On the Radar

Check ON THE RADAR regularly each week to read the latest reporting by award-winning WASHINGTON WEEK panelists.

January 31, 2012

Buoyant Romney Speaks of Victory in Florida

By Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

Mitt Romney swept through a final day of campaigning here on Monday, energized by more polls showing him with a commanding lead in the Florida primary. He even allowed himself to break superstition and proclaim, “I’m beginning to feel we might win.” Yet Mr. Romney could not help sneaking regular looks back at Newt Gingrich, who only a week ago seemed in position to deal him another big loss.
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Sen. Lieberman Cites Dr. Seuss’ Moose

By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

Senators often quote weighty historical figures to back up their arguments on the Senate floor. Alexis de Tocqueville is a big favorite. So is Alexander Hamilton. The late Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W. Va.), was famous for citing Roman orators that few of his colleagues had heard of. Then there’s Dr. Seuss.
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Will Romney-Gingrich Battle Lead to Costly Split in the GOP?

By Dan Balz, Washington Post

Newt Gingrich has vowed to take his fight for the Republican presidential nomination all the way to the party’s national convention in August. That may be nothing more than an empty threat by a frustrated candidate with a history of exaggerated rhetoric. But could Gingrich’s battle against Mitt Romney leave the GOP badly divided heading into the fall campaign?
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Newt Gingrich at a campaign event in Pensacola, FL (CNN)

Obama Opens Up About Drone Strikes in Pakistan

By Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times

President Obama offered a vigorous defense of using unmanned aircraft to kill Al Qaeda operatives and other militants in Pakistan's tribal areas and, in the process, officially acknowledged the highly classified CIA drone program that U.S. officials had refused to discuss in public until now.
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What Romney's Hispanic Support in Florida Means

By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

The latest polls not only show Mitt Romney with a substantial lead in Florida but also with the lion's share of the Hispanic vote. A recent ABC News/Univision/Latino Decisions survey, for example, found Romney leading Newt Gingrich 35 to 20 percent among Hispanic voters. That's a major turnaround from 2008, when John McCain pounded Romney among Hispanic voters by 54 to 13 percent, according to exit polls.
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On Google+, Big Question for Obama Is Weeded Out

By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

President Obama did not tackle the subject most on the minds of some questioners during an online forum Monday. What drew many citizens to a Google+ chat with the president was their interest in how soon marijuana could be legalized, according to the rated popularity of questions posted before the event.
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Daughter’s Illness is Quandary for Santorum

By Nia-Malika Henderson and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, campaigning under the banner “faith, family and freedom,” has made his life story central to his political identity. He often mentions his seven kids — one of whom is gravely ill — a son who died hours after birth, and his wife of two decades as proof that he not only preaches conservative values but lives by them in his daily life.
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GOP Race's Approaching Lull Will Test Gingrich

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

The caffeinated, rapid-fire GOP presidential primary is about to ease into a slower pace and a more spread-out map, creating new challenges for Newt Gingrich. February will bring several primaries and caucuses likely to lack the intensity of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. It has only one debate, three weeks from now.
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January 30, 2012

In the Florida Primary, Will Nine-Iron or Bass-Boat Republicans Prevail?

With Major Garrett, National Journal

How would you describe the match-up between Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney? Heart vs. Head? Underdog vs. perennial front-runner? Outsider vs. establishment?

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Death of Bipartisanship Has Killed the Washington Deal

By John F. Harris and Jonathan Allen, Politico

Every time there is divided government in Washington, there is a revival — among elite journalists, think tank commentators and respectable politicians of all stripes — of a cherished idea about how business should get done in the nation’s capital: Get the most responsible adults of both parties in one room, shoo away the cameras and microphones, and don’t let the two sides come out until they have cut a deal on the most pressing problem of the day.
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President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (CNN)

A Gingrich Presidency?

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that if Mitt Romney won the South Carolina primary, the Republican presidential race would be over and he would be the nominee. But Romney didn't win, and that means it's time to consider the unthinkable: What would life under President Gingrich be like? It's an easy question to answer because Gingrich has spent much of his campaign listing all the things he wants to do — not only in his first term or his first 100 days but in his first eight hours.
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Can You Hear Me Now?

By Greg Ip, The Economist

Japan holds the modern record for years spent with interest rates at zero; they were on the floor from 2001 to 2006. America is on track to break that record. Having cut its short-term rate to near zero in late 2008, the Federal Reserve said on January 25th it will probably stay there “at least through late 2014”, more than a year longer than its previous guidance.
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Polls Show Romney Surging Ahead of Gingrich in Florida

By Steve Holland and Sam Youngman, Reuters

Republican Newt Gingrich struggled to halt surging rival Mitt Romney's momentum on Sunday, accusing him of launching false attacks as polls showed Romney widening his lead two days before Florida's presidential primary. Romney, who has battered Gingrich in a flood of television ads and two debates in Florida last week, opened a double-digit lead over the former House of Representatives speaker in four polls released on Sunday.
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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)

January 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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