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 31, 2012

  • Democrats outline convention schedule

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    Just when it seemed as if there could not possibly be any more red, white and blue speeches ringing across the airways from the convention floor, the Democrats are unveiling their counterpunch to the Republican show that has been under way all week in Tampa.

    Read more
  • Obama team sharpens attacks on rivals’ character

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    As the Obama campaign heads into its convention next week, Democrats see openings both to fill in unpopular details of Mitt Romney’s agenda left unsaid by Republicans in Tampa this week and to raise new questions about Mr. Romney’s character after widespread criticism of misstatements by him and his running mate, Paul D. Ryan.

    Read more
  • The risks of Romneynomics

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    It’s not 1981 in America. Three decades after the Reagan Revolution, the country’s economic problems have evolved. Economic data show this clearly — and so do polling data.

    Read more from National Journal
  • Dispatches From the Republican National Convention

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    For those who didn’t think that Mitt Romney has had to overcome obstacles: Clint Eastwood. The actor’s 12-minute turn onstage at the Republican Convention was rambling and distracting. He spoke to an empty chair in which he pretended the president sat. A few times he pretended the president had suggested he and Romney have intercourse with themselves. Obama spokesperson Ben Labolt suggested that, as counter-programming, the Democrats next week would have Salvador Dali. President Obama got in on the fun by tweeting a picture of himself sitting in the Roosevelt Room chair. (This seat’s taken.) The convention that had seemed snakebit at the start, with Hurricane Isaac and tropical storm Todd Akin, appeared to be ending on the same cursed note.

    Read more
  • Romney vows to deliver country from economic travails

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Mitt Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday by making a direct appeal to Americans who were captivated by President Obama’s hopeful promises of change, pledging that he could deliver what the president did not and move the country from its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

    Read more
  • Romney draws battle lines in GOP acceptance speech

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Mitt Romney claimed the Republican presidential nomination here Thursday night with a promise to restore the nation’s economic strength and a critique of President Obama’s record, which he said has turned hope and change into failure and disappointment for the nation’s families.

    Read more

Aug 30, 2012

  • In Virginia, Obama sounds call for young voters

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    As President Obama wrapped up a two-day cross-country campaign jaunt targeted at college students, he offered a mild swipe at the GOP convention in Tampa -- and he voiced one request.

    Read more
  • The 'mad woman' behind the welfare attack ad

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Campaign ad-makers, particularly those who dabble in the dark arts, can appear in the imaginations of their political opponents as Lex Luthor or Darth Vader.

    Read more from National Journal
  • Party takes risk on seniors plan

    By Janet Hook and Peter Nicholas, The Wall Street Journal

    Rep. Paul Ryan signaled Wednesday that rather than running from Democratic attacks on Republican plans to overhaul Medicare, his party will carry the attack to President Barack Obama.

    Read more
  • Dispatches From the Republican National Convention

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Paul Ryan is supposed to be a wonk, but we've never really seen this side of him since he's become a vice presidential candidate. So far he has been an articulate Republican Party spokesperson for all of Barack Obama's failings. He hit his rhetorical height Wednesday night at the Republican convention when he unbuckled a long and stinging critique of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. It was powerful, well received, and passionately delivered. The speech didn't require policy expertise, particularly. Indeed, an expert might feel compelled to avoid the series of inconsistencies and contradictions that were woven through Ryan's jeremiad.

    Read more
  • Paul Ryan promises GOP ‘won’t duck the tough issues’

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin accepted the GOP nomination for vice president on Wednesday with a declaration that President Obama, who was elected four years ago on a promise of hope and change, has failed and his opportunity has been squandered.

    Read more

Aug 29, 2012

  • Obama courts the votes of a less-engaged youth

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Annie Hartnett was not old enough to vote in 2008 when she volunteered for the Obama campaign at the University of Iowa, where an older sister was a student. Now 21 and a leader of the Iowa State University Democrats, she said she was as excited as she was four years ago to be working for President Obama — yet she struggled to describe something that is missing.

    Read more
  • GOP leaders are not sold on Ryan's trumpeted Medicare plan

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The Republican Party has rallied around Paul Ryan's proposal to overhaul the Medicare system in its proposed budget, on the campaign trail and in the party's 2012 platform approved Tuesday, but top House and Senate leaders will not commit to enacting the proposal if the GOP takes control of Congress and the White House next year.

    Read more
  • Race-baiting hooks 2012 campaign

    By John Harris and Maggie Haberman, Politico

    During three-plus years of Barack Obama’s presidency, neither he nor most top Republicans felt much desire to talk about race. Now, the three-plus days of the Republican National Convention in Tampa are being roiled by angry people in both parties eager to talk about race — and how the other side is trying exploit prejudice for political advantage.

    Read more
  • For Mitt Romney, the election hinges on the middle class

    By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times

    The conventional wisdom is that this week's Republican National Convention needs to make Mitt Romney more "likable" — to replace his image as a frosty billionaire with the warmer (and, friends say, more accurate) picture of a family man, devout Mormon and private do-gooder.

    Read more
  • Romney clinches GOP nomination at convention; Ann Romney, Chris Christie speak

    By Karen Tumulty and David A. Fahrenthold, The Washington Post

    The Republican Party on Tuesday formally bestowed its presidential nomination on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, launching its convention here with two goals: to make the GOP contender more appealing and to sharpen the case against giving President Obama a second term.

    Read more
  • Nomination Secure, Romney Pitch starts

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts who has aspired to reach the White House since his father first sought the office four decades ago, was nominated by the Republican Party here on Tuesday as its choice to become the 45th president of the United States.

    Read more

Aug 28, 2012

  • Mitt Romney RNC: GOP still frets about candidate's image

    By John Harris and Alexander Burns, Politico

    Mitt Romney signaled in weekend interviews that he is brushing off advice that he attempt a public image makeover this week to make himself more likable and more connected to voters at the human level.

    Read more
  • Election is a test of competing worldviews

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    When President Obama and Mitt Romney meet in Boca Raton, Fla., on Oct. 22 to debate foreign policy, they will face a challenge to differentiate their positions beyond the now-familiar narratives.

    Read more from National Journal
  • Happy now for tea party help, GOP faces challenges

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The Republican Party that's showing its face to America this week is a restless institution that relies heavily on the uncompromising passions of tea partyers, anti-immigration activists and social conservatives. It's a potent but unruly coalition that supplies vital energy today but poses serious challenges for the future.

    Read more