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 23, 2012

  • Newt Gingrich Launches Fundraising, Organizing Blitz

    By Sandhya Somashekhar and Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    Newt Gingrich moved quickly Sunday to capi­tal­ize on his victory in the South Carolina primary, launching an aggressive fundraising and organizing effort and casting himself as the only candidate thus far to have captured the enthusiasm of the Republican base.
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  • Romney vs. Gingrich Highlights GOP Unease

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    The startling outcome of the South Carolina primary did more than turn the race for the Republican presidential nomination upside down. It also left GOP voters with a choice that only serves to highlight the party’s year-long identity crisis and search for a standard-bearer.
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Jan 20, 2012

  • Gingrich Jousts With Rivals on Matters Professional and Personal

    By Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    Newt Gingrich angrily turned aside questions about his marital history at the outset of the final Republican presidential debate before the South Carolina primary, and then aggressively took on Mitt Romney and the other remaining candidates in a raucous confrontation on Thursday night about immigration, abortion, conservative credentials and electability.
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  • Republicans Confident They'll Hang onto House

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    Republicans in the House of Representatives face a toxic national attitude toward Congress, but there remains broad confidence within the GOP that its control of the chamber is not in jeopardy. It's a message party leaders are sharing with their rank-and-file lawmakers gathered this weekend in Baltimore for their annual three-day retreat to develop policy and political strategy for 2012.
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  • Sharp Clashes at Republican Debate Ahead of Vote

    By Steve Holland and Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Republican presidential candidates tore into each other on Thursday and Newt Gingrich snarled at the CNN moderator in a raucous debate two days before the South Carolina primary, which may decide the nomination race.
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    GOP Candidates debate in South Carolina (CNN)

  • A Look Back At Bosnia, Through Angelina Jolie's Eyes

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    Angelina Jolie was just 16 when the war in Bosnia began, and she acknowledges now that she paid little heed to it at the time. But as her awareness of international issues later took shape, her attention was drawn back to that Balkan conflict.
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  • Republican Presidential Contest Has a Day Full of Upheaval

    By Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

    In the most extraordinary day of the Republican presidential race, a series of fast-paced and unexpected events shook the candidates and their campaigns Thursday, significantly changing the dynamic of the contest just two days before a crucial primary that many thought might settle the nomination.
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  • Obama's "We Can't Wait" Juggling Act

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    As President Obama visited Orlando, Fla., on Thursday to describe an initiative to expand international tourism to the United States, Vice President Biden was in Reno, Nev., to discuss the economic hazards of rising college tuitions. As Obama flew on Air Force One later in the day to New York City for four campaign fundraising events, Biden traveled to Los Angeles for an economic event with business leaders, plus another fundraiser.
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  • Ex-wife, Perry exit roil GOP race in SC

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Republican activists hoping to deny the presidential nomination to Mitt Romney have long dreamed of finding one conservative alternative who could consolidate the anti-Romney feelings of many hard-core conservatives. That goal briefly seemed a step closer Thursday in South Carolina. Texas Gov. Rick Perry quit the race and endorsed Newt Gingrich, who already was thought to be rising.
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  • The Brawl

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Newt Gingrich said "No." Mitt Romney said "Maybe." And Rick Santorum said everything better than he has in any other debate. The last Republican debate before Saturday’s South Carolina primary—and the first with just four candidates—was perhaps the most lively of the 17 that have come during this campaign.
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Jan 19, 2012

  • Perry Ends Bid for Presidency

    By Jeff Zeleny and Michael D. Shear, New York Times

    Gov. Rick Perry of Texas dropped out of the Republican presidential race here on Thursday and announced his endorsement for the candidacy of Newt Gingrich, a man he called a “conservative visionary.”
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    Former Texas Governor Rick Perry (CNN)

  • Obama Rejects Keystone Pipeline from Canada to Texas

    By Aamer Madhani and Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    President Obama's rejection Wednesday of rapid approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas triggered Republican and business community objections but also signs from Obama and the pipeline company that the issue was far from over. Russ Girling, president of TransCanada, the pipeline's builder, said the company would reapply for permitting and asked for the application to be processed in time to get the pipeline online by 2014.
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  • Gingrich Sees a South Carolina Surge

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    On the morning after a bellicose debate performance that had the audience leaping to its feet, Newt Gingrich got this challenge from a retired Marine officer who had come to hear him speak at an art gallery here. “What I’ve been looking for in my candidate is, we’ve got to bloody Obama’s nose,” Vence Jelovchan said. “I don’t want to bloody his nose,” the former House speaker replied. “I want to knock him out.”
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  • Poll Shows Obama’s Vulnerability With Swing Voters

    By Jeff Zeleny and Dalia Sussman, New York Times

    President Obama opens his re-election bid facing significant obstacles among independent voters, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, with the critical piece of the electorate that cemented his victory four years ago open to denying him a second term.
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  • Justices Side with Death Row Inmate Abandoned by Counsel

    By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

    An Alabama death row prisoner should not be prevented from appealing because he missed a deadline after his lawyers dropped his case and failed to tell him, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 7-2 vote Wednesday. The two lawyers at the New York office of Sullivan and Cromwell did not alert Alabama court authorities that they were withdrawing, so that when a court clerk sent papers to the lawyers, the firm's mailroom sent them back unopened and marked, "Return to Sender — Left Firm" and "Returned to Sender — Attempted, Unknown."
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  • Insiders Detail Obama Administration's Tough Choice About Iran

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    The Obama administration is locked in a fierce internal debate about whether to order military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, a move that would represent a high-stakes gamble that Iran’s nuclear program could be destroyed without triggering a new Mideast war. High-level deliberations about issues as important as Iran are held behind closed doors in secure facilities at the White House and the Pentagon, rarely giving outsiders a view of various options under discussion.
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  • Romney Delivers a Low Blow to Gingrich

    By Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

    GOP front-runner Mitt Romney struck an especially low blow at Newt Gingrich in South Carolina Tuesday: He compared the former speaker to Al Gore.
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  • GOP Field Leaves SC's Religious Right Uninspired

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The Greenville-Spartanburg area, home to many of South Carolina's evangelical voters, should be prime political ground for Rick Santorum, a longtime anti-abortion crusader who was embraced by a group of Christian leaders meeting last weekend in Texas. Or maybe for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who talks forcefully of his conversion to Catholicism and his hope for redemption for past sins, including infidelity.
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  • Gingrich Comes Back—Again

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are both trying to help South Carolina voters imagine what will happen if Gingrich captures the nomination. In the Gingrich model, he crushes President Obama in the fall 2012 debates, wins a huge victory on Election Day, and prepares the country for fundamental change. In the Romney vision, the undisciplined Gingrich clatters into the fall surrounded by the wreckage of his campaign: His oddball comments set off a series of press feeding frenzies, and he manages to squander a huge Republican opportunity to regain the White House.
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Jan 18, 2012

  • Romney Says He is Taxed at Around 15 Percent Rate

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Republican Mitt Romney acknowledged Tuesday that his income tax rate is "probably closer to 15 percent than anything," suggesting that one of the wealthiest people to ever run for U.S. president pays a much lower rate than most Americans.
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