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 09, 2012

  • The long-term economic to-do list

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    The items marked "urgent" on the president's economic to-do list are overwhelming. The temptation must be to start at the top and work down: Avert the fiscal cliff, fill pending cabinet vacancies, reach out to China's new leaders, cajole Europe into avoiding economic suicide.

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  • To the cliff, and beyond

    By Greg Ip, Economist

    A DAY after receiving a thumbs-up from voters, Barack Obama got a thumbs-down from the stockmarket, which fell 2%, its biggest fall in a year. Blame the threat of higher taxes on dividends and capital gains and tougher treatment of banks and fossil fuels, but blame also the sad fact that the election failed to resolve the biggest question hanging over the economy: how to deal with the deficit.

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  • Analysis: Obama may now seek to make deeper mark on high court

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    President Barack Obama's election victory on Tuesday may give him the  opportunity to deepen his liberal imprint on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Nov 08, 2012

  • Back to work, Obama is greeted by looming crisis

    By Jackie Calmes and Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Newly re-elected, President Obama moved quickly on Wednesday to open negotiations with Congressional Republican leaders over the main unfinished business of his term — a major deficit-reduction deal to avert a looming fiscal crisis — as he began preparing for a second term that will include significant cabinet changes.

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  • After Obama’s reelection, overtures from Republicans on debt negotiations

    By Lori Montgomery and Zachary A. Goldfarb, The Washington Post

    Less than 24 hours after the election, President Obama and congressional leaders moved with alacrity Wednesday to show flexibility in solving the nation’s biggest economic problems and recast Washington’s often divisive politics.

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  • GOP asks "why?" and "where do we go from here?"

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Having lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, Republicans plunged Wednesday into an intense period of self-examination, blame-setting and testy debate over whether their party needs serious change or just some minor tweaks.

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  • Three small steps to a modest jobs deal

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    For the last several years in Washington, lawmakers acted like winning the next election was more important than getting the country back to full employment. Tuesday’s election should mercifully end that. Growth remains substandard. Both parties own a solid piece of the federal government. It’s now in both Democrats’ and Republicans’ political and policy interests to juice up job growth.

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  • Analysis: U.S. battle over ballots averted, but not forever

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    They sued early and often.
    Voting-rights advocates, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and some political party officials, tackled potential electoral problems early this election year. Judges blocked stringent voter ID laws, lifted registration restrictions and rejected limits on early voting.

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Nov 07, 2012

  • Question for the victor: How far do you push?

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    For President Obama, now comes a second chance. An electorate that considers the country to be on the wrong track nonetheless agreed to renew his contract in hopes that the next four years will be better than the last.

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  • How Obama won four more years

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    In the end, it wasn't close. Barack Obama won re-election handily over Mitt Romney with 303 electoral votes (so far), well more than the 270 electoral votes needed. Of the nine battleground states that were up for grabs, Obama won seven of them, losing only North Carolina (Florida remains to be called). But while Obama won those states, he didn't crush it; he won instead, a string of precise narrow victories. He didn’t win because his leadership during Hurricane Sandy blew all those swing votes his way (though it may have helped). The president won because he ran a permanent campaign, keeping his offices open in the battleground states from his 2008 campaign, tending his coalition assiduously, and because he relentlessly defined his opponent. His was the better campaign. The Democratic candidate of “hope and change” beat the big business Republican in the trenches, in one state after another.

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  • Romney's last, greatest 'turnaround' falls short

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential nomination as a "turnaround man," whose capacity to reinvent companies, and the 2002 Olympics, could be transferred to the nation and its troubled economy.

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  • In victory speech, Obama pledges to heal divide

    By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    President Barack Obama, in a celebratory re-election speech early Wednesday, said he will in his second presidential term strive bridge a partisan divide that has proven difficult to bridge during his first four years in the White House.

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  • Can the same president build a new landscape?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    After a long and arduous campaign, a newly reelected President Obama confronts his next challenge: binding together a deeply divided nation and turning from campaigning to governing.

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  • Divided U.S. gives Obama more time

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected president of the United States on Tuesday, overcoming powerful economic headwinds, a lock-step resistance to his agenda by Republicans in Congress and an unprecedented torrent of advertising as a divided nation voted to give him more time.

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Nov 06, 2012

  • Clues could come early in state-by-state battle

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    The most expensive presidential race in American history now becomes the biggest show on television, a night with enough uncertainty that it could become a telethon lasting well into morning.

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  • Fight vs. Change

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    If you are still undecided and haven’t voted, you don’t have a lot of time to read position papers and rewatch the debates. You certainly don’t have time to read a five-part series on presidential attributes (though you should). On the other hand, you may be undecided because you’ve read everything, and the more you read the more confused you become.

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  • 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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