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 30, 2012

  • Gingrich Vows to Ban Embryonic Stem-Cell Research, Questions In Vitro Practices

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    As former House speaker Newt Gingrich courts evangelical voters in advance of Tuesday’s Florida primary, he is drawing an increasingly hard line against the use of embryonic stem-cell research — a position that contrasts not only with that of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, but also with statements that Gingrich himself has made on the subject in the past.
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  • In Iran's Oil Gambit, EU Nations Have Much To Lose

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The Europeans are in the midst of their most serious economic crisis in 60 years, and now they're hearing it's not just their own fate they have to consider: The whole global economy hangs in the balance. The International Monetary Fund last week warned that if Europe's problems get any worse, it could push the entire world back into recession.
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  • A Florida Bush Stays Silent, and to Many, That Says a Lot

    By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    A steady stream of endorsements has been flowing to Mitt Romney, with his campaign promoting Republicans who are giving their blessing to his presidential candidacy. Yet on the eve of the Florida primary, he has been unable to land the biggest catch of all: Jeb Bush.
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  • Female Candidates for Congress on Upward Trend

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    The roster of congressional candidates for this year's elections is taking shape and one trend is emerging: 2012 could be another "Year of the Woman" in American politics. The moniker was famously applied in 1992 when four women were elected to the Senate, a high watermark for the chamber that has never been surpassed.
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  • Gingrich Rattles GOP Elite

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Republican insiders are rising up to cut Newt Gingrich down to size, testament to the GOP establishment's fear that the mercurial candidate could lead the party to disaster this fall. The gathering criticisms are bitingly sharp, as if edged by a touch of panic, a remarkable development considering the target once was speaker of the House and will go down in history as leader of the Republicans' 1994 return to power in Congress.
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    Former GOP Candidate Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich (CNN)

Jan 27, 2012

  • Defense Budget Plan Doesn't Cut as Deeply as Pentagon Says

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    Pentagon officials unveiled the outlines Thursday of what they called a pared-down defense budget, but their request increases baseline spending beyond the projected end of the Afghan war, even as they plan to reduce ground forces.
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  • Romney Fights Back

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Mitt Romney may not drink, but he was loaded when he entered last night’s debate in Jacksonville, Fla. He went after Newt Gingrich immediately and relentlessly. He scolded him, rendered him momentarily mute, and took answers about other topics and turned them into attacks on Gingrich on key issues like excessive government spending. Romney didn't just have good answers, he looked like a man in command of himself. His new debate coach Brett O'Donnell should double his fees.
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  • Gingrich Regains National Lead Over Romney: Poll

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    Newt Gingrich has regained a national lead over Mitt Romney among Republican voters, who value a candidate’s positions on issues more than the ability to defeat President Obama in the fall, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
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  • Obama’s Brewer Encounter Sidetracks Message

    By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama’s encounter with Arizona governor Jan Brewer yesterday on an airport tarmac in Phoenix sidetracked the administration’s effort to keep the media focused on the president’s message.
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  • Analysis: Romney is Fiery, Focused in Fla. Debate

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Mitt Romney, forced to prove his resilience after a stinging loss in South Carolina, is showing why the so-called Republican establishment thinks he has the best discipline, organization and campaign smarts to challenge President Barack Obama this fall.
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  • Dole vs. Gingrich: The GOP Empire Strikes Back

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    After arriving in Florida like a rolling ball of butcher knives, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is looking less edgy and more flabby by the hour. The last four polls in Florida now show Mitt Romney back ahead (the previous four had Gingrich up). That's at least in part because Republicans-–some conservative, some semiconservative, and some conveniently conservative–-are attacking Gingrich as a walking, talking party menace; a flu-like contagion who will lose the presidency and contaminate down-ballot Republicans with erratic extremism.
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  • The True State of Our Union: Introduction

    By Alexis Simendinger and Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics

    Listening to Barack Obama’s lengthy State of the Union address in the same week the Republican presidential candidates held more debates in their incessant series was to visit two parallel universes. The economy is getting better. Nope, the economy is a disaster. We need to change the tax code so the rich pay “their fair share.” Oh, no: We need to change the tax code to starve Washington and put more money in all Americans' pockets. Business needs to be regulated. Business needs to be unfettered.
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  • Romney Stays on the Offense With Gingrich

    By Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    Mitt Romney, facing his greatest challenge of the campaign so far, relentlessly pressed Newt Gingrich on Thursday night in their final debate before the Florida primary, seeking to regain the offensive against an insurgent challenge that has shaken his claim to inevitability.
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  • Santorum, Short on Cash, Fights Uphill Battle

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    In his speech after finishing a distant third in the South Carolina primary, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum declared that he was one of “three winners” out of the first three GOP contests. It was a hopeful spin on a disappointing finish, and now San­torum faces a new reality here in Florida: He is short on cash, and he is the odd man out in what is shaping up to be a two-man contest.
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  • In Airport Run-In, Democrats See Help for Obama Among Hispanics

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    Democrats see the chance that President Obama’s heated exchange with Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona on the airport tarmac in Phoenix could help him with the Hispanic voters he came West to court this week.
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  • Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich Square off in Republican Debate

    By Dan Balz and Amy Gardner, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich sparred here Thursday night over immigration, taxes and wealth, lobbying, and colonizing the moon in a debate that underscored the potential consequences of a loss for either of the leading Republican presidential candidates in Tuesday’s high-stakes Florida primary.
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    Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in Thursday's Florida GOP Debate (CNN)

  • In Florida, Gingrich Harnesses Anger of the Right

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was laughing. Not a politician's polite chuckle but a real laugh as a protester who had infiltrated the crowd at one of his rallies on Wednesday was escorted out.
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  • With Campaign Season Here, Obama Shows Some Swagger

    By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times

    He's confronting Republicans in the House chamber and on a sunny tarmac in front of the cameras. He's singing Al Green and busting out corny jokes. He's trying out his Spanish and taking off the necktie. It looks like the sometimes-aloof, overly cerebral President Obama has gotten some of his mojo back.
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Jan 26, 2012

  • President Takes His Economic Message on the Road

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    Fresh from a State of the Union address he used to make his case for re-election, President Obama took to the road on Wednesday to build support for his economic message of fairness, calling for Congress to eliminate tax deductions for companies that move jobs overseas.
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  • Why Are There So Many Presidential Debates?

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    In the lore of the U.S. political system, debates are among the most hallowed of rituals. From Lincoln-Douglas on, they have been the moments when voters are supposed to have an opportunity to get to know their candidates, contrast their ideas, evaluate their mettle. But this campaign season, it might be fair to ask: Are Americans getting too much of a good thing?
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