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!

Sep 28, 2012

  • September, November: 40 precious days to spend on early vote

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    A stream of voters arrived at election offices across Iowa to cast their ballots. Waves of absentee ballots have started landing in mailboxes in 30 other states. And more than a month before what the calendar says is Election Day, President Obama began delivering his closing argument to voters.

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  • Pray for rain

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    The weather forecast could have a big effect on America’s economic forecast next year. The more rain, the better.

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  • In Virginia, nominees reach out to military

    By Helene Cooper and Ashley Parke

    In case anyone is wondering, Virginia is up for grabs this election. So, with 39 days to go, President Obama and Mitt Romney dueled in the commonwealth on Thursday, both trying to lock up support from voters with ties to the military.

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  • A Rove 'money bomb'?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Here's a short list of Democrats who secretly hope Mitt Romney gets his presidential campaign turned around fast and gives President Obama a run for his money: Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic Senate candidate in North Dakota; Jon Tester, the Democratic senator from Montana; and Rep. Shelley Berkley, the Democratic Senate candidate in Nevada.

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  • Obama getting less debate practice than Romney

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama has blocked out three days to prepare for the October debates, but with the constant pressures that come with one of the world's most important jobs, aides worry he may not get enough practice at the podium.

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Sep 27, 2012

  • ANALYSIS: Raising the stakes, lowering expectations

    By Amy Walter and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    Will Mitt Romney get the game changer he needs in next week's presidential debate?

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  • Political perceptions: bad data, upbeat voters

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Polls suggest rising optimism among Americans about the near-term course of the U.S. economy at the same time that economic forecasters are turning pessimistic and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is so worried about persistently high unemployment that he is unleashing another big, and controversial, round of bond-buying to try to boost the economy.

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  • How to measure for a president

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Ann Romney says that she and her husband call the rope line the “advice line.” Every time the candidate works the crowd, well-meaning supporters lean across the rope to offer tips about how he can improve his campaign. At fundraisers, donors give him advice on everything from sovereign debt to his speaking style (slow down!). Conservative pundits have been offering critiques by the wagonful for months.

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  • Guessing the fiscal cliff's fate

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Is Congress going to drive the U.S. economy over the fiscal cliff? Is Washington so dysfunctional that Congress and the president, risking renewed recession, will let taxes rise sharply and spending be cut across the board?

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  • In Ohio, Obama and Romney fight over China, trade

    By Christi Parsons and Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama and Mitt Romney hurled accusations at each other over their economic visions and trade policies as they sprinted across Ohio on Wednesday, a reflection of the fierce campaign being waged in this battleground state.

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Sep 26, 2012

  • Post polls: Obama has lead in Ohio, edge in Fla., hampering Romney path to victor

    By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, Washington Post

    President Obama is threatening Mitt Romney’s best route to victory in the electoral college, grabbing a significant lead over his Republican challenger in Ohio and a slender edge in Florida, according to two new polls by The Washington Pos

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  • Polls show Obama is widening his lead in Ohio and Florida

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    For weeks, Republicans in Ohio have been watching with worry that the state’s vital 18 electoral votes were trending away from Mitt Romney. The anxiety has been similar in Florida, where Republicans are concerned that President Obama is gaining the upper hand in the fight for the state’s 29 electoral votes.

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  • How to measure for a president

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    It’s hard to say what the Founding Fathers would think of the modern presidency. But there’s no doubt they’d be horrified by the modern presidential campaign. In their day, no man worthy of the presidency would ever stoop to campaigning for it. George Washington was asked to serve. Decades later his successors were also expected to sit by the phone. "The Presidency is not an office to be either solicited or declined," wrote Rep. William Lowndes of South Carolina in 1821. Rutherford B. Hayes wanted to be so free of the taint of self-interest he didn’t even vote for himself in the election of 1876. As late as 1916, President Woodrow Wilson called campaigning "a great interruption to the rational consideration of public questions.”

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  • Romney, Obama zero in on Ohio, a GOP must-win

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Ohio has emerged as the presidential race's undisputed focus. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are making multiple stops this week alone in a state that's trending toward the president, endangering Romney's White House hopes.

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  • Test for Obama as deficit stays over $1 trillion

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Four years ago, Barack Obama campaigned for president on a promise to cut annual federal budget deficits in half by the end of his term. Then came financial calamity, $1.4 trillion in stimulus measures and a maddeningly slow economic recovery.

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  • Obama tells U.N. new democracies need free speech

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    President Obama on Tuesday used his last major address on a global stage before the November election to deliver a strong defense of America’s belief in freedom of speech, challenging fledgling Arab and North African democracies to ensure that right even in the face of violence.

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Sep 25, 2012

  • In Arab Spring, Obama Finds a Sharp Test

    By Helene Cooper and Robert F. Worth, The New York Times

    President Hosni Mubarak did not even wait for President Obama’s words to be translated before he shot back.

    “You don’t understand this part of the world,” the Egyptian leader broke in. “You’re young.”

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  • While U.N. beckons Clinton, Obama takes in ‘The View’

    By Helene Cooper and Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times

    President Obama on Monday flew up to New York from Washington, rode in his motorcade to ABC’s studios and sat down for an interview on “The View.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was not far away, in the Waldorf-Astoria, meeting with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

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  • In Massachusetts Senate race, Warren and Brown take off the gloves

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The most closely watched Senate race in the country has taken a sharp turn off the high road.

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  • Six senators sound bipartisan alarm over sequester

    By Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal

    Six Republican and Democratic senators are urging their party leaders to find a way to avert the spending cuts slated begin Jan. 2, a rare bipartisan warning that that the so-called sequester could have a “devastating impact’’ on defense and domestic programs.

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