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!

Oct 10, 2012

  • Big stakes for Biden and Ryan in VP debate

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Rarely has a vice presidential debate been as crucial as the one between Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday night will be. After Mitt Romney’s lopsided victory over President Obama in Denver last week, the exchange will arrive at a fluid and potentially pivotal moment in the campaign.

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  • Vice presidential debate could be a tale of two Ryans

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Republican Congressman Paul Ryan is a changed man. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate made a name for himself as a bold fiscal crusader, willing to make big, unpopular cuts to entitlements to get U.S. finances in order.

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  • Romney refines message on taxes and abortion

    By Helene Cooper and Trip Gabriel, The New York Times

    Continuing to embrace a more moderate political persona, Mitt Romney offered assurances on Tuesday that he would protect tax deductions for the middle class on home mortgages and charitable donations.

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  • Candidates zero in on Ohio as Romney gains in polls

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    On Monday night, President Obama sounded like a candidate digging deeper for a late burst of speed and prepared to lean into the tape at a photo finish in November. Post-debate polls indicate Mitt Romney has edged past the president among likely voters, including in the Midwest, and on Tuesday both men rededicated themselves to the contest in Ohio with less than a month left in the race.

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  • Diminished GOP brand heightens Romney's challenge

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Even with his strong debate performance, Mitt Romney needs every possible advantage to overtake President Barack Obama in the next four weeks. Not helping him much is the Republican Party he leads.

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Oct 09, 2012

  • With new vigor, Romney resets Ohio campaign

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    If one place is emerging as a test of Mitt Romney’s ability to capitalize on a new dynamic in the presidential race, it is Ohio, where he is intensifying his advertising, deploying more troops and spending four of the next five days.

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  • Across the electoral map, a mixed picture for candidates down the ballot

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    In the past six years, there have been three national elections, each of them producing a wave, in which races up and down the ballot moved in generally the same direction. Democrats won big in 2006 and 2008, only to see those gains reversed in the mid-term election of 2010.

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  • Global economic outlook looks gloomy

    With David Wessel on NPR

    Finance ministers and central bankers are on their way to Tokyo for their annual get-together sponsored by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Renee Montagne talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about whether the financial crisis is behind us.

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  • Failed Obama foreign policy?

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood reports on Mitt Romney's remarks about President Obama's foreign policy; and Lawrence Korb, Center for American Progress, and Richard Williamson, Romney Foreign Policy Advisor, weigh in.

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  • Albright says Romney speech full of ‘platitudes’

    By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    The Obama campaign responded to Mitt Romney‘s foreign-policy speech Monday by painting Mr. Romney’s stances as vague and naive, and said he didn’t make clear how he would handle multiple global hot spots differently from President Barack Obama.

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Oct 05, 2012

  • Campaign gains a new intensity in debate’s wake

    By Peter Baker and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    President Obama and Mitt Romney confronted what one feared and the other hoped was an altered campaign on Thursday, pounding new urgency into what was shaping up as a wide-open final sprint to Election Day.

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  • Romney benefits from rigorous defense of tax plan

    By Lori Montgomery and Peyton M. Craighill, Washington Post

    With his forceful denial of charges that he would raise taxes on the middle class, Mitt Romney used Wednesday’s debate to launch an aggressive new effort to regain his footing in the battle over taxes.

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  • Obama: Romney masked his positions in debate

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    When the old television soap opera "Dallas" realized that killing off a lead character had been a ratings blunder, the invented remedy was to turn the death into a dream. President Obama's post-debate strategizing early Thursday in Denver wandered a little bit down that Southfork road.

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  • Generational warfare: The case against parasitic baby boomers

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    My father taught me how to throw a baseball and divide big numbers in my head and build a life where I’d be home in time to eat dinner with my kid most nights. He and my mother put me through college and urged me to follow my dreams. He never complained when I entered a field even less respected than his. He lives across the country and still calls just to check in and say he loves me.

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  • Democrats try to regroup in wake of the debate

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    After President Obama's disappointing debate performance, Wednesday, some Democratic strategists lamented that Obama missed opportunities to strike at what they saw as his GOP rival's inconsistencies on policy matters.

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Oct 04, 2012

  • News Analysis: A Clash of Philosophies

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Somewhere in the wonky blizzard of facts, statistics and studies thrown out on stage here on Wednesday night was a fundamental philosophical choice about the future of America, quite possibly the starkest in nearly three decades. As President Obama and Mitt Romney faced off for the first time, their largely zinger-free styles may have disguised a fierce clash of views not only over taxes, spending and health care, but over the very role of government in American society in a time of wrenching problems.

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  • Romney’s Big Night

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    When Barack Obama entered the debate hall at the University of Denver Wednesday night, the air was clear and warm. When he left, the winds where whipping and the temperature had dropped 20 degrees. Coincidentally, that was also the same number of undecided voters who thought the president had a good debate. In two different polls of undecided voters by CNN and CBS, Obama received grim reviews. In the CBS poll, 46 percent thought Romney had done the better job. Only 22 percent thought Obama prevailed. In the CNN poll, 67 percent thought Romney had performed well. Only 25 percent could say the same of Obama. In another poll conducted with a group of “Wal-Mart Moms” in Las Vegas, Romney also scored high. His image climbed 20 points, while Obama’s moved just 5. Many of the women had “somewhat tuned out Mitt Romney,” according to the findings reported by a bipartisan polling team. “After seeing him this evening several are now re-engaged and want to learn more about him. They were somewhat disappointed with President Obama’s performance. They do not believe he made the case for how another four years will be different or better.” Read more

  • Romney goes on offense, forcing Obama to defend record

    By Dan Balz and Amy Gardner, The Washington Post

    An energetic Mitt Romney launched a series of attacks against President Obama here Wednesday night, calling into question the president’s record on the economy, health care and the deficit, and arguing that he would take the country in a fundamentally different direction. Obama sought to parry Romney’s criticisms, charging that his presidential rival favors a top-down approach to the economy that would reward the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class and that the details of the Republican’s proposals don’t add up. But he found himself on the defensive repeatedly during their first debate, held at the University of Denver.

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  • Analysis: Romney's aggressive debate cheers GOP

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Challenger Mitt Romney used Wednesday's debate to put President Barack Obama on the defensive on health care, jobs and other issues. The president's reluctance to fire back harshly gave new hope to Republican partisans. Romney managed to highlight his top campaign themes — calling for lower tax rates, less regulation, the repeal of "Obamacare" — while largely fending off Obama's demands for details on how to pay for his proposals or safeguard Americans' health and well-being.

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  • On Economy, Romney Blurs Contrast

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Apparently Mitt Romney likes government regulation, loves Medicare the way it is, agrees fairly regularly with President Obama, and does not, in fact, want to cut taxes very much. Those are gross simplifications of Romney’s economic platform, and ones very much at odds with the antitax, antiregulation, pro-entitlement-reform campaign the former Massachusetts governor has waged for more than a year. But if you were tuning into the presidential race for the first time on Wednesday night, you’d be forgiven if you thought the simplifications were actually the crux of Romney’s plan for the country.

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