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 03, 2012

  • Question 1: What’s at stake in the first debate in Denver?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    First debates usually attract the biggest audience, and so for both President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, this is a high-stakes event. But it’s clearly much bigger for Romney.

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  • In 90-minute debate, 2 candidates stand on equal footing

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    President Obama will have the first word at the presidential debate. Mitt Romney will have the last word. But even before they step onto the stage and shake hands here Wednesday evening, voters across the country are already starting to have the final word.

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  • The only debate question that matters

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    There are plenty of important questions Jim Lehrer should ask Barack Obama and Mitt Romney during Wednesday night’s first presidential debate, but only one Big Question. Lehrer should keep asking it until he gets a real answer, even if it takes all 90 minutes.

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  • Claims likely to surface in debate and facts behind them

    By Jackie Calmes and John Harwood, The New York Times

    The first presidential debate is likely to focus on economic issues as President Obama and Mitt Romney clash over the size and role of government. Here are some topics that could come up.

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  • How campaigning for president became a socially acceptable thing to do

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    In the early days of the presidency, no man worthy of the office would have dared campaign for it. Now, as I write in my series How to Measure for a President, the strength of a candidate’s campaign is used as proof of his fitness for office. Here, with the help of Gil Troy’s See How They Ran is a tour of how we got here.

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  • Republicans face voter ID law setback

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

     

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Oct 02, 2012

  • Before debate, Romney calls Obama weak on foreign policy

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney launched a fresh attempt on Monday to paint President Barack Obama as weak on foreign policy, saying he had let U.S. leadership atrophy, while the two candidates prepared for their critical first debate on Wednesday.

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  • 10 quotes that haunt President Obama

    By John F. Harris and James Hohmann, Politico

    Ahead in the polls, looking strong in key swing states: This must be exactly what Barack Obama dreamed his reelection campaign would look like, five weeks from Election Day and on the eve of the first debate.

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  • Analysis: Will the debates make a difference?

    By Amy Walter and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    Last week Mitt Romney opened an Ohio bus tour on the same day that a new poll in the state showed him lagging behind President Obama by a 10 point margin.

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  • Campaigns search for elusive early voters

    With Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    With early voting under way in Iowa and about to begin in Ohio, the voters the two presidential campaigns are working hardest to motivate are a challenging group: those least likely to vote in the first place. Laura Meckler has details on The News Hub.

     

  • Report: Nearly 90 percent of Americans would see taxes rise if ‘fiscal cliff’ hits

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    Nearly 90 percent of Americans would face higher taxes next year if Congress lets the nation hurtle over the “fiscal cliff,” the year-end precipice of tax hikes and spending cuts that threatens to throw the nation back into recession.

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Oct 01, 2012

  • Gwen Ifill debunks five myths about presidential debates

    By Gwen Ifill for The Washington Post

    As President Obama and Mitt Romney take the stage in Denver on Wednesday for the first of their three debates, they won’t just face off against each other. They’ll also be competing with the rich history of presidential debates — the zingers, questions and comebacks that will be replayed and invoked over and over in the coming weeks. I’ve had the privilege to moderate the two most recent vice presidential debates, and I’ve heard many misconceptions about these events and their impact on a race. Here are a few of the most common.

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  • Obama, Romney in tight race nationally as first debate looms

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    On the eve of their first presidential debate, President Obama leads or is at parity with Mitt Romney on virtually every major issue and attribute in what remains a competitive general election, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

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  • What Obama must (not) do in the debate

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    As President Obama heads into the first of three debates with Mitt Romney nursing a slight lead in the polls, he has a wealth of historic precedent to draw on, and no shortage of advice -- much of it unsolicited -- to guide him.

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  • Debates can shift a race’s outcome, but it’s not easy

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    History shows that candidates have different ways to score through presidential debates: the forceful put-down, the surprising show of skill, the opponent’s fumble, superior post-debate tactics.

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  • Romney faces a formidable gender gap

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    What do women want? Another four years of President Obama, according to a new YWCA-sponsored poll that found him leading Republican Mitt Romney by 49 percent to 31 percent. The yawning gender gap mirrors other surveys nationwide and here in Ohio, a hotly contested swing state, and it represents one of Romney’s most pressing challenges in the home stretch before the Nov. 6 election.

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  • The prophets of budget balancing

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Here's one thing the two presidential candidates agree on: the federal government's current fiscal course will lead to disaster.

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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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