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 10, 2012

  • Obama Surprised by Daley's Resignation, Says News 'Was Difficult'

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    Chicagoan Bill Daley is stepping down as White House chief of staff, making way for budget director Jack Lew to take over the president’s team as it heads into a tough election year. President Obama told reporters this afternoon that Daley’s resignation was “not easy news to hear” and that he didn’t accept the decision right away. “I asked him to take a couple of days,” Obama said, adding that “the pull of the hometown we both love” ultimately won out.
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  • U.S. Man Sentenced to Death in Iran

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Iranian court convicted Amir Mirza Hekmati of working for CIA, spying for U.S.

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  • Capitalism Comes Under Fire in Republican Primary Campaign

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    The Democrats started it, and now Republican rivals are piling on. Mitt Romney is suddenly playing defense about his career as a venture capitalist--and in a Republican primary campaign, of all things. The attacks on Romney’s Bain Capital career from fellow Republicans may be coming too late in the game to knock him off his path toward the nomination.
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  • Romney's Bain Business is Everybody's Business

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Mitt Romney has been in politics long enough to know that his record is intertwined with that of Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he cofounded. That’s why it’s so surprising that the Republican presidential front-runner is struggling to fend off his rivals’ attempt at a hostile takeover of his private-sector resume.
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  • For Huntsman, Campaign Thawing but Time Running Out

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    About 90 minutes before Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman arrived at Mary's Bakery and Cafe on Monday, the three young volunteers who were his advance team struggled to get a campaign sign into the frozen ground. One suggested they use a blow-torch, another went for hot water. When time ran out, they propped the sign up in a flower pot to greet him.
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  • What Led to Daley's Departure, Lew's Appointment

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    President Obama has now hired one White House chief of staff who was a flame-thrower, another who was a spear-catcher, and a third who will be his sentry. "When the president asked me to do this, I said I'd love to do it for two years through the re-elect. That's always been my plan," outgoing Chief of Staff William Daley said this past October. Obama announced Monday that Daley moved up his date of departure, deciding to return to private life later this month with the new and largely honorific title as a co-chairman of Obama's campaign.
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  • New Hampshire Primary Preview

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood has the story on the GOP candidates vying for the top spot in New Hampshire.

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  • GOP Rivals Turn Romney's Jobs Record Against Him

    By Kasie Hunt and Charles Babington, AP

    Mitt Romney's Republican rivals accused him Monday of exaggerating his successes and coldly laying off thousands of workers while heading a profitable venture capital firm, an effort to turn the presidential front-runner's biggest asset into a liability. The heightened focus on the firm Bain Capital threatens to slow Romney's cruise-control campaign because it goes to the heart of his No. 1 appeal to voters: the claim that he knows far more than President Barack Obama about creating jobs.
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  • The Great Republican Humor Crisis of 2012

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    When John McCain joined Mitt Romney on the campaign trail this week, he brought with him something unfamiliar in this year's race: laughter. Following former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu at a rally on Wednesday, McCain said it reminded him of his favorite joke about governors: "There were two inmates in the chow line in the state prison and one of them turned to the other and said the food was a lot better in here when you were governor.”
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  • New Hampshire 2012: The High-Horse Primary

    By John F. Harris and Alexander Burns, Politico

    Newt Gingrich scoffed that Mitt Romney is serving up “pious baloney.” Romney huffed that Republican rivals who criticize his role with Bain Capital are against free enterprise, just like Barack Obama. And Jon Huntsman hissed that Romney evidently believes that firing workers is good while serving the country is bad. Campaigns often close on a testy note. But New Hampshire’s Republican contest this time seemed notable not so much because candidates were taking the low road as because so many were on a high horse.
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  • Supreme Court to Consider Broadcast Standards

    By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

    The George Carlin "filthy words" monologue that changed the law for broadcasters more than three decades ago went on for 12 minutes and contained seven expletives the comedian kept repeating. The episodes at the heart of a new case testing government regulation of indecency involved one-time expletives by Cher and Nicole Richie at Fox Television's Billboard Awards and a brief shot of a woman's naked posterior on ABC's NYPD Blue.
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  • Romney Supporters Applaud His Remark on Firing People

    By Danny Yadron and Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

    There appears to be least one voting bloc that doesn’t care whether Mitt Romney has ever really feared a pink slip or actually likes firing people: Romney supporters. Mr. Romney spent most of Monday defending his brand of capitalism after Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman piled on the former governor for appearing out-of-touch. But his backers offered a variety of reasons for why the attacks fell flat.
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    GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney (FlickrCC/Gage Skidmore)

  • For Jon Huntsman, New Hampshire Primary Could be Now or Never

    By Sandhya Somashekhar and Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    Tuesday will be a day of reckoning for at least one of the Republican presidential hopefuls: Jon Huntsman, whose quirky and quietly rogue candidacy hinges entirely on a strong showing in the nation’s first primary. Huntsman went for broke here, skipping Iowa and spending virtually the entire campaign in a state that seemed more receptive to his moderate views.
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Jan 09, 2012

  • William Daley to Step Down as Obama's Chief of Staff

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    William Daley is stepping down as White House chief of staff and budget director Jack Lew is taking over the President Obama’s team as it heads into a tough election year, senior administration officials say. Daley gave his letter of resignation to the president in a private meeting in the Oval Office last week, recounting the administration's successes of his one year on the job and saying it was time for him to return to his hometown of Chicago.
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  • Romney Is Focus as Battle in G.O.P. Takes Sharp Edge

    By Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    The Republican race for president splintered along two distinct tracks on Sunday, with all of the candidates who are not named Mitt Romney intensifying their attempts to derail the one who is. And all the while they kept their sights trained on one another as they try to emerge as his chief rival. Two days before the first primary of the Republican nominating process, Mr. Romney remained a solid favorite here on Tuesday and beyond.
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  • Gingrich Sheds Doubt on Romney’s Business Past

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Newt Gingrich raised questions about Mitt Romney’s private sector past at two back-to-back debates over the weekend in New Hampshire, returning to an allegation he made last month that Mitt Romney made a fortune at Bain by “bankrupting companies and laying off employees.” A new report by the New York Times, Gingrich said, showed that Bain, the private equity firm co-founded by Romney, had “looted” one particular company (although it turns out he was actually referring to a Reuters story, written by Andy Sullivan and Greg Roumeliotis, about Bain’s investment in a Kansas City steel mill).
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  • U.S., Iran Play Economic Knockdown

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    Tensions with Iran these days are as high as they've been in years, and managing them will be one of the top challenges facing the Obama administration this year. With Iran threatening to block U.S. ships from entering the Persian Gulf, and the United States vowing not to back down, the stage seems to be set for war. And yet, what's happening with Iran right now may be more of an economic confrontation than a military standoff.

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  • For Mitt Romney, Authenticity Remains an Issue

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    Over the course of this presidential campaign, there has been one consistent reservation many Republican voters — and others — have expressed about GOP front-runner Mitt Romney. They question his authenticity. They don’t know if they can trust him. They wonder who he really is.
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  • Mitt Romney Under Attack in Final N.H. Debate

    By Karen Tumulty and Amy Gardner, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney’s opponents, seizing upon what could be one of their last opportunities to blunt his accelerating ­momentum toward the GOP presidential nomination, trained their fire on the front-runner Sunday. Romney’s opponents took the parts of his résumé that he touts as strengths and offered them as evidence that he lacks authenticity, conviction and consistency. The sparring began on a debate stage and continued as the candidates fanned out across the state in their last weekend of campaigning.
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  • Mitt Romney Under Attack in Final N.H. Debate

    By Karen Tumulty and Amy Gardner, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney’s opponents, seizing upon what could be one of their last opportunities to blunt his accelerating ­momentum toward the GOP presidential nomination, trained their fire on the front-runner Sunday. Romney’s opponents took the parts of his résumé that he touts as strengths and offered them as evidence that he lacks authenticity, conviction and consistency. The sparring began on a debate stage and continued as the candidates fanned out across the state in their last weekend of campaigning.
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