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!

Sep 26, 2012

  • Polls show Obama is widening his lead in Ohio and Florida

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    For weeks, Republicans in Ohio have been watching with worry that the state’s vital 18 electoral votes were trending away from Mitt Romney. The anxiety has been similar in Florida, where Republicans are concerned that President Obama is gaining the upper hand in the fight for the state’s 29 electoral votes.

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  • How to measure for a president

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    It’s hard to say what the Founding Fathers would think of the modern presidency. But there’s no doubt they’d be horrified by the modern presidential campaign. In their day, no man worthy of the presidency would ever stoop to campaigning for it. George Washington was asked to serve. Decades later his successors were also expected to sit by the phone. "The Presidency is not an office to be either solicited or declined," wrote Rep. William Lowndes of South Carolina in 1821. Rutherford B. Hayes wanted to be so free of the taint of self-interest he didn’t even vote for himself in the election of 1876. As late as 1916, President Woodrow Wilson called campaigning "a great interruption to the rational consideration of public questions.”

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  • Romney, Obama zero in on Ohio, a GOP must-win

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Ohio has emerged as the presidential race's undisputed focus. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are making multiple stops this week alone in a state that's trending toward the president, endangering Romney's White House hopes.

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  • Test for Obama as deficit stays over $1 trillion

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Four years ago, Barack Obama campaigned for president on a promise to cut annual federal budget deficits in half by the end of his term. Then came financial calamity, $1.4 trillion in stimulus measures and a maddeningly slow economic recovery.

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  • Obama tells U.N. new democracies need free speech

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    President Obama on Tuesday used his last major address on a global stage before the November election to deliver a strong defense of America’s belief in freedom of speech, challenging fledgling Arab and North African democracies to ensure that right even in the face of violence.

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Sep 25, 2012

  • In Arab Spring, Obama Finds a Sharp Test

    By Helene Cooper and Robert F. Worth, The New York Times

    President Hosni Mubarak did not even wait for President Obama’s words to be translated before he shot back.

    “You don’t understand this part of the world,” the Egyptian leader broke in. “You’re young.”

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  • While U.N. beckons Clinton, Obama takes in ‘The View’

    By Helene Cooper and Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times

    President Obama on Monday flew up to New York from Washington, rode in his motorcade to ABC’s studios and sat down for an interview on “The View.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was not far away, in the Waldorf-Astoria, meeting with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

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  • In Massachusetts Senate race, Warren and Brown take off the gloves

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The most closely watched Senate race in the country has taken a sharp turn off the high road.

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  • Six senators sound bipartisan alarm over sequester

    By Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal

    Six Republican and Democratic senators are urging their party leaders to find a way to avert the spending cuts slated begin Jan. 2, a rare bipartisan warning that that the so-called sequester could have a “devastating impact’’ on defense and domestic programs.

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Sep 24, 2012

  • Tide shifts to Obama in most competitive states

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    In a presidential race seemingly frozen in place for months, the advantage has shifted toward President Barack Obama after a series of miscues by Mitt Romney, punctuated by the Republican challenger's comments about people who pay no income tax.

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  • Mohammed Morsi’s visit to U.S. shows changing relations with Egypt

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    Mohammed Morsi’s first visit Monday to the United States as the president of Egypt offers a timely example of all the ways relations between the countries have changed since Egypt held its first democratic election three months ago.

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  • Romney: Debates will set record straight

    Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    Mitt Romney is set to kick off the most important stretch of his presidential campaign, a time when he said he will use his three debates with President Obama to set the record straight on his vision for the country and to stump more vigorously in swing states.

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  • Afghanistan troop surge ends at tumultuous point

    By Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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  • The path to war with Iran

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    In an endless campaign season filled with forgettable speeches and debates, few Americans will recall March 4, 2012 as particularly noteworthy. On that Sunday afternoon President Barack Obama appeared before the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, where he was expected to give a boilerplate talk about close U.S.-Israeli ties. Instead Obama announced a new policy that put the United States and Iran on a collision course from which neither side has veered.

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Sep 21, 2012

  • Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown spar over taxes, character in their first Senate race debate

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The two candidates in the nation’s most high-profile Senate race met Thursday for their first debate — one in which Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) portrayed himself as an antidote to Washington’s crippling partisanship, and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren cast herself as a champion against moneyed interests.

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  • Romney campaign aims to recalibrate around economic message

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    In response to sagging battleground polls and criticism from some Republican party insiders, the Romney campaign – as part of its recalibration – intends to get more specific with its economic message, trying to reach out to the increasing number of voters who believe Mitt Romney doesn't understand their problems.

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  • Romney is latest in a long line to trip over a tongue

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    As critics pummel Mitt Romney over his secretly recorded comments at a fund-raiser, he can at least take comfort in this: He’s not the first. Presidential campaign history overflows with candidates who tripped over their own loose tongues — some obscuring their actual meaning, others accidentally revealing it. Even a cursory analysis shows that well over 47 percent of races for the White House have seen a candidate suffer self-inflicted wounds.

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  • Before debates, Romney faces a daunting path

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    There are seven days until early voting begins in Iowa, less than two weeks until the first debate and 46 days left in the race for Mitt Romney to change the dynamic of a campaign that by many indicators is tilting against him.

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  • Obama: Lessons learned will guide second term

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Learning on the job is a theme President Obama returns to with some frequency, not just because journalists press him to describe his mistakes in the last four years, but because Americans living through tough economic times want to know how Obama might apply the lessons of his first term if re-elected.

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Sep 20, 2012

  • In a tight Race, Obama draws on the levers of his power

    By Peter Baker and Eric Lipton, The New York Times

    For months, government lawyers and economists worked behind the scenes to develop a trade case against China. Then last month came a eureka moment: They confirmed the existence of a Chinese subsidy program for automobiles and parts that in their view violated international trade rules. They finished a complaint, circulated it among agencies and proposed a time frame for filing.

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