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 02, 2012

  • Analysis: Will the debates make a difference?

    By Amy Walter and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    Last week Mitt Romney opened an Ohio bus tour on the same day that a new poll in the state showed him lagging behind President Obama by a 10 point margin.

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  • Campaigns search for elusive early voters

    With Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    With early voting under way in Iowa and about to begin in Ohio, the voters the two presidential campaigns are working hardest to motivate are a challenging group: those least likely to vote in the first place. Laura Meckler has details on The News Hub.


  • Report: Nearly 90 percent of Americans would see taxes rise if ‘fiscal cliff’ hits

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    Nearly 90 percent of Americans would face higher taxes next year if Congress lets the nation hurtle over the “fiscal cliff,” the year-end precipice of tax hikes and spending cuts that threatens to throw the nation back into recession.

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Oct 01, 2012

  • Gwen Ifill debunks five myths about presidential debates

    By Gwen Ifill for The Washington Post

    As President Obama and Mitt Romney take the stage in Denver on Wednesday for the first of their three debates, they won’t just face off against each other. They’ll also be competing with the rich history of presidential debates — the zingers, questions and comebacks that will be replayed and invoked over and over in the coming weeks. I’ve had the privilege to moderate the two most recent vice presidential debates, and I’ve heard many misconceptions about these events and their impact on a race. Here are a few of the most common.

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  • Obama, Romney in tight race nationally as first debate looms

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    On the eve of their first presidential debate, President Obama leads or is at parity with Mitt Romney on virtually every major issue and attribute in what remains a competitive general election, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

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  • What Obama must (not) do in the debate

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    As President Obama heads into the first of three debates with Mitt Romney nursing a slight lead in the polls, he has a wealth of historic precedent to draw on, and no shortage of advice -- much of it unsolicited -- to guide him.

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  • Debates can shift a race’s outcome, but it’s not easy

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    History shows that candidates have different ways to score through presidential debates: the forceful put-down, the surprising show of skill, the opponent’s fumble, superior post-debate tactics.

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  • Romney faces a formidable gender gap

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    What do women want? Another four years of President Obama, according to a new YWCA-sponsored poll that found him leading Republican Mitt Romney by 49 percent to 31 percent. The yawning gender gap mirrors other surveys nationwide and here in Ohio, a hotly contested swing state, and it represents one of Romney’s most pressing challenges in the home stretch before the Nov. 6 election.

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  • The prophets of budget balancing

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Here's one thing the two presidential candidates agree on: the federal government's current fiscal course will lead to disaster.

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Sep 28, 2012

  • September, November: 40 precious days to spend on early vote

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    A stream of voters arrived at election offices across Iowa to cast their ballots. Waves of absentee ballots have started landing in mailboxes in 30 other states. And more than a month before what the calendar says is Election Day, President Obama began delivering his closing argument to voters.

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  • Pray for rain

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    The weather forecast could have a big effect on America’s economic forecast next year. The more rain, the better.

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  • In Virginia, nominees reach out to military

    By Helene Cooper and Ashley Parke

    In case anyone is wondering, Virginia is up for grabs this election. So, with 39 days to go, President Obama and Mitt Romney dueled in the commonwealth on Thursday, both trying to lock up support from voters with ties to the military.

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  • A Rove 'money bomb'?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Here's a short list of Democrats who secretly hope Mitt Romney gets his presidential campaign turned around fast and gives President Obama a run for his money: Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic Senate candidate in North Dakota; Jon Tester, the Democratic senator from Montana; and Rep. Shelley Berkley, the Democratic Senate candidate in Nevada.

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  • Obama getting less debate practice than Romney

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama has blocked out three days to prepare for the October debates, but with the constant pressures that come with one of the world's most important jobs, aides worry he may not get enough practice at the podium.

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Sep 27, 2012

  • ANALYSIS: Raising the stakes, lowering expectations

    By Amy Walter and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    Will Mitt Romney get the game changer he needs in next week's presidential debate?

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  • Political perceptions: bad data, upbeat voters

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Polls suggest rising optimism among Americans about the near-term course of the U.S. economy at the same time that economic forecasters are turning pessimistic and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is so worried about persistently high unemployment that he is unleashing another big, and controversial, round of bond-buying to try to boost the economy.

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  • How to measure for a president

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Ann Romney says that she and her husband call the rope line the “advice line.” Every time the candidate works the crowd, well-meaning supporters lean across the rope to offer tips about how he can improve his campaign. At fundraisers, donors give him advice on everything from sovereign debt to his speaking style (slow down!). Conservative pundits have been offering critiques by the wagonful for months.

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  • Guessing the fiscal cliff's fate

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Is Congress going to drive the U.S. economy over the fiscal cliff? Is Washington so dysfunctional that Congress and the president, risking renewed recession, will let taxes rise sharply and spending be cut across the board?

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  • In Ohio, Obama and Romney fight over China, trade

    By Christi Parsons and Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama and Mitt Romney hurled accusations at each other over their economic visions and trade policies as they sprinted across Ohio on Wednesday, a reflection of the fierce campaign being waged in this battleground state.

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Sep 26, 2012

  • Post polls: Obama has lead in Ohio, edge in Fla., hampering Romney path to victor

    By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, Washington Post

    President Obama is threatening Mitt Romney’s best route to victory in the electoral college, grabbing a significant lead over his Republican challenger in Ohio and a slender edge in Florida, according to two new polls by The Washington Pos

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