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 30, 2012

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Romney and black voters: An uneasy relationship

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    A major storm bearing down on New Orleans can never come at an opportune time, but Isaac is arriving at a particularly difficult moment for Mitt Romney and for his party, which has yet to completely shake the perception that the GOP left African-Americans adrift in a drowned city seven years ago.

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  • Dispatches From the Republican National Convention

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Greetings from the floor of the convention! I'm sitting under the sign for the New Mexico delegation. (Poor Vermont. They're seated so far away from the stage they might as well be in Vermont.) I've been here since Thursday when there was still exposed plywood, angry drills, and guys with lots of tattoos yelling at each other about forklifts. In the workspace there's a sign that says: "Watch Out for Forklifts." I never knew they were so stealthy. (Drought, debt, hurricanes, and now we have to worry about forklifts? Dark times.)

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  • GOP plays up congressional candidates

    By Janet Hook, John D. McKinnon, and Corey Boles, Wall Street Journal

    Republicans officially opened a storm-shortened convention Monday aimed at selling Mitt Romney to the American people, with GOP hopes for the event rising as the winds died.

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Aug 27, 2012

  • Women's roles: Sizing up the GOP, Dem conventions

    By Alexis Simendinger and Erin McPike, Real Clear Politics

    In a presidential election in which female voters are expected to play an outsize role in picking the winner, one of the curiosities at the Tampa and Charlotte conventions will be how the parties feature women and contrast their issues at the two heavily scripted events.

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  • Analysis: Akin row shows GOP's social-fiscal rift

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Every now and then, an event awakens the ever-slumbering tensions between the Republican Party's two core wings: social conservatives and corporate interests

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  • Isaac Thwarts Democrats’ Romney-Bashing Plans

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    The counterprogramming punch that Democrats planned to land on the GOP at its national convention has been pulled. The Tampa war room that Democrats opened on Saturday has fallen silent, a testament to the power of a tropical storm and the dispiriting optics of savaging an opposing party while convention delegates shield themselves from pelting rain and slashing winds.

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  • A man who needs some introduction

    By By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    The Gettysburg Address streamed across the arena’s teleprompter as Republican convention organizers tried out the microphones, lifted balloons to the rafters, and primped the stage for the presidential nominee’s acceptance speech.

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  • Relaxed and loose, candidate Obama hits his mark

    By Helene Cooper. The New York Times

    During his three-minute chat on Tuesday with the man introducing him to 3,300 supporters at a campaign rally here, President Obama achieved four must-dos in every politician’s instruction manual.

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  • Poll: Obama, Romney neck-and-neck ahead of party conventions

    By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, The Washington Post

    The Republican National Convention opens this week with President Obama and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney running evenly, with voters more focused on Obama’s handling of the nation’s flagging economy than on some issues dominating the political debate in recent weeks.

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