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 21, 2012

  • Crucial Senate Race in Uproar

    By Naftali Bendavid and Louise Radnofsky. The Wall Street Journal

    Fearing a likely election victory is now in doubt, Republican leaders and candidates on Monday called on Missouri Rep. Todd Akin to abandon his bid for a crucial Senate seat because of his suggestion that women's bodies can avert pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape.''

    Read more
  • GOP cuts support after Mo. lawmaker Akin's rape remarks

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    A growing controversy over his comments about rape victims has placed Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., under pressure from senior Republican officials to bow out of his Senate race today so the GOP can nominate someone with better odds of defeating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    Read more
  • Independents favor cooperation, are dissatisfied with political system

    By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    President Obama and Mitt Romney are waging one of the most partisan campaigns in recent memory, energizing their bases with heated rhetoric and harsh tactics. But among political independents, some of the most prized voters in the electorate, speaking more softly about the other side may be a key to winning their support.

    Read more
  • Obama defends tenor of his campaign, slams Romney

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Denounced by his Republican rival for divisiveness, President Barack Obama on Monday defended the tone of his campaign in a combative election year and insisted it's actually Mitt Romney's ads that are "patently false." But Obama did distance himself from a particularly provocative negative ad by a political group that supports him.

    Read more
  • Obama Campaign This Time Around: Brutal... And Purposely So

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    President Obama's reelection effort isn't the toughest, or most aggressive, in American history. It only looks and feels that way compared with the gauzy memories most have of the lilt, sunshine, and post-partisan pixie dust of 2008.

    Read more from the National Journal

Aug 20, 2012

  • A look at "The Ryan Effect" on the 2012 campaign

    By John Dickerson, CBS News

    The presidential campaigns paused for the day on Sunday. President Obama attended church in Washington, while Mitt Romney attended services in New Hampshire. It's been a busy week since Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate. "The Ryan Effect" has put some oxygen into the race.

    View and read more
  • Afghan policeman kills U.S. service member on joint patrol

    By Martha Raddatz and Muhammad Lila, ABC News

    A U.S. service member was killed in southern Afghanistan today on a patrol with Afghan security forces when one of the Afghans turned his weapon on the Americans, the latest in a rash of what the ISAF is now calling “insider” attacks on American troops.

    Read more
  • Conservative group plans to push Republicans toward action on climate, cleaner energy

    By Coral Davenport, National Journal

    In a campaign season where energy and climate change have become partisan lightning rods, a small but growing group of Republicans are pushing back against their party’s orthodoxy on both issues.

    Read more from National Journal
  • Rahm Emanuel, Tim Kaine, among convention speakers

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    The Democratic convention will feature a slate of familiar faces and up-and-comers who will frame the race for the White House as a choice between two economic visions, offering insider views of President Obama making tough decisions, assessments of how his policies have played in swing states and an examination of Mitt Romney’s record in Massachusetts.

    Read more
  • Obama hears call for bipartisanship during Sunday sermon

    By Christi Parsons, The Los Angeles Times

    On the Sunday morning TV news shows, surrogates for President Obama and Mitt Romney were duking it out over healthcare, Medicare and whether their ads are getting too nasty. Both candidates, meanwhile, were at worship with their families.

    Read more

Aug 17, 2012

  • GOP ticket's views on renewable energy raising concerns in rural red states

    By Coral Davenport, National Journal

    Rural America almost always votes reliably red. But many farmers say they’re growing uneasy with the Republican presidential ticket’s opposition to renewable-energy policies that have helped them economically — and that could hurt the GOP this year in traditionally friendly farm country.

    Read more from National Journal
  • Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan pursue united front strategy

    By Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei

    Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan plan to campaign together again sooner than aides had originally planned, likely twice next week, as part of a new offensive to take on the touchy issue of Medicare, campaign officials tell POLITICO.

    Read more
  • New rules expose bigger funding gaps for public pensions

    By Michael A. Fletcher

    Already-strapped state and local governments are coming under increasing pressure to reduce pension benefits or increase taxpayer contributions that help pay for them because of new rules that would require them to report those obligations more honestly, advocates say.

    Read more
  • Ryan says his plan keeps Obama's health savings

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan acknowledged on Thursday that his proposed healthcare reforms rely on many of the same spending reductions for which he has criticized President Barack Obama, something that could undercut a central message of the Republican campaign.

    Read more
  • Romney: Never paid less than 13 percent in taxes

    By Charles Babington and Steve Peoples, Associated Press

    Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney declared Thursday he has paid at least 13 percent of his income in federal taxes every year for the past decade, offering that new detail while still decrying a "small-minded" fascination over returns he will not release. President Barack Obama's campaign shot back in doubt: "Prove it."

    Read More
  • Political Perceptions: The Ryan Medicaid Questions

    By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal

    The choice of Paul Ryan to be Mitt Romney’s running mate has pushed Medicare onto the front pages. That’s because the Wisconsin congressman wants to make sweeping changes in the program to slow the growth in its costs, essentially giving future elderly a set sum to shop among competing private insurance plans (much as President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act would do for some low- and moderate-income families not covered by government insurance).

    Read more
  • Tax Analysts, Responding to Critics, Reaffirm Findings on Romney Plan

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, after considering conservative critiques of its recent, much-publicized analysis of Mitt Romney’s tax agenda, said on Thursday that its conclusion stands: His proposals would mean big tax cuts for the highest-income taxpayers and increases for everyone else.

    Read more

Aug 16, 2012

  • Why Paul Ryan is really different

    With David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal

    What makes Paul Ryan's budget so different from those of earlier generations of Republicans -- including Jack Kemp (his mentor) and the last three Republican presidents?

    View and Read more
  • Obama's Iowa bus tour -- by the numbers

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    3 . . . Days on the road

    471 . . . Miles traversed by Obama’s black bus, dubbed Ground Force One

    7 . . . Official speech events (plus visits to drought-afflicted farm and a wind-turbine farm)

    7 . . . Unannounced “surprise” photo ops (at eateries, a pub, the Iowa State Fair, a school)

    Read more
  • Romney seeks to undercut Obama's likability lead

    By Charles Babington, The Associated Press

    Mitt Romney is portraying the outwardly calm President Barack Obama as a man seething with animosity and power lust as the Republicans seek to undermine one of the Democrat's greatest campaign strengths — his personal likability.

    Read more