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!

Aug 01, 2012

  • New Polls Show Obama Has Edge in 3 Battleground States

    by Jeff Zeleny and Dalia Sussman, The New York Times

    President Obama is struggling to persuade voters that he deserves to win re-election based on his handling of the economy, but his empathy and personal appeal give him an edge over Mitt Romney in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, according to Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls.

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  • Mitt Romney wraps up tumultuous overseas tour

    By Philip Rucker and Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    WARSAW — Mitt Romney had just delivered a policy speech here Tuesday — hailing Poland for its fiscal austerity — when ABC’s “Good Morning America” came on air back home with a live report from the speech venue.

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  • Obama Campaign Calls Romney Trip ‘Disaster’

    By Laura Meckler, The Wall Street Journal

    President Barack Obama’s campaign ripped into opponent Mitt Romney’s just-completed foreign trip, calling it “an embarrassing disaster” and a failed test for a potential commander in chief.

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  • Fed Mulls Another Boost to Ailing Economy

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    The Federal Reserve doesn’t usually drop hints and then fail to follow through with them. Fed officials spent much of July hinting that a new batch of monetary stimulus is in the works, both in public speeches and bugs carefully placed in influential reporters’ ears.

    Read more in the National Journal
  • Regulator Leaves Underwater Homeowners High and Dry

    by Deborah Solomon, Bloomberg News

    After months of stalling, Edward DeMarco finally slammed the door on hundreds of thousands of beleaguered homeowners looking for relief.   DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said today that he won't allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to engage in debt relief for borrowers who owe much more than their homes are worth.

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Jul 31, 2012

  • A Portrait Of A Country Awash In 'Red Ink'

    by David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal

    As the federal debt balloons, reducing it would seem more and more pressing. Yet policymakers remain far apart. Debt, deficit and budget rhetoric is often accompanied by numbers cherry-picked to support a particular political view.    But a new book by Wall Street Journal economics writer David Wessel lays out the numbers that both political parties face.

    Listen to the report
  • Democrats Set to Include Gay-Marriage Plank

    by Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal

    The Democratic Platform Drafting Committee has unanimously approved a plank that endorses same-sex marriage, likely making the recommendation part of a major-party platform for the first time, Democratic aides say.

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  • Romney Goes After Obama On Alleged Leaking Of Secrets

    by Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The latest national security issue to figure in the presidential campaign has little to do with Iran, Afghanistan or other foreign policy challenges. Mitt Romney is instead focusing on what he and other Republicans allege is the Obama administration's record of leaking classified information for political purposes.

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  • Romney & tax questions

    with John Harwood, CNBC

    Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is overseas hoping to boost his foreign policy credibility, with CNBC's John Harwood.

    Watch at CNBC
  • Romney's Rules of Diplomacy: Some Slipped Out of the Briefing Book

    by James Kitfield, National Journal

    For any man who would be president there are unwritten rules of foreign diplomacy. Mitt Romney seems to have internalized some, while others apparently slipped out of the briefing book on his flight across the Atlantic to debut as a potential leader of the free world. 

    Read more in the National Journal

Jul 30, 2012

  • Early Voting May Hold Key to 2012 Election

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    Campaign strategists working for President Obama and Mitt Romney say they're organized for an October election. And both candidates believe early voting in key battleground states could conceivably forecast the next president days and perhaps weeks before most voters turn out on Nov. 6. Early voting -- which has become a significant trend since 2004 -- helps explain why July’s campaign advertising for and against the presidential contenders has been so intense well before most of the country goes to the polls. It’s part of the reason why both candidates this summer have put a premium on mobilizing their respective bases, and wooing fence-sitters where they can.

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  • Eight Questions that will shape the 2012 campaign in the final 100 days

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Question 1: Will the campaign be relentlessly negative to the end?
    Isn't the answer already obvious? President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney have already spent $59 million to air more than 170,000 negative ads, according to Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group. And that doesn't include the handiwork of the super PACs, which are spending prodigiously and whose ads will be even more negative than those by the candidates.

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  • Bill Clinton to Have Leading Role at Party’s Convention

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Former President Bill Clinton is set to play a central part in the Democratic convention, aides said, and will formally place President Obama’s name into nomination by delivering a prime-time speech designed to present a forceful economic argument for why Mr. Obama deserves to win a second term.

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  • The Slow Agony of the Obama Recovery

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Under President Obama, America is experiencing one of its weakest recoveries from recession in the modern statistical era. This is the indisputable conclusion from the past three years of job-creation and economic-expansion data, reinforced by Friday’s Commerce Department estimate that gross domestic product grew by just 1.5 percent in the second quarter of this year. This is why surrogates for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney hammered Obama over the GDP number on Friday morning. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said the figures were the “the latest sign of a failed economic agenda.” Glenn Hubbard, the dean of Columbia University’s business school and Romney’s top economic adviser, called the statistics “very disappointing for the future of the economy.”

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  • Mitt Romney's Overseas Tour

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood reports on Mitt Romney's overseas tour and the 100-day countdown until the presidential election.

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Jul 26, 2012

  • Assessing Romney's trip abroad, and both sides' negative ads

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    What are the goals of Mitt Romney's trip in Europe? And how attack ads defining both Romney and President Obama? Charlie Rose and Erica Hill asked CBS News political director John Dickerson.

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  • Obama, Romney differ over guns after Colo. attack

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The politics of guns leapt to the top of the presidential race Wednesday, as President Barack Obama embraced some degree of control of weapons sales and Republican Mitt Romney seemed to suggest an alleged mass killer in Colorado had obtained his weapons illegally even though he hadn't. Speaking to a mostly black audience in New Orleans, Obama said he would seek a consensus on combating violence. He said some responsibility also rests with parents, neighbors and teachers to ensure that young people "do not have that void inside them."

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  • Senate passes bill to keep tax cuts for the middle class

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    The Senate on Wednesday narrowly approved a plan to preserve tax cuts for the middle class while letting them expire for the wealthy, a powerful if largely symbolic victory for Democrats who have been pushing to raise taxes on the rich for more than a decade. The measure is dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled House, where leaders are preparing to vote next week on their own plan to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for households at every income level through 2013.

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  • The NRA has won

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Politicians haven't always been allergic to gun control, not even Republicans. In 1968, after the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and the Rev.Martin Luther King Jr., Congress — on a bipartisan vote — outlawed guns sales to felons and the mentally ill. In 1993, when Congress passed the Brady bill requiring background checks for gun purchasers, former President Reagan, who narrowly escaped assassination in 1981, was among its supporters. In 1994, when Congress passed a ban on assault weapons, 10 Republican senators supported the provision. And as recently as 2002, when Mitt Romney ran for governor of Massachusetts, he declared himself strongly in favor of "tough gun laws."

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  • Jeb to Keynote Convention Luncheon -- and More?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    One of the many uncomfortable decisions surrounding the speaking lineup at the Republican nominating convention is how to juggle Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush is a strong, bilingual speaker beloved by the Republican faithful and frequently mentioned as a future presidential candidate. Scott is not. But with the two former presidents with the Bush surname not coming to the convention, how can the party put the former governor on the stage and not the current executive?

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