted no time in portraying the voters' choice in dire, sometimes starkly personal terms.
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  • Obama's 'Buffett Rule'

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    CNBC's Eamon Javers breaks down President Obama's tax policy that would ensure millionaires pay the same effective tax rate as the middle class.

    Watch Video on CNBC

  • Game Over

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Over to you, Governor Romney. Rick Santorum has left the Republican presidential race, ending the most successful run by an improbable GOP candidate since publisher Steve Forbes' run in 1996. At the start of the presidential campaign, few in political circles would have predicted that a senator who had lost his last race by 17 points, who had no money, no pollster, and few endorsements, would win 11 contests.
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Apr 10, 2012

  • Rick Santorum to Drop Out of the Presidential Race

    By Aaron Blake and Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    Rick Santorum announced Tuesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign, all but bringing to a close the 2012 GOP presidential contest and effectively handing the nomination to Mitt Romney. “We made a decision over the weekend that, while this presidential race for us is over — for me — and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting,” Santorum said at a campaign event in Gettysburg, Pa., the site of the historic and pivotal Civil War battle.
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  • Health-Care Law Will Add $340 Billion to Deficit, New Study Finds

    By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    President Obama’s landmark health-care initiative, long touted as a means to control costs, will actually add more than $340 billion to the nation’s budget woes over the next decade, according to a new study by a Republican member of the board that oversees Medicare financing.
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    A pharmacist sorts medicine (CNN, File Photo)

  • The Buffett Rule Won’t Get You a Job

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    On the seventh and final page of its background report on the "Buffett Rule," out this morning, the Obama administration finally dives into what it calls “the economic rationale” for imposing a new minimum tax rate on millionaires. If you’re an unemployed American, that placement should be your first red flag. The second should be the rationale itself.
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  • Obama Holds Key Leads on Romney, as Economy Malaise Looms over Reelection Bid

    By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, Washington Post

    With the general-election campaign beginning to take shape, President Obama holds clear advantages over Mitt Romney on personal attributes and a number of key issues, but remains vulnerable to discontent with the pace of the economic recovery, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
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  • Obama to Make Case for ‘Buffett Rule’

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    Previewing the message that President Obama will take to Florida on Tuesday, his economic team released a brief report making the case for his “Buffett Rule,” a proposal that would ensure the wealthiest Americans pay at least 30 percent of their income in federal taxes.
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  • Veterans Return Home to Face Unemployment Battle

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman reports that as tens of thousands of young veterans come home from the wars, many are struggling to find work with civilian employers who don’t recognize their skills, haven’t shared their experiences and aren’t sure what to make of them.
    Watch Video

Apr 09, 2012

  • ‘Super PAC,’ Eyeing General Election, Aims Blitz at Obama

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    American Crossroads, the biggest of the Republican “super PACs,” is planning to begin its first major anti-Obama advertising blitz of the year, a moment the Obama re-election campaign has been girding for and another sign that the general election is starting in earnest. With an anticipated bank account of more than $200 million, officials at American Crossroads said they would probably begin their campaign this month.
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    President Obama addresses members of the press at the White House (CNN, File Photo)