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 03, 2012

  • Deciding the undecideds: Tough for Obama, Romney

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Undecided voters in swing states hold the key to the presidential election, but neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama has an easy recipe for winning them over.

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  • Still Waters

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    A lot has happened, but nothing has changed. This, believe it or not, is what passes for searing insight into the race for the White House from the top advisers to President Obama and Mitt Romney.

    Read more in the National Journal

Aug 02, 2012

  • Obama Says Romney’s Tax Plan Favors Wealthy Only

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    AKRON, Ohio — President Obama assailed Mitt Romney for “top-down economics” in his ninth trip this year to this battleground state, brandishing a new study showing that Mr. Romney’s plans would mean additional large tax cuts for millionaires at the expense of other Americans.

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  • What is the Fed Waiting For?

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    It's best to think of the Federal Reserve today as a seventh-grade boy at a school dance, shuffling up to a girl, with all their friends watching. That music has a great beat, he says, and you sure do look like you enjoy dancing. She blinks expectantly. He opens his mouth. Then closes it, and walks away.

    Read more in the National Journal
  • Political Perceptions: Stepping Up to the Cliff

    by David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal

    This is what fiscal paralysis looks like. The U.S. government, the White House projected last week, will run a deficit of $1.2 trillion or 7.8% of the gross domestic product in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

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  • Thompson locked in a three-way fight for Wisconsin’s GOP Senate nomination

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post\

    FOND du LAC, Wis. — A month ago, many people in this state presumed that Tommy G. Thompson — still a household name here after serving an unprecedented four terms as governor — had a lock on the Republican nomination for the Senate.

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  • Ted Cruz's victory in Texas makes him a national GOP star

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    WASHINGTON – Attorney Ted Cruz has never served in elected office and is little known outside of Texas, but overnight he has become the newest conservative political star after he handily defeated Lt. Gov David Dewhurst in Tuesday's Senate Republican runoff election.

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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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