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!
Dec 07, 2011
The $7.7 Trillion Fed Loan that Really Wasn'tWIth David Wessel, Wall Street Journal
WSJ's David Wessel separates fact from fiction behind the Federal Reserve's 2008 loan to banks at the onset of the economic downturn.Watch Video
Newt by ProxyBy Major Garrett, National Journal
In 1995, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich banned proxy votes in committees. That meant no longer could powerful chairmen (for 40 years previous, all Democrats) cast votes for lawmakers who skipped out on the marking-up of legislation. This is ironic because the reason Gingrich is the Republican presidential front-runner today is that several big-name Republicans essentially cast their proxy vote for him.Read More from National Journal
Obama Takes Populist Economic Message to the HeartlandBy Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times
President Obama rolled out the major themes of his reelection bid in a speech in which he sought to capture public concern about rising economic inequality and wrap his policies in a call for a "fair shot" for America's middle class. Growing inequality "is the defining issue of our time," Obama said in a nearly hourlong address here Tuesday. "This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement."Read More
Allies Urge Romney to Mix it up More in CampaignBy Charles Babington, Associated Press
Mitt Romney's above-the-fray campaign style kept him atop the Republican presidential field for months. But it's raising concerns now that Newt Gingrich has moved up to challenge him.Read More
Fight Shapes Up for Senate GOP Leadership SlotBy Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal
Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) just announced he’s running for a Senate Republican leadership post, taking on Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) in what many lawmakers see as a contest between a traditionalist elder statesman and an insurgent newcomer. At the same time, GOP leaders have moved up the election from January to next Tuesday, so the race will be quick and high-intensity. The leadership vacancy was triggered when Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) announced in September he was leaving the leadership to work on bipartisan bills, setting off a cascade of openings as other senators moved up.Read More
Legislator Insider TradingWith Eamon Javers, CNBC
CNBC's Eamon Javers reports on the STOCK Act, which bans Congress from trading on nonpublic information.Watch Video
In Iowa, Gingrich Is Gaining Favor, New Poll ShowsBy Jeff Zeleny and Marjorie Connelly, New York Times
Newt Gingrich enters the final four weeks of campaigning before the Iowa caucuses with Republican voters in the state viewing him as more prepared to be president than Mitt Romney, more attuned to their concerns and just as capable of defeating President Obama, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.Read More
Gingrich Surges Ahead in IowaBy Jeff Zeleny and Marjorie Connelly, New York Times
A month before the Republican nominating contest opens here, former Speaker Newt Gingrich holds a substantial lead among voters who say they are likely to participate in the Iowa caucuses, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Mr. Gingrich, whose presidential candidacy has steadily surged in recent weeks after a series of televised debates, won the support of 31 percent of Republicans and independents who say they will definitely or probably attend the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.Read More
Republican Romney to Skip Trump DebateBy Sam Youngman, Thomson Reuters
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Tuesday that he will not attend a controversial Dec. 27 debate to be moderated by real estate magnate Donald Trump, as have candidates Ron Paul and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. Romney told Fox News' Neil Cavuto that he will not participate in the Iowa debate, which has drawn fire from Washington Republicans as well as two of Romney's competitors.
Mitt Romney announces in Paradise Valley, AZ that he will not participate in the Trump debate.
Geithner Says Europe 'Will Succeed'By Gabriele Parussini And Sudeep Reddy
U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Wednesday he was confident that the efforts made by European governments to tackle the sovereign-debt crisis and economic slowdown will be successful. "We're encouraged by the progress [Europeans] are making, not just to put in place economic reforms across Europe to create the conditions for stronger growth in the future, but to try to build a stronger architecture for a fiscal union ... and try to make sure there's a sufficiently strong firewall in place to support those efforts," Mr. Geithner said after meeting with French Finance Minister François Baroin.Read More
Obama to Address Reform JewsBy Helene Cooper, New York Times
President Obama will speak next week to a large gathering of North American Jews, the Union of Reform Judaism announced on Tuesday. The group, which is considered more liberal than the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, will hold its annual meeting Dec. 14-16 in the Washington area. Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak and Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican leader, will also speak to the 6,000 people expected at the conference.Read More
Dec 06, 2011
OECD Report Cites Rising Income InequalityBy Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post
Income inequality is increasing across much of the developed world, a trend that will continue unless governments move aggressively to arrest it, according to a report released Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The widening gap between rich and poor is being driven in part by a growing disparity in wages, as skilled workers command a disproportionate share of the bounty made possible by technological progress, the report said.Read More
While Washington Fights, Your Taxes Set to RiseWIth David Wessel, Wall Street Journal
WSJ's David Wessel offers analysis of Washington's battle over payroll tax reductions as Social Security tax increases are slated to kick in at the end of December.
Gingrich Emerges as Clear Front-Runner in IowaBy Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, Washington Post
Propelled by his debate performances and the demise of Herman Cain’s candidacy, former House speaker Newt Gingrich sits atop the Republican presidential field in Iowa with a clear lead over his closest competitors, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Gingrich, according to the survey, has advantages that extend well beyond the horse race that put him in an enviable position in the final weeks before the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses, which serve as the formal start of the long nominating season.Read More
More Like Reagan?By John Dickerson, Slate
Conservatives prize constancy above all else, but if Republicans are really faced with a choice between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, this will be a nomination defined by reversals. Nominating Gingrich will require conservatives to embrace a sweeping ideological reversal. Nominating Romney will require Republicans to embrace a candidate who is defined by personal reversals.
Newt Gingrich meets with Donald Trump in New York City.
Drone Technology in Hands of Iran?By Martha Raddatz, ABC News
U.S. intelligence believes Iranian government has captured a drone plane.Watch Video
Watching TV in IowaBy Beth Reinhard, National Journal
For an interesting study in contrasts, compare the television advertising broadcast by the leading Republican presidential candidates ads in Iowa. The most distinctive quality of Newt Gingrich's first ad is its speed: slow motion. Going for the heartstrings, the spot showcases amber waves of grain to purple mountain majesties, joining the scores of homages to Ronald Reagan's beloved "It's morning again in America'' ad. Gingrich says, "Some people say the America we know and love is a thing of the past. I don't believe that. Because working together, I know we can rebuild America.'' Definitely an old-school ad by an old-school politician.Read More from National Journal
Obama Follows Roosevelt's Populist Path to KansasBy Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics
President Obama on Tuesday will visit Kansas, a conservative bastion he lost by 15 points to John McCain in 2008, to deliver populist economic arguments he hopes can carry him in his 2012 re-election bid. In a detour from the battleground-states itinerary he's followed all year, the president is visiting the state his maternal grandparents called home in an effort to echo some of the "Square Deal" sentiments first voiced in a 1910 speech by Republican Theodore Roosevelt.Read More
Newt's Popularity SurgesWith John Harwood, CNBC
Newt Gingrich would be a target-rich environment for Democrats, says CNBC's John Harwood.
Gingrich Has Strong Lead over Romney in South CarolinaBy Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post
Newt Gingrich has a commanding lead over Mitt Romney in South Carolina, according to a new poll, results that come as the former Georgia Congressman has gained momentum in other key early states. The Winthrop University poll results, based on interviews with more than 1,000 registered voters in the Palmetto state, show Gingrich grabbing 38 percent of the vote and Mitt Romney lagging by double digits at 22 percent.Read More