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 26, 2011

  • Republican candidates offer a diverse set of economic plans

    By Perry Bacon Jr. and Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    At a moment when the fragility of the economy ranks at the top of American concerns, sharp differences have begun to emerge in how the leading GOP presidential contenders would solve the problem — illuminating not only a diversity in approach, but a striking contrast in the candidates’ governing philosophies.

     

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  • Obama Touts Two Lists: Campaign Promises Kept, and To-Do

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    President Obama is keeping his own report card, and gives himself an "incomplete." At multiple stops in California Monday and Tuesday while raising money for his campaign, the president told audiences that he keeps a list of his 2008 campaign promises in his desk drawer. "About once a week I take it out and make a check," he said Tuesday in San Francisco before heading off to Denver. He boasted that he has successfully tackled about 60 percent of that list in less than three years.

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  • Perry calls for sweeping tax cuts, benefit changes

    By Charles Babington and Kasie Hunt, Associated Press

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry proposed dramatic tax and spending changes Tuesday, saying he would let Americans choose between a 20 percent flat tax and the current system, allow private Social Security accounts and slash government spending and regulation.

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  • Romney Targeted in High-Dollar Ad Onslaught

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    For now, the attacks on the Republican front-runner for president are mostly confined to snarky Internet videos, e-mails and Twitter posts. But the big-dollar war on Mitt Romney is coming, just as surely as winter. Millions of dollars raised by his Republican opponents and the so-called super PACS, as well as by groups on the extreme left and right of the political spectrum, will be hurled in his direction.

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  • Hard times: How the economic slowdown has changed consumer spending in America

    By The Economist

    AMERICANS are spending less on clothes and eating out and more on household fuel bills and healthcare, according to data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Between 2007 and 2010, average annual consumer spending per unit—defined as a family/shared household or single/financially independent person—fell by 3.1% to $48,109. Average prices over this period have risen by 5.2%, so real consumer spending has fallen by almost 8%.

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  • Obama: From hope and change to change and hope for the best

    By Sam Youngman, The Hill

    President Obama’s campaign has gone from hope and change to change and hope. He wants to change the conversation to what the Republicans are saying and hope voters find him to be the lesser of two evils.

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  • Obama Taps Into Hollywood in West Coast Swing

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    With a morning taping of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” on Tuesday, President Obama makes his fourth appearance on the couch opposite the host Jay Leno, in between mining for California gold at fund-raisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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  • Obama Taps Into Hollywood in West Coast Swing

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    With a morning taping of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” on Tuesday, President Obama makes his fourth appearance on the couch opposite the host Jay Leno, in between mining for California gold at fund-raisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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  • New Poll Finds a Deep Distrust of Government

    By Jeff Zeleny and Megan Thee-Brenan, New York Times

    With Election Day just over a year away, a deep sense of economic anxiety and doubt about the future hangs over the nation, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, with Americans’ distrust of government at its highest level ever.

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Oct 25, 2011

  • Perry Looks Outside His Circle to Boost Campaign

    By John Harwood, Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is taking significant steps to redefine his candidacy as his battle for the Republican nomination intensifies, including unveiling a tax overhaul plan that would give people the option of paying a 20 percent flat tax on income.

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  • 10 Questions for Rick Perry

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is seeking to jump-start his Republican presidential campaign by proposing a new tax system: a 20-percent flat rate on individual and corporate income, down from the current 35 percent top rate, and elimination of existing taxes on estates, capital gains and dividends. He sat down with John Harwood of The Times and CNBC to discuss the plan, his challenge to a Republican rival, Mitt Romney, and other issues. What follows is a condensed, edited transcript of their conversation.

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  • Perry Adds Veteran Advisers to Campaign

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Gov. Rick Perry is expanding his tight circle of Texas advisers to adapt to the growing needs – and to deal with the growing pains – of his Republican presidential candidacy.

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  • The Cain Mutiny

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Herman Cain has captured lightning in a bottle. That's the political cliché for the blast of popularity he's experiencing. But in Iowa, a state that has traditionally rewarded well-organized campaigns, the question is whether Cain is all lightning and no bottle. His supporters and political consultants are trying to get him to spend time and energy in the state, but he has a different plan.

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  • Rick Perry moves to recharge campaign with flat-tax plan and new hires

    By Perry Bacon Jr. and Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Welcome to Rick Perry 2.0.   The Republican Texas governor is retooling his presidential campaign, shuffling staff and touting a bold but controversial new tax plan, hoping to rebound from a recent plunge in the polls.

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  • Obama's New Refi Plan

    By Eamon Javers, CNBC

    President Obama travels to Las Vegas, one of the hardest hit housing markets in the country, to unveil his new home refinancing program.

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  • Wars Wind Down, But Some Forces Face Wearying Future

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    Army Ranger Kristoffer Domeij was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday while on his 14th combat deployment, highlighting a dispiriting fact of life for some of America’s warriors: conventional forces are leaving Iraq and Afghanistan in large numbers, but the sky-high demand for special-operations troops like the Rangers won’t be changing anytime soon.

    Read more in the National Journal

Oct 24, 2011

  • Events Erode Hope of Tax Overhaul Before Election Day

    by John Harwood, The New York Times

    Even in good times, tax reform poses steep political challenges. And these aren’t exactly good times.That helps explain the angst among advocates of revamping the tax code as they have watched events erode their hopes of near-term success on Capitol Hill.

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  • Obama's foreign successes may help little in 2012

    by Charles Babington, Associated Press

    By declaring the Iraq war over, President Barack Obama scored what his allies see as a fourth big foreign policy success in six months, starting with Osama bin Laden's killing.

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  • In Colorado, voter anger clouds 2012 choices

    by Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    By almost every electoral scenario, the road to the White House in 2012 will run directly through Colorado and a handful of other Rocky Mountain states. Right now, neither President Obama, who will visit here early this week, nor the Republicans who debated in Las Vegas last week should feel confident about their prospects in this pivotal region.

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  • Clinton defends troop withdrawal from Iraq

    by Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that the U.S. will maintain a strong military interest in Iraq, after its last combat troops leave this year, and she warned Iran not to try and take advantage of the pullout.

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