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 06, 2012

  • 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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  • The best $25 billion Obama ever borrowed (politically)

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Democrats call it a rescue. Republicans call it a bailout. However you prefer to describe president Obama’s decision to pump money into General Motors and Chrysler at a time of severe financial duress, one thing is clear: It is proving to be the most politically important economic policy Obama implemented.

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Nov 01, 2012

  • Romney forces see Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota ripe for turning red

    By Dan Balz, Jerry Markon and Paul Kane, The Washington Post

    After a season dominated by talk of Ohio, Virginia and Florida, Campaign 2012 suddenly shifted focus to a new trio of states Wednesday amid a new verbal battle about which candidate is better positioned to win on Tuesday.

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

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    President Obama narrowly leads Mitt Romney in three battleground states less than a week before the election, according to new NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls.

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  • Everything you need to know about the fiscal cliff

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

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  • Romney's jobs math doesn't add up

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Mitt Romney’s plan to create 12 million jobs in his first term relies on two kinds of policies: ones that are politically improbable, bordering on the impossible, and ones that will be in place no matter who wins next week’s presidential election.

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  • Storm prompts shifts in voting procedures

    By Naftali Bendavid and Michael Crittenden, Wall Street Journal

    Elections officials across the Northeast scrambled Tuesday to figure out how to proceed with voting next week given widespread flooding, damaged roads and power outages.

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Oct 31, 2012

  • Storm provides Obama with a commander-in-chief moment

    By Karen Tumulty and David Nakamura, The Washington Post

    For a day at least, Hurricane Sandy appears to have done for President Obama what he has not been able to do for himself. In a campaign notable mostly for its negativity, the historic storm provided Obama with a commander-in-chief moment a week before Election Day.

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  • Obama and Romney in exceedingly close race, poll finds

    By Jeff Zeleny and Marjorie Connelly, The New York Times

    President Obama and Mitt Romney enter the closing week of the campaign in an exceedingly narrow race, according to the latest poll by The New York Times and CBS News, with more voters now viewing Mr. Romney as a stronger leader on the economy and Mr. Obama as a better guardian of the middle class.

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