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 24, 2012

  • With debates over, candidates race to clinch vital states

    By Helene Cooper and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

    President Obama started making his closing argument for a second term on Tuesday, beginning a furious two-week effort to beat back a late surge by Mitt Romney and hang on to battleground states where voters are already casting ballots in large numbers.

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  • It’s not about the economy, stupid

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    President Obama moved from center stage to center court Tuesday. The day after the third and final debate, Obama started his day at a tennis stadium grinning under the waves of adulation from an eager and approving crowd. The night before, the president was all sharp elbows and crisp declarations about world affairs, but for those arrayed in the bleachers surrounding him on all sides, he was in full campaign mode, joking, switching accents, and returning to the perils of Romnesia—less Situation Room and more The Situation.

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  • Ryan to focus on poverty in Ohio speech

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    As the campaign for the White House enters the final stretch and both campaigns focus on just a handful of states, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will address upward mobility and the economy in Ohio Wednesday afternoon.

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  • Iowa newspaper scolds White House for off-the-record caveat

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    President Obama and his campaign have been diligently working to win the endorsements from newspapers in battleground states, which is why he placed a call to The Des Moines Register on Tuesday.

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  • Analysis: Calm Romney pins hopes on momentum

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Republican Mitt Romney is acting like a challenger who feels he has enough momentum and time to overtake the president by Election Day, two weeks from now.

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Oct 23, 2012

  • Obama keeps Romney on his heels in last debate

    By Dan Balz and David Nakamura, The Washington Post

    President Obama and Mitt Romney clashed repeatedly over foreign policy here Monday night, with the president arguing assertively that Romney has lacked the consistency or clarity of vision to lead the country while the Republican nominee charged that Obama has been weak and ineffective in the face of growing turmoil in the world.

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  • Romney rising?

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Mitt Romney brought a knife to a gunfight. A butter knife. In the third and final presidential debate, focused on national security and foreign policy, the Republican challenger seemed to be living by the Hippocratic oath: Do no harm. In this case that meant a mostly passive, heavy-on-agreement discussion with his opponent the commander in chief. President Obama, by contrast, was on the attack, repeatedly calling Romney reckless and looking every bit like the politician who thinks he's behind in the race.

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  • ANALYSIS: All about the battlegrounds

    By Amy Walter and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    On the debate stage last night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, President Obama came to play, and Mitt Romney played not to lose.

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  • A kinder, gentler Romney

    By Doyle McManus, the Los Angeles Times

    It's a safe bet that President Obama misses the old Mitt Romney — the one who described himself as "severely conservative."

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  • Sparring over foreign policy, Obama goes on the offense

    By Peter Baker and Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    President Obama and Mitt Romney wrapped up a series of defining debates on Monday night with a bristling exchange over America’s place in the world as each sought to portray the other as an unreliable commander in chief in a dangerous era.

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Oct 22, 2012

  • 6 questions that will settle the election

    By John F. Harris and Alexander Burns, Politico

    Mitt Romney’s hopes have long hinged on the notion of a tipping point. He would clear some psychic threshold necessary to be embraced as an acceptable alternative to Barack Obama in the minds of persuadable voters, then see national public opinion swing swiftly in his favor.

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  • In campaign of memorable debates, Obama and Romney face off again

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney face off in front of the cameras for a third and final time on Monday near the end of a presidential campaign season marked by a high number of memorable debates.

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  • Final presidential debate: What role will Iran play?

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

  • 2012 presidential race all tied up: NBC/WSJ poll

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    Two weeks before Election Day, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are deadlocked at 47 percent among likely voters in the race for the White House, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

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  • Monday’s debate puts focus on foreign policy clashes

    By David E. Sanger, The New York Times

    When President Obama and Mitt Romney sit down Monday night for the last of their three debates, two things should be immediately evident: there should be no pacing the stage or candidates’ getting into each other’s space, and there should be no veering into arguments over taxes.

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Oct 19, 2012

  • Why no one has been right about Libya

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    It has been more than a month since the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and no one has gotten the Libya question right. Not the president, not Mitt Romney. The most recent blunder was Romney's decision to attack President Obama during the last debate for not declaring the attacks in Benghazi "an act of terror." This has set off a heated argument about the difference between an "act of terror" and "terrorism." Conventional wisdom seems to be that the president is winning that debate—which may explain why Romney has gone quiet on Libya since he walked out of the auditorium at Hofstra University. Romney charged that Obama had not used the words "act of terror," when in fact the president clearly had in his statement from the Rose Garden on Sept. 12. But Romney’s loss wasn’t clarity’s gain. Indeed, the president is clinging to his Rose Garden transcript specifically with the intent of obfuscating his administration’s fuzzy evolution on what happened and why.

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  • For Obama and Romney, small New Hampshire could have a big impact

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    New Hampshire is the smallest of the battleground states, with just four electoral votes, and for much of the fall it has seemed an afterthought to the candidates as they’ve campaigned across more prominent contested states.

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  • Political perceptions: Economics of the women’s vote

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    The presidential campaign suddenly has turned into a fight for women’s votes, as the front pages of nearly every national newspaper demonstrated this morning. (See this WSJ story.) There’s lots of speculation about whether women will vote more on economic issues, which has been the Romney camp’s view for most of the campaign, or on social issues like abortion and contraception.

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  • Obama ad hits Romney on abortion

    By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    The Obama campaign is hitting back hard in response to a Romney ad in which the GOP candidate presents himself as more moderate on abortion rights, explaining that he thinks that abortion should be legal for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, or if life of the mother is in jeopardy.

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  • Romney receives endorsement of Orlando Sentinel

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Mitt Romney, who often grouses that he is simultaneously running against President Obama and the mainstream media, will be greeted upon his arrival in Florida on Friday by a headline with which he cannot quarrel: The Orlando Sentinel is endorsing him.

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