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!

Nov 07, 2012

  • Question for the victor: How far do you push?

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    For President Obama, now comes a second chance. An electorate that considers the country to be on the wrong track nonetheless agreed to renew his contract in hopes that the next four years will be better than the last.

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  • How Obama won four more years

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    In the end, it wasn't close. Barack Obama won re-election handily over Mitt Romney with 303 electoral votes (so far), well more than the 270 electoral votes needed. Of the nine battleground states that were up for grabs, Obama won seven of them, losing only North Carolina (Florida remains to be called). But while Obama won those states, he didn't crush it; he won instead, a string of precise narrow victories. He didn’t win because his leadership during Hurricane Sandy blew all those swing votes his way (though it may have helped). The president won because he ran a permanent campaign, keeping his offices open in the battleground states from his 2008 campaign, tending his coalition assiduously, and because he relentlessly defined his opponent. His was the better campaign. The Democratic candidate of “hope and change” beat the big business Republican in the trenches, in one state after another.

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  • Romney's last, greatest 'turnaround' falls short

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential nomination as a "turnaround man," whose capacity to reinvent companies, and the 2002 Olympics, could be transferred to the nation and its troubled economy.

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  • In victory speech, Obama pledges to heal divide

    By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    President Barack Obama, in a celebratory re-election speech early Wednesday, said he will in his second presidential term strive bridge a partisan divide that has proven difficult to bridge during his first four years in the White House.

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  • Can the same president build a new landscape?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    After a long and arduous campaign, a newly reelected President Obama confronts his next challenge: binding together a deeply divided nation and turning from campaigning to governing.

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  • Divided U.S. gives Obama more time

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected president of the United States on Tuesday, overcoming powerful economic headwinds, a lock-step resistance to his agenda by Republicans in Congress and an unprecedented torrent of advertising as a divided nation voted to give him more time.

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Nov 06, 2012

  • Clues could come early in state-by-state battle

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    The most expensive presidential race in American history now becomes the biggest show on television, a night with enough uncertainty that it could become a telethon lasting well into morning.

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  • Fight vs. Change

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    If you are still undecided and haven’t voted, you don’t have a lot of time to read position papers and rewatch the debates. You certainly don’t have time to read a five-part series on presidential attributes (though you should). On the other hand, you may be undecided because you’ve read everything, and the more you read the more confused you become.

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  • Analysis: A big choice on the government's role

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Suspense over the too-close-to-call presidential race has partly obscured the fact that Americans on Tuesday will choose between two dramatically different visions of government's proper role in our lives. The philosophical gulf between the two nominees is wide, even if the vote totals may be razor-thin.

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  • What kind of president would Obama be in second term?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    As he campaigns through the battleground states in the final hours of Campaign 2012, President Obama tells every audience, “You know where I stand and you know what I believe.” But on election eve, there is still an unanswered question about the president: How would the experience of his first term inform and shape a second?

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  • Political perceptions: split decision for Congress?

    By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

    This was supposed to be the year an anti-tea-party backlash handed the House to the Democrats. Or anger over Democrats’ overreach swept the GOP to power in the Senate.

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Nov 05, 2012

  • Obama narrowly leads Romney in 3 swing states: NBC/WSJ poll

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    President Obama leads Mitt Romney narrowly in three critical swing states, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls.

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  • Fla. remains tough sell to end for Obama, Romney

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    To the last minute, Florida is proving to be an expensive and frustrating state for President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney alike, seemingly resistant to arguments that play well in Ohio, Colorado and other states.

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  • His last race, win or lose

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama looked out at the sea of shivering supporters at a chilly late-night rally here and soaked in the wave of blue campaign placards and the flashing of a thousand smartphone cameras.

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  • Undecided voters hold the key — if they ever make up their minds

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Many factors will shape the outcome of Tuesday’s election. One of them is whether Liz Fretz gets off the fence.

    The 50-year-old information-technology consultant lives in Northern Virginia, one of the hardest-fought battlegrounds in the country, and she still hasn’t made up her mind.

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  • Middle class faces quick impact from fiscal cliff in form of alternative minimum tax

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    The best hope for a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” may lie with the alternative minimum tax, an obscure provision of the tax code that is about to become alarmingly relevant to millions of middle-class taxpayers.

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Nov 02, 2012

  • Conflicted voters consider closing arguments

    By Amy Walter and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    Another Friday, another jobs report and another opportunity to ask whether today's news that the economy added 171,000 new jobs while the unemployment ticked up to 7.9 percent matter all that much heading into Election Day -- now just four short days off.

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  • The secret of Mitt Romney’s success

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    If Mitt Romney wins the election, it will be because he ignored conservatives. After he won the primaries, many of the most prominent voices in the movement plead with him to run loud and proud as a conservative and to campaign overtly on conservative ideas. He never did that, and he’s ending the campaign on a moderate note, a move his strategists believe will capture the disaffected Obama voters he needs to win the election.

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  • The story of the hispanic vote is the story of the 2012 campaign

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Three months ago, the president of the United States came to a hole-in-the-wall cafeteria here called Lechonera El Barrio, posed for pictures, and left with a $6 plate of pulled pork, rice, and beans. It was a homecoming of sorts for prodigal son Barack Obama, who in 2008 swept the fast-growing Hispanic community in central Florida that is remaking politics in the nation’s largest swing state.

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  • Super-PACs kept Romney-Obama even in $1 billion ad race

    By Jeanne Cummings, Bloomberg News

    After about $1 billion spent on more than one million presidential campaign ads -- the vast majority negative -- the race enters its final days in the same way both campaigns predicted it would a year ago: too close to call.

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