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

  • Romney Newtered

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    South Carolina went “Grandiose.” Newt Gingrich, who embraced that word when it was used to describe him, won the Republican primary handily today with around 40 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney, who had been ahead by double digits in polls after the New Hampshire primary, received only 27 percent. Given Gingrich's overwhelming victory, it may be difficult for him to find a historical figure important enough to compare himself to.
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  • Obama's State of Union Must Strike a Balance on Congress

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    For weeks, President Obama and his top advisors have been meeting around the gleaming table in the Roosevelt Room, debating what to include in the State of the Union address that will double as the national opening of the president's reelection year. Now, as they polish the final drafts, a key question remains: how rough to be in attacking what Obama calls a "do-nothing Congress" — the members of which will be arrayed in front of him as he speaks Tuesday night.
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  • Gingrich and Romney Trade Jabs as G.O.P. Race Rolls On

    By Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    Mitt Romney, facing a restive Republican Party and a resurgent Newt Gingrich, opened a combative new phase of the presidential campaign on Monday and warned of the prospect of an “October surprise” if Mr. Gingrich emerged as the party’s nominee.
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  • Gingrich Wins Means Grueling GOP Fight

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has taken a giant step toward becoming the Republican alternative to Mitt Romney that tea partyers and social conservatives have been seeking for months. Gingrich's come-from-behind victory Saturday in the South Carolina primary snatched away the quick and easy way for the GOP to pick its presidential nominee.
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    Former Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks after winning the South Carolina Primary (CNN)

  • Republicans Put Their Family Feud on Display

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." With apologies to Leo Tolstoy, his masterpiece "Anna Karenina" -- and its opening line -- comes to mind when spending some time with the GOP field. They're an unhappy brood all right -- dissatisfied with President Barack Obama, with the economy, with what they consider overregulation, with deficits, with big government, with the tax code.
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  • French Troop Deaths Spark Worry over Afghan Training Mission

    By Nancy A. Youssef and Ali Safi, McClatchy Newspapers

    The killings of four French troops Friday by an Afghan soldier they were training has renewed concerns — a decade into the training mission — that Afghans are growing increasingly disdainful of the U.S.-led coalition forces ostensibly there to help them and are striking back.
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  • Mitt Romney Faces a Perfect Mess

    By John F. Harris and Jonathan Martin, Politico

    Perfect resume, perfect looks, perfect family, and a perfect roster of skilled campaign operatives and blue-chip endorsements: Mitt Romney has them all. Yet he comes out of his drubbing in South Carolina with a perfect problem.
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  • Rep. Giffords to Resign this Week to Focus on Recovery

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    One year after a gunman tried to take her life, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords sat before a camera and announced she would forgo re-election plans in order to focus on her ongoing recovery.
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  • Like Lazarus, Gingrich Resurrected - Again

    By Samuel P. Jacobs and Sam Youngman, Reuters

    In the heart of the Bible Belt, Newt Gingrich, the winner of Saturday's South Carolina primary, evoked comparisons to a familiar scriptural tale: Lazarus, the man who rose from the dead.
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  • Is Romney a True Conservative?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    For months, Mitt Romney's rivals in the Republican presidential race have hammered him as a closet moderate, especially on third-rail social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. "Mitt Romney: Not conservative," charged one recent and typical television commercial sponsored by supporters of Newt Gingrich.
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    GOP Candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporter in South Carolian following Saturday's Primary (CNN)

  • Florida Tests Loom for Romney, Gingrich

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    Did South Carolina decide the Republican presidential nominee, as it has since 1980, or did it engage in a primal scream that slows but does not derail Mitt Romney's momentum? Florida won't settle that question entirely, but its Jan. 31 primary will say more than Gingrich would like to admit. In the next phase of his campaign, look for Romney to release his tax returns, participate in fewer debates, try to tell his own story with more passion, and, with the help of his super PAC allies, go after Gingrich more directly.
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  • 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.
    Listen to Story

  • 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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