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!

Nov 11, 2011

  • The Vacuum

    by Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    If you want a clear sense of why the Republican presidential candidates have been largely ignoring foreign policy, look no further than the most recent Gallup Poll asking Americans to identify their top concern. For nearly four years—from April 2004 to January 2008—a plurality of voters pointed to Iraq. In the late-October survey, however, just 1 percent of Americans said it was the country’s most important problem. Of those respondents, not a single one was a Republican.

    Read more in the National Journal
  • Debate Remainders: Autos and Audiences

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    First, the autos.  A supporting role in last night's Republican primary debate was played by the host state of Michigan, home to the American auto industry.  This state is personal for frontrunner Mitt Romney. He was born there. His father served as governor. He launched his last presidential campaign from the Henry Ford Museum of Innovation in Dearborn, wrapping himself in the Americana that the auto industry represents.

    Read more in the National Journal
  • Cain's best damage control: Release everything

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    When you consider the array of public men who have been forced, in one way or another, to come clean on their bad behavior, the list is not insubstantial: a president (Bill Clinton), presidential candidates (John Edwards, Gary Hart), governors (Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer), senators (John Ensign, David Vitter). And that's just the top tier.

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  • Romney readies Iowa ad as Cain, Perry address woes

    by Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is preparing for a higher profile in Iowa, where he possibly could land a knockout punch if two top rivals don't quickly fix their campaign problems and back-of-the-pack contenders such as Newt Gingrich don't move quickly to energize voters.

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  • Activist's Antitax Pledge Looms Large in Debt Talks

    by Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal

    As Congress's special deficit-cutting committee struggles to reach a deal before a Thanksgiving deadline, one powerful figure looming over the proceedings isn't even a member—Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

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  • White House thinks Obama has regained 'upper hand' with GOP on economy

    By Sam Youngman, The Hill

    President Obama has regained the “upper hand” on economic issues with voters, according to White House officials, who warned Republicans that running against tax cuts for the middle class is a “very dangerous place to be.”

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  • Obama and Veterans: Can a Hawkish Dove Gain Their Support?

    by Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics.com

    Sen. John McCain, a former Navy pilot and prisoner of war, captured the lion's share of the millions of ballots cast by active-duty military and veterans in 2008. His leg-up with that demographic was no secret well before Election Day. Now comes a question for 2012: Will a Republican presidential nominee do as well or better challenging commander-in-chief Obama among military voters?

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Nov 10, 2011

  • Why Crises Mount, Persist: Who Should Pay?

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Both in U.S. and Europe, the financial crisis like so many others before is being prolonged by delays in deciding who gets stuck with the losses.

    Watch
  • Obama orders steps to help veterans find jobs

    By Christi Parsons and Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama used his executive authority to announce a few small steps to help military veterans find jobs, part of a campaign to show that he is fighting unemployment while Congress remains in political gridlock over how to boost hiring.

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  • Debt-reduction talks at an impasse despite ‘breakthrough’

    By Lori Montgomery and Felicia Sonmez, The Washington Post

    A senior Democrat on Wednesday hailed a decision by congressional Republicans to embrace higher taxes as “a breakthrough” in the year-long battle over the national debt. But that development only seemed to intensify partisan bickering over the shape of a debt-reduction blueprint.

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  • Can Barack Obama be more like Bill Clinton?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    "President Obama has had a tough hand to play," the former president writes in "Back to Work," his passionate little book about, well, mostly about what Bill Clinton would do if he were in the White House today.

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  • Analysis: Romney stronger than ever in GOP race

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    With eight weeks left before Republicans start voting for a presidential nominee, things could hardly be going better for Mitt Romney.

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  • Mitt Romney: Fortune's Favorite?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    If you’re wondering why Mitt Romney -- despite a health care record that’s anathema to the Republican party, a history of flip-flopping on issues dear to conservatives, and an awkward style on the stump -- is viewed as the most likely GOP nominee in 2012, the answer can be found in a one-word response by one of his rivals in Tuesday’s debate.

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  • Will Perry’s gaffe doom his campaign?

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    Rick Perry, who bounded onto the national stage with a Texas swagger, strident talk of bulldozing Washington and rooting out Ponzi schemes, got something last night that he probably never imagined he would get — pity from Michele Bachmann.

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  • Who will emerge as Romney’s real rival? Republican debate doesn’t offer clues.

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    With fewer than 60 days until the Iowa caucuses, the struggle to become the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney is now the central dynamic of the Republican presidential campaign. Wednesday night’s debate in Michigan did little to clarify who will ultimately emerge to challenge the former Massachusetts governor, but it may have shown who will not.

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  • Panel Is at Impasse, but Obama Sees No Reason to Step In

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    The White House’s expectations for the special Congressional committee on deficit reduction, never high, have been all but dashed now that the panel has reached a partisan impasse less than two weeks before it is supposed to recommend a compromise plan.

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  • An ‘Oops’ From Perry in G.O.P. Presidential Debate

    By Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker, New York Times

    A day after an embarrassing stumble raised new questions about his presidential candidacy, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said Thursday that he had no intention of leaving the race, and he tried using humor to deflect a fresh round of stinging Republican criticism.

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Nov 09, 2011

  • Republicans offer tax deal to break debt impasse; Democrats dismiss it

    By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    Congressional Republicans have for the first time retreated from their hard-line stance against new taxes, offering to raise federal tax collections by nearly $300 billion over the next decade as part of a plan to tame the national debt.

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  • Clinton recants part of new book

    By John F. Harris, POLITICO

    Former president Bill Clinton announced Tuesday night that he is trying once daily to say out loud “either ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I was wrong.’”

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  • Virginia elections may be a warning sign for Obama

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    Tuesday’s legislative elections in Virginia appeared likely to add more evidence — as if national Democrats needed it — that the terrain of the political map will be significantly more rugged for President Obama next year.

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