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 23, 2012

  • Could Hurricane Isaac derail the GOP convention?

    By Nia-Malika Henderson and Rosalind S. Helderman, The Washington Post

    It’s deja vu all over again: Four years ago, Hurricane Gustav threatened Republican National Convention plans. This year, it’s Hurricane Isaac.

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  • Recession imminent if ‘fiscal cliff’ of tax hikes, budget cuts not averted, CBO says

    By Steven Mufson and Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    The U.S. economy will hurtle into a recession if Congress fails to avert a series of tax increases and budget cuts due in January, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday, warning that a fiscal impasse would have consequences even more dire than previously forecast.

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Aug 22, 2012

  • NBC/WSJ Poll has bad news for both candidates

    By Eamon Javers, CNBC

  • Pelosi aims for Dems to retake House, eyes old speaker post

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Standing before a room of donors at a breakfast fundraiser for Rep. Betty Sutton, one of her party's vulnerable incumbents, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defined the stakes of the 2012 election this way: "Everything is at stake. Civilization as we know it today," she said, catching herself with a laugh. "That's all. So, no pressure."

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  • Ann Romney in charge of conveying Mitt's warm and fuzzy side

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate is dominating the run-up to the Republican convention, the woman he chose as his life partner could matter much more to the ticket’s success. Romney’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., thrills conservative Republicans, but those voters are not the presumptive nominee’s biggest problem. His biggest problem is that regular voters don’t like him as much as Obama. That's especially true of women, and that’s why the stakes are high for Ann Romney’s speech on the crucial opening night of the convention.

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  • Akin reiterates intent to stay in race

    By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal

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  • Patients would pay more if Romney restores Medicare savings, analysts say

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Mitt Romney’s promise to restore $716 billion that he says President Obama “robbed” from Medicare has some health care experts puzzled, and not just because his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, included the same savings in his House budgets.

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Aug 21, 2012

  • Crucial Senate Race in Uproar

    By Naftali Bendavid and Louise Radnofsky. The Wall Street Journal

    Fearing a likely election victory is now in doubt, Republican leaders and candidates on Monday called on Missouri Rep. Todd Akin to abandon his bid for a crucial Senate seat because of his suggestion that women's bodies can avert pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape.''

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  • GOP cuts support after Mo. lawmaker Akin's rape remarks

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    A growing controversy over his comments about rape victims has placed Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., under pressure from senior Republican officials to bow out of his Senate race today so the GOP can nominate someone with better odds of defeating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

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  • Independents favor cooperation, are dissatisfied with political system

    By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    President Obama and Mitt Romney are waging one of the most partisan campaigns in recent memory, energizing their bases with heated rhetoric and harsh tactics. But among political independents, some of the most prized voters in the electorate, speaking more softly about the other side may be a key to winning their support.

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  • Obama defends tenor of his campaign, slams Romney

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Denounced by his Republican rival for divisiveness, President Barack Obama on Monday defended the tone of his campaign in a combative election year and insisted it's actually Mitt Romney's ads that are "patently false." But Obama did distance himself from a particularly provocative negative ad by a political group that supports him.

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  • Obama Campaign This Time Around: Brutal... And Purposely So

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    President Obama's reelection effort isn't the toughest, or most aggressive, in American history. It only looks and feels that way compared with the gauzy memories most have of the lilt, sunshine, and post-partisan pixie dust of 2008.

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Aug 20, 2012

  • A look at "The Ryan Effect" on the 2012 campaign

    By John Dickerson, CBS News

    The presidential campaigns paused for the day on Sunday. President Obama attended church in Washington, while Mitt Romney attended services in New Hampshire. It's been a busy week since Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate. "The Ryan Effect" has put some oxygen into the race.

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  • Afghan policeman kills U.S. service member on joint patrol

    By Martha Raddatz and Muhammad Lila, ABC News

    A U.S. service member was killed in southern Afghanistan today on a patrol with Afghan security forces when one of the Afghans turned his weapon on the Americans, the latest in a rash of what the ISAF is now calling “insider” attacks on American troops.

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  • Conservative group plans to push Republicans toward action on climate, cleaner energy

    By Coral Davenport, National Journal

    In a campaign season where energy and climate change have become partisan lightning rods, a small but growing group of Republicans are pushing back against their party’s orthodoxy on both issues.

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  • Rahm Emanuel, Tim Kaine, among convention speakers

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    The Democratic convention will feature a slate of familiar faces and up-and-comers who will frame the race for the White House as a choice between two economic visions, offering insider views of President Obama making tough decisions, assessments of how his policies have played in swing states and an examination of Mitt Romney’s record in Massachusetts.

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  • Obama hears call for bipartisanship during Sunday sermon

    By Christi Parsons, The Los Angeles Times

    On the Sunday morning TV news shows, surrogates for President Obama and Mitt Romney were duking it out over healthcare, Medicare and whether their ads are getting too nasty. Both candidates, meanwhile, were at worship with their families.

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Aug 17, 2012

  • GOP ticket's views on renewable energy raising concerns in rural red states

    By Coral Davenport, National Journal

    Rural America almost always votes reliably red. But many farmers say they’re growing uneasy with the Republican presidential ticket’s opposition to renewable-energy policies that have helped them economically — and that could hurt the GOP this year in traditionally friendly farm country.

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  • Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan pursue united front strategy

    By Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei

    Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan plan to campaign together again sooner than aides had originally planned, likely twice next week, as part of a new offensive to take on the touchy issue of Medicare, campaign officials tell POLITICO.

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  • New rules expose bigger funding gaps for public pensions

    By Michael A. Fletcher

    Already-strapped state and local governments are coming under increasing pressure to reduce pension benefits or increase taxpayer contributions that help pay for them because of new rules that would require them to report those obligations more honestly, advocates say.

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