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 12, 2012

  • Biden and Ryan quarrel aggressively in debate, offering contrasts

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    It was the debate that President Obama and Mitt Romney did not have a week ago.

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  • Spirited Biden debate performance allows democrats to exhale

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Democrats, you may exhale. But don't you dare rejoice.

    Vice President Joe Biden took some of the heat off his boss in the critical home stretch of the 2012 election, delivering a spirited debate performance that aimed to compensate for President Obama’s lifeless appearance on another stage one week ago.

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  • Who won the Vice Presidential debate? Depends who you ask

    By Amy Walter, ABC News

    Partisan Democrats had a lot to be happy about last night’s vice presidential debate. Vice President Joe Biden turned in an aggressive and energetic performance that they wished they’d seen in President Obama.

    And while Republicans have cried foul on Biden’s behavior (GOP surrogates called him “rude”), they argue that Rep. Paul Ryan’s calm, unflustered demeanor and his solid performance on foreign affairs was appealing to swing voters, especially women.

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Oct 11, 2012

  • The no. 1 rule when no. 2s meet in battle? Be memorable. In a good way.

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    Near the end of the first debate ever of vice-presidential candidates, Senator Bob Dole remembered his White House-prepared briefing materials on war casualties under various administrations — and used them.

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  • Romney shifts to more moderate stances on taxes, immigration, health care, education

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The final weeks of the presidential campaign are bringing Mitt Romney full circle, back to a question that has tugged at him for nearly two decades: What does he really believe?

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  • At hearing, Libya attack details remain murky

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    At the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, there was never any spontaneous street mob angered about an anti-Muslim video, as was asserted by administration officials after a brutal attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, State Department officials told Congress Wednesday.

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  • Obama's Ohio silver lining

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    Rattled, dismayed, and shaken, President Obama's national campaign is divided into two camps: impassive warhorses and anxiety-ridden newbies.

    The battle-scarred operatives have been doing nonstop psychic triage since the first presidential debate, calming nerves and reassuring the shaken that campaigns have their ups and downs.

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  • Romney appears to pivot on abortion

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, the Washington Post

    Mitt Romney, buoyed by recent polls that show him ahead of President Obama after a strong debate performance, appears to have modified his stance on abortion, a key issue among social conservatives, a voting bloc that has been skeptical of the Republican nominee in the past.

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  • Rare consensus inside beltway

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Let’s face it, the exit polls were not great at Nationals Park on Wednesday. The home team performed much like the incumbent did in last week’s presidential debate — lackluster, not a lot of pop at the plate and a defense that could not handle an aggressive assault.

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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.

    Listen here
  • 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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