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 12, 2011

  • Looking Up

    By Greg Ip, The Economist

    Three months ago Barack Obama was firmly in the dock over news that no net jobs were created in August. Some gloomy people even saw a double-dip recession on the way. America, it turns out, was not on the verge of recession, and it still isn’t. Subsequent revisions show that 104,000 jobs were in fact created in August. Later months have also been revised upwards, and in November payrolls grew by 120,000, or 0.1%.

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  • Critics Struggle to Explain Gingrich’s Rise in Polls

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Newt Gingrich’s rapid rise in presidential polls has left veteran Republicans scratching their heads, and not just because he vaulted from far back to lead Mitt Romney in several key states. They’re trying to figure out why the former House speaker is supported by GOP voters who think he’s not particularly honest and doesn’t share their values.

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  • President Obama's Campaign Mode

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood has the details on criticism that President Obama is facing from Democrats that he isn't doing enough and an update on GOP candidates campaign efforts.

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  • For Gingrich, No Bombast or Apologies

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Newt Gingrich is trying to preserve his rapid rise in the GOP presidential race by defending his most controversial stands without appearing to be the thin-skinned hothead his critics often describe. The former House speaker seemed to accomplish that goal in Saturday's debate in Iowa. His challenge will be to sustain the strategy while rivals attack him on the airwaves and the ground, and to convince conservative voters that he's their champion despite his occasional departures from orthodoxy.

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  • Obama sides with the 99%

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Conservatives were quick to accuse President Obama of embracing class warfare in his speech last week in Osawatomie, Kan. And liberal Democrats were thrilled to see a hint of the populist president they had hoped they were voting for in 2008. The polarized reactions suggest that Obama's speech succeeded in one of its goals: to frame the 2012 election as a clear choice between two philosophies, a contest he might be able to win, instead of a referendum on his own unhappy economic record.

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  • Hey, Remember the ’80s?

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Newt Gingrich’s economic plan is not Reaganesque. It is not, as so many of his Republican presidential rivals’ claim their plans to be, inspired by Reaganomics. It is Reaganomics, cryogenically frozen in 1981, thawed 30 years later, and pumped full of Newt-style steroids in order to save the American people from slow growth. The plan features massive tax cuts (which would largely benefit businesses and the wealthy), less government spending (through the privatization of entitlement programs), interest-rate hikes, and rampant deregulation.

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Dec 09, 2011

  • Some say Romney's poke at Obama's golf is old news

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Ah, Christmas traditions: colored lights, mistletoe and criticisms of a president's vacation plans. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is hammering President Barack Obama for playing golf and planning his usual family Christmas in Hawaii. Obama should spend more time fixing the economy, says Romney, who is using the issue to raise money.

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  • Parties United in Grilling Corzine Over Missing Funds

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics


    Jon Corzine managed to bring together two parties Thursday afternoon in the House Agriculture Committee, where the former New Jersey governor and ex-senator spoke publicly for the first time since his company, MF Global Inc., tumbled into bankruptcy last month. It has not been easy in Washington lately to witness a meeting of the minds on any subject, but in the wake of the fall of Lehman Brothers and the economy’s bungee dive in 2008, the sight of another well-heeled Wall Street executive drew crowds when he tried to respond to questions about ethics, potential illegalities and a mystery about missing money.
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  • How To Attack Newt

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    Mitt Romney is running for president as a turnaround artist, but before he can turn around the economy he'll have to do something about his campaign. Newt Gingrich has built a huge lead over Romney in various state polls, attracting nearly double the support.

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  • NPR's Fresh Air: Gingrich's Path From 'Flameout' To D.C. Entrepreneur

    With Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    A new poll released Wednesday by Time magazine and CNN finds Newt Gingrich staying ahead of Mitt Romney in three out of the four states with January primaries or caucuses.

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  • Gingrich laughs off Romney criticism in South Carolina, says ‘we’re gonna stay positive’

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    Newt Gingrich is keeping his word to stay positive. On a day when the Mitt Romney’s campaign unleashed a torrent of criticism, calling the former speaker a self-absorbed, unreliable conservative who can’t be trusted to be commander-in-chief, Gingrich simply laughed off the criticism.

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  • Paul: Bush Administration Wrong to Bomb Iraq

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul told hundreds of Iowa State students on Wednesday night that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there was "glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq."

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Dec 08, 2011

  • Romney Ad Takes Sideswipe at Gingrich’s Personal Life

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney is up with a new ad that takes a not-so-subtle swipe at Newt Gingrich. Called “Leader,” the 30-second ad set to go up on the air in New Hampshire and Iowa this week, features old home video footage of Romney, his wife and his kids, with a voiceover of the former governor of Massachusetts saying: “If I’m President of the United States, I will be true to my family, to my faith, and to our country, and I will never apologize for the United States of America.”

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  • Drone Crash in Iran Reveals Secret U.S. Surveillance Effort

    By Scott Shane and David E. Sanger, New York Times

    The stealth C.I.A. drone that crashed deep inside Iranian territory last week was part of a stepped-up surveillance program that has frequently sent the United States’ most hard-to-detect drone into the country to map suspected nuclear sites, according to foreign officials and American experts who have been briefed on the effort.

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  • Does Romney need to go after Gingrich?

    By Steve Holland and Sam Youngman, Thomson Reuters

    Is it time for Mitt Romney to come up with a new plan? For months, the initial frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination for president has sought to overwhelm his opponents. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has won waves of endorsements from party leaders, raised more than $32 million, and shown a knack for avoiding confrontations.

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  • Gingrich, Romney Prepare for January Collision

    By Dan Balz, Amy Gardner and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

    Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, who have spent much of this year ignoring one another, are now on a collision course in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, facing a series of state-by-state battles in January that will possibly decide the race by testing which one can best surmount his own weaknesses.

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  • Perry's Mixed Messages to Jewish Voters

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Shortly before Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is scheduled to make his pitch to Jewish voters at a forum sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, he released a new ad that would make many of them squirm. "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,'' he says in the television spot.

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  • Americans Reject Automatic US Budget Cuts: CNBC Survey

    By: John Harwood, CNBC

    Americans split on almost every important issue facing Washington, but they agree on this much: Republicans and Democrats share blame for the failure of the Congressional "super committee," and the resulting automatic budget cuts are unacceptable.

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  • Gingrich Surge Brings Added Scrutiny

    By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    A year ago, as Newt Gingrich was beginning to seriously explore whether to seek the Republican presidential nomination, he bristled a bit when asked how his three marriages would be viewed by conservative voters. “We’ll find out,” Mr. Gingrich said in an interview with The New York Times a week before Christmas. “What people want to know is, ‘Are you who you seem to be?’”

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  • Obama: 'Make or Break Moment' for Middle Class

    With Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    President Obama called for Americans to get a "fair shot" at advancement to the middle class, deriding the "breathtaking greed of a few" and chastising Republicans who he said enabled them. Laura Meckler has details on The News Hub.

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