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 22, 2012

  • Monday’s debate puts focus on foreign policy clashes

    By David E. Sanger, The New York Times

    When President Obama and Mitt Romney sit down Monday night for the last of their three debates, two things should be immediately evident: there should be no pacing the stage or candidates’ getting into each other’s space, and there should be no veering into arguments over taxes.

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Oct 19, 2012

  • Why no one has been right about Libya

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    It has been more than a month since the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and no one has gotten the Libya question right. Not the president, not Mitt Romney. The most recent blunder was Romney's decision to attack President Obama during the last debate for not declaring the attacks in Benghazi "an act of terror." This has set off a heated argument about the difference between an "act of terror" and "terrorism." Conventional wisdom seems to be that the president is winning that debate—which may explain why Romney has gone quiet on Libya since he walked out of the auditorium at Hofstra University. Romney charged that Obama had not used the words "act of terror," when in fact the president clearly had in his statement from the Rose Garden on Sept. 12. But Romney’s loss wasn’t clarity’s gain. Indeed, the president is clinging to his Rose Garden transcript specifically with the intent of obfuscating his administration’s fuzzy evolution on what happened and why.

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  • For Obama and Romney, small New Hampshire could have a big impact

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    New Hampshire is the smallest of the battleground states, with just four electoral votes, and for much of the fall it has seemed an afterthought to the candidates as they’ve campaigned across more prominent contested states.

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  • Political perceptions: Economics of the women’s vote

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    The presidential campaign suddenly has turned into a fight for women’s votes, as the front pages of nearly every national newspaper demonstrated this morning. (See this WSJ story.) There’s lots of speculation about whether women will vote more on economic issues, which has been the Romney camp’s view for most of the campaign, or on social issues like abortion and contraception.

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  • Obama ad hits Romney on abortion

    By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    The Obama campaign is hitting back hard in response to a Romney ad in which the GOP candidate presents himself as more moderate on abortion rights, explaining that he thinks that abortion should be legal for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, or if life of the mother is in jeopardy.

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  • Romney receives endorsement of Orlando Sentinel

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Mitt Romney, who often grouses that he is simultaneously running against President Obama and the mainstream media, will be greeted upon his arrival in Florida on Friday by a headline with which he cannot quarrel: The Orlando Sentinel is endorsing him.

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Oct 18, 2012

  • Officials: Obama ready to veto a bill blocking ‘fiscal cliff’ without tax hike for rich

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    President Obama is prepared to veto legislation to block year-end tax hikes and spending cuts, collectively known as the “fiscal cliff,” unless Republicans bow to his demand to raise tax rates for the wealthy, administration officials said.

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  • Obama and Romney campaigns battle to mobilize voters

    By Christi Parsons and Seema Mehta, the Los Angeles Times

    The 11,000 people on a soccer field at St. Petersburg College had come to hear President Obama speak. But first Max Jay-Dixon had something important to say.

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  • The four Ls and four states: what's next in the Obama-Romney duel

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    From now until the third and final presidential debate, and quite probably even after that, President Obama and Mitt Romney will fight on the ground, over the airwaves, and in social media over the four Ls and four swing states.

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  • Obama looks to regain edge with women voters

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama tried in his debate Tuesday night with Mitt Romney to halt any precipitous slide of women voters toward his opponent, which meant he spent loads of time pouring crack filler into his base.

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  • Who wins a tied debate?

    By Doyle McManus, the Los Angeles Times

    When two presidential candidates battle roughly to a tie in a debate, is there a winner?

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Oct 17, 2012

  • For the President, punch, punch, another punch

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    He waited all of 45 seconds to make clear he came not just ready for a fight but ready to pick one.

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  • When candidates attack

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    In the seal of the United States, the eagle turns its head toward its right talon, which holds an olive branch, and away from the talon holding 13 arrows. It is meant to suggest a preference for peace. The eagle that hovered between the two candidates in the second debate had the same design, but for one difference: The eagle's head was turned toward the arrows. It was a fitting symbol for the pointed and sniping contest between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. It was a night of barbs, interruptions, and charges and counter-charges. “Very little of what the president said is true,” said Romney. “It’s not true governor,” said Obama. “Not true. It’s not true.” During one exchange, Romney said, "You'll get your chance. I'm still speaking," as the audience in the arena seemed to gasp. At another point, the two men got so close and huffy, I thought moderator Candy Crowley might just ask them to take it outside.

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  • ANALYSIS: Who gets momentum after second debate?

    By Amy Walter and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    Like the vice presidential debate last week, the Democrat and the Republican candidate on stage last night were not so much talking to each other as they were to two different audiences.

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  • Debate gets to the guts of the race

    By John F. Harris and Jonathan Martin, Politico

    Barack Obama did well enough in the second debate that he can rest assured about one thing: If he loses his bid for a second term it won’t be because he is bad at debates.

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  • Rivals bring bare fists to rematch

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    President Obama and Mitt Romney engaged Tuesday in one of the most intensive clashes in a televised presidential debate, with tensions between them spilling out in interruptions, personal rebukes and accusations of lying as they parried over the last four years under Mr. Obama and what the next four would look like under a President Romney.

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Oct 16, 2012

  • Obama under pressure as debate comes amid early balloting

    By Julianna Goldman and Lisa Lerer, Bloomberg News

    With voters already casting ballots and polls showing a tightening race, President Barack Obama has little room for error in tonight’s second debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

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  • Debt impasse shadows race for presidency

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    President Obama and Mitt Romney will again debate their visions for the next four years on Tuesday night, and if the campaign so far is any guide, they will not acknowledge that the winner’s agenda could depend on the fiscal showdown between Election Day and Inauguration Day.

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  • Michelle Obama has already voted, and tweets about it

    By Christi Parsons, the Los Angeles Times

    First Lady Michelle Obama cast her ballot for president Monday, presumably voting for her husband with the absentee form she dropped in the mail.

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  • Two Americans claim Nobel Economics Prize

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Two American economists won the Nobel Prize in economics Monday for their research into how to match different actors in given markets, such as job seekers with employers and patients with donated kidneys. David Wessel has details on Lunch Break.