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 19, 2011

  • Republican presidential debate puts Herman Cain to test

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington POst

    The near-weekly ritual of Republican presidential debates took a raucous turn Tuesday night as the unsettled field of candidates ganged up on one another in a series of attacks more intense and personal than any in their previous appearances together.

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  • After sharp GOP debate, campaign shifts focus

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    After five debates in six weeks, the race for the Republican presidential nomination will soon shift to a new phase, one focused on states with early primaries and caucuses and dominated by retail campaign skills and television commercials rather than by prepared sound bites and testy exchanges on a debate stage.

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  • Fightin' Words: Rick Perry and Mitt Romney duke it out at the presidential debate in Las Vegas.

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    In order to give the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate a regional flair, the network created a horseshoe logo. The candidates went one better. They turned the debate into a Wild West bar fight. It started with a scuffle over Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, then tipped over tables in a skirmish over Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts. The candidates talked over each other, their voices escalating. They accused each other of lying. At one testy point, when Romney was lecturing Rick Perry about interrupting, he put his hand on the Texas governor’s shoulder. He was trying to provoke him. Watch it, Mitt—he could be packing.

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Oct 18, 2011

  • Street Cred: Why Herman Cain keeps trying to say Mitt Romney is Wall Street’s candidate.

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    Mitt Romney can claim a lot of geography. He was born in Michigan, was governor of Massachusetts, worked and lived in Utah, and has a summer place in New Hampshire. Oh, and he’s said to be building in San Diego.

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  • Hillary Clinton Visits Libya to Meet Rebel Leaders

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down in Libya Tuesday afternoon, becoming the first cabinet level official to visit the country since NATO airstrikes began in March and Tripoli fell in late August.

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  • Hillary Clinton Visits Libya to Meet Rebel Leaders

    by Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down in Libya Tuesday afternoon, becoming the first cabinet level official to visit the country since NATO airstrikes began in March and Tripoli fell in late August.

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  • Street Cred: Why Herman Cain keeps trying to say Mitt Romney is Wall Street’s candidate.

    by John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Mitt Romney can claim a lot of geography. He was born in Michigan, was governor of Massachusetts, worked and lived in Utah, and has a summer place in New Hampshire. Oh, and he’s said to be building in San Diego.

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  • GOP debates become key providing ground

    by Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    The battle for the Republican presidential nomination always moves first through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and lately Nevada. But before the 2012 candidates ever get to those states, they have been forced to run through an unexpectedly significant proving ground: nationally televised debates.

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  • Miss Nevada outshines Romney

    by Amy Gardner and Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Mitt Romney wasn’t the big star at a campaign rally under a blazing Nevada sun at an office park a few miles off the Las Vegas strip.  Tim Pawlenty, a former rival for the Republican presidential nomination who has endorsed Romney and is with this week in Nevada, wasn’t really the star either.

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  • Republican Debate: Five Things to Watch

    by Nia Malika-Henderson, The Washington Post

    If it seems like it was just a week ago that eight Republican presidential candidates sat around a table for a debate, that’s because it was just a week ago. But with tonight’s CNN/Western Republican Leadership Conference debate, which starts at 8 pm EST, the iron-man-like gauntlet of back-to-back fall debates ends and the candidates won’t have face-to-face meetings until next month. So tonight, the candidates will have two hours to make an impression and land a punch, before another round of debates begins.

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  • A Front-Runner, but the Race Is Long

    by Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker, The New York Times

    He has consistently outperformed the rest of the Republican presidential field in debates. He has built a powerful fund-raising machine. He has rolled out one big-name endorsement after another. He has avoided being drawn into distracting sideshows or becoming rattled by his opponents.

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  • Will Deficit Panel Count Savings From Waning Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    by Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal

    As the deadline approaches for the congressional supercommittee to cut $1.2 trillion or more from the deficit, one question is whether it will count savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  • Don’t look down: What if there were another Lehman?

    by Greg Ip, The Economist

    ASKED on October 11th how he might have handled the financial crisis of 2008 differently, Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, refused to answer “a hypothetical”. He had good reason to prevaricate. The possibility of another crisis, given the euro zone’s woes, remains; the ability of the federal government to respond has changed drastically

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  • Iraq War Ends With a Whimper, Not a Bang

    by Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    The Iraq War began with Pentagon officials boasting about an initial offensive that would “shock and awe” the enemy, then-President George W. Bush flying a military plane to an aircraft carrier for a high-profile address to thousands of cheering troops, and round-the-clock coverage on the nation’s TV networks. Eight and a half grueling years later, the deeply unpopular conflict is set to end with a whimper, not a bang.

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  • High court to decide if it's a crime to lie about being a war hero

    by Douglas Stanglan and Joan Biskupic, USA Today

    The U.S. Supreme Court is stepping into an emotionally charged dispute over a federal law that makes it a crime to lie about being a war hero.  

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  • Police Expand Philadelphia Dungeon Case

    by Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    Captors allegedly held disabled people captive to collect government checks. 

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Oct 17, 2011

  • White House has "growing sense" Romeny will get GOP nod

    With John Dickerson, CBS/Slate Magazine and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Despite Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's recent surge in popularity, the White House has identified Mitt Romney as the man to beat, according to CBS News Chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell.  Watch video

  • Romney's rise challenges tea party's clout in GOP

    by Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Mitt Romney's early success in the Republican presidential race is challenging the tea party's clout. Will it continue to pull the GOP sharply right? Will it slowly fade? Or merge with mainstream Republican elements in a nod to pragmatism, something it's hardly known for?  Read more

  • Gingrich: Romney's Rockefeller Problem

    by Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has a new take on Mitt Romney’s challenge in cementing his status as frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. It’s not that he’s a flip flopper. It’s not that he’s a Mormon. It’s his Nelson Rockefeller problem.  Read more

  • McCain to Pawlenty: "Watch the Money"

    by Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Tim Pawlenty had money on his mind a few weeks before he ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination two months ago.   Read more