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!

Jan 17, 2012

  • GOP Race for White House Narrows

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    Insight on what to expect next after Jon Huntsman pulled out of the race Monday.

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  • Most in poll think Romney will clinch GOP nomination

    By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, The Washington Post

    Mitt Romney holds a strong lead nationally in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with a 2 to 1 advantage over his closest competitors, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Romney won the first two contests in the nominating process, and none of the other candidates has been able to demonstrate the broad, sustained support among the party’s conservative base that would translate into a successful challenge. An overwhelming majority of Republicans predict that he will be President Obama’s opponent in November.

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  • Romney Says He Might Release Tax Returns, But Not Yet

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    Republican front-runner Mitt Romney said Monday he might release his tax returns -- but not before South Carolina's primary on Saturday. Romney, who has said previously he had no intention of releasing tax returns, said if he becomes the nominee he may release them in mid-April. Romney said he would follow the tradition established by former President George W. Bush when he ran for office in 2000 and Arizona Sen. John McCain when he became the nominee in 2008.

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  • Red meat for the tea party

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Mitt Romney isn't a naturally eloquent man. His stump speeches are nearly content-free. They combine exaggerated denunciations of President Obama ("a pessimistic president," "the great complainer") and ardent professions of patriotism. "I love our country," Romney announces at every stop. "I love our national anthem.... I love it dearly. I love putting my hand over my heart." He often closes speeches by reciting lines from "America the Beautiful."

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  • GOP Race Intensifies

    By Patrick O'Connor, Carol E. Lee and Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal

    The tone of the Republican presidential race sharpened Monday, as the field narrowed and the remaining candidates faced off in a feisty debate ahead of South Carolina's primary Saturday, in perhaps their last chance to slow front-runner Mitt Romney.

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  • Mitt Romney rivals try to plant doubts about him in debate

    By Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney’s Republican presidential rivals attempted to plant new doubts about his conservatism and his character during a debate here on Monday, putting the front-runner on the defensive — and unnerving him at moments — even as polls suggest he is in a position to win a crucial contest on Saturday.

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  • Analysis: Presidential races flummox GOP's right

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The Republican Party's steadily rightward drift, exemplified by the tea party movement's muscle, keeps hitting a quadrennial paradox that frustrates social conservatives: presidential primaries.

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  • Huntsman ends campaign, endorses Romney

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman suspended his bid for the Republican nomination on Monday, endorsing rival Mitt Romney and calling on his party to end "an onslaught of negative and personal attacks."

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  • Romney Is Opponents’ Main Target in G.O.P. Debate

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    Mitt Romney withstood forceful attacks during a debate here on Monday evening, with his Republican rivals lining up to question his job-creation record, wealth and character, as they implored voters to scrutinize his candidacy more deeply before allowing him to sail to the party’s presidential nomination.

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  • Newt’s Bright Night

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    Can a Republican presidential candidate have a second surge? Mitt Romney should hope not. At Monday night’s debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Newt Gingrich won in both the compulsory and freestyle categories: He offered complete answers that will look great to Republicans on YouTube (his exchange with Juan Williams), quips at his opponent’s expense (his dig at Romney’s super PAC), memorable lines (Andrew Jackson’s view on killing enemies), and substance (he had the details, not merely generalities).

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Jan 13, 2012

  • Obama, DNC Raise $68 Million in Fourth Quarter

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    President Obama's campaign manager worried aloud in a video message released Thursday that too many potential donors are reluctant to contribute to the president's re-election effort because they believe he's running a $1 billion campaign. That figure, Jim Messina insisted, is "completely untrue," and he urged supporters to give now and keep donating through 2012.
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  • Candidates Brace for Brawl in South Carolina

    With Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

    Republican candidates plunged into what's likely to be a hard-hitting run-up to the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary, with unleash millions of dollars being spent on ads, many of them negative. Naftali Bendavid has details on Campaign Journal.

    Watch Video on Wall Street Journal

  • Obama Seeks Power to Merge agencies, Shrink Government

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama this morning will ask Congress to give him authority to significantly shrink the federal government by merging six agencies dealing with trade and commerce, a senior administration official said. Obama is seeking power to propose a sweeping consolidation of agencies with overlapping duties with an eye toward saving money and improving performance, the official said.
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  • Judges Don't Have to Screen Witnesses, Court Rules

    By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

    Judges need not screen potentially unreliable eyewitnesses before they testify as long as the witnesses weren't improperly influenced by police, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 Wednesday. Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it suffices to test a witness's reliability through the usual trial procedures of cross-examination, rules of evidence and jury instructions about the fallibility of eyewitness IDs.
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  • Some Worry 'New' U.S. Military Focus on Asia is a Muddle

    By Nancy A. Youssef and Tom Lasseter, McClatchy Newspapers

    The Obama administration pledge to shift American military strategy toward Asia overlooks a key fact: The United States never really dropped its focus on the region. But the current budget proposal that might flow from that pledge contains a potentially crippling contradiction: The plan might cut the big-ticket items the United States needs to increase its presence in Asia and counter China's growing military capability.
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  • Counting the Cost of Calamities

    By Greg Ip, The Economist

    The world’s industrial supply chains were only just recovering from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in March when a natural disaster severed them again in October. An unusually heavy monsoon season swelled rivers and overwhelmed reservoirs in northern Thailand. The floodwaters eventually reached Bangkok, causing a political crisis as residents fought over whose neighbourhoods would flood. But before that the economic toll was being felt farther north in Ayutthaya province, a manufacturing hub.
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  • Fallout Over Urinating Video

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Defense sec'y Leon Panetta contacts allies in Muslim world to contain damage.

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  • Santorum Cites a Local Legend

    By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    Rick Santorum is facing questions about supporting earmarks during his time in Congress. He offered up a decidedly South Carolinian response on Thursday, boiling down his defense to two words: Strom Thurmond.
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  • Video of Urinating Marines Could Be a Defining Image of Afghanistan

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    The Pentagon opened a formal probe into a video showing Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters, but the move may not be enough to prevent the footage from becoming one of the defining images of the long and deeply unpopular Afghan War. The probe formally unveiled by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday came less than a day after the video began widely circulating over the Internet.
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Jan 12, 2012

  • Republican Rivals Batter Romney in South Carolina

    By Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    For the Republican presidential candidates who want to stop Mitt Romney in South Carolina, it comes down to this: How far are they willing to go? A day after Mr. Romney’s victory in New Hampshire left his rivals running out of time to block his path to the nomination, he was greeted here by a wave of attacks on his business record, his past support for abortion rights and his character.
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