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!

Dec 07, 2011

  • Obama to Address Reform Jews

    By 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.

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Dec 06, 2011

  • OECD Report Cites Rising Income Inequality

    By 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.

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  • While Washington Fights, Your Taxes Set to Rise

    WIth 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.


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  • Gingrich Emerges as Clear Front-Runner in Iowa

    By 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.

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  • 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.
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    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.

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  • Watching TV in Iowa

    By 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.

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  • Obama Follows Roosevelt's Populist Path to Kansas

    By 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.

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  • Newt's Popularity Surges

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    Newt Gingrich would be a target-rich environment for Democrats, says CNBC's John Harwood.


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  • Gingrich Has Strong Lead over Romney in South Carolina

    By 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.

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Dec 05, 2011

  • Will Cain Endorse Gingrich?

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    With Herman Cain out of the race for the GOP nomination, pundits and politicos are turning their attention to which of his former competitors the plain-spoken former pizza executive might endorse. Speculation is focused on Newt Gingrich, who like Cain hails from Georgia and who was the most effusive of all the Republican hopefuls in praising Cain after the announcement Saturday that he was suspending his campaign.

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  • What's the Next Move for Presidential Candidates?

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    CBS political correspondents and Politico's chief White House correspondent Mike Allen join Bob Schieffer for a discussion about the current campaign situation, where each candidate is standing, and the course ahead.

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  • Will the New Newt Gingrich Have Staying Power?

    By Andy Sullivan with additional reporting by Sam Youngman , Reuters

    During his quick ride to the top of voter surveys, Newt Gingrich has cast himself as the more conservative alternative to a flip-flopping Mitt Romney, the other leading Republican candidate for president. But the rise of Gingrich, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, is drawing increased attention to the fact that his own views - on issues including health care, the environment and medical marijuana - haven't always been in line with those of most conservative Republicans.

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  • Tough Guys on Illegal Immigration

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    "I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though some time back they may have entered illegally." That was Ronald Reagan speaking during his 1984 reelection campaign. After that election, he stuck to his guns, signing an immigration reform law that allowed illegal immigrants to apply for residency if they could prove they'd lived in the country for five years, held jobs and committed no crimes.

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  • Does Iran Have a U.S. Drone?

    By Martha Raddatz, ABC

    Martha Raddatz reveals possible consequences of Iran having U.S. technology.

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  • What Do Voters Prefer: Hubris or Humility?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Newt Gingrich has a lot of problems, but a healthy ego isn't one of them. "I'm going to be the nominee," the former House Speaker told ABC News. "It's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee." In contrast, the candidate who's got the most money and the most consistently high poll numbers, Mitt Romney, always bends over backwards not to be presumptuous. This may come at least in part from his top adviser, Stuart Stevens, who likes to say " "If you don't enter this process humbly, you will leave it humbly."

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  • Can Romney Prevail if Few Are Excited About Him?

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    Talk to any Republican leaders or strategists and they will quickly point to the enthusiasm gap between their voters and President Obama’s as one reason they believe they will prevail next November. Listen to any Republican voters and a different enthusiasm gap appears. They are not truly excited about any of their likeliest nominees, least of all Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is rapidly becoming a one-man political experiment, testing the theory that empathy and the ability to connect with voters are prerequisites for a winning campaign. He has many attributes, but firing up a Republican crowd isn’t one of them.

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  • Romney, Gingrich Proceed Carefully in GOP Showdown

    By Charles Babington and Beth Fouhy, Associated Press

    The once-bursting 2012 Republican presidential field is narrowing to a two-man race, and GOP voters have one month before casting the first votes to winnow it to one. Barring a dramatic new turn, their chief options will be the steady but often bland demeanor of Mitt Romney and the idea-a-minute bombast of Newt Gingrich. Herman Cain's suspension of his campaign Saturday, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry's continued struggles to regain traction, have focused the party's attention on Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and Gingrich, the former House speaker.

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  • Despite Surge, Gingrich Faces Major Hurdles

    By Trip Gabriel and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    Surging in polls is one thing. But as Newt Gingrich seeks to turn his impressive performance in surveys into votes, he is scrambling madly to build the kind of organization that Mitt Romney has methodically put in place for a year, one that will let him compete through all 50 contests, often in multiple states at once. Upending expectations, Mr. Gingrich has taken a decisive lead in new polls in several early-voting states, benefiting from the drift of Herman Cain supporters even before Mr. Cain suspended his campaign on Saturday.

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  • 'Make or Break' Week for Italy and the Eurozone

    With Sudeep Reddy, Wall Street Journal

    WSJ's Sudeep Reddy reports on key meetings this week among European leaders and previews U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's meetings with Euro leaders as well.


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