On the Radar

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

February 23, 2012

Out of Air in Arizona

By John Dickerson, Slate

he 20th and perhaps final Republican presidential debate wheezed across the finish line and collapsed. At times it felt like the candidates had already talked themselves out on the big themes and could only bicker over table scraps. There was a long symposium on how earmarks and the congressional appropriating process work. Then, there was a confusing discussion of Arlen Specter, his re-election, and the judiciary committee. Who won? Ask the undecided Republicans in Michigan.
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Study Tests Claims of Republican Candidates’ Debt Plans

By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

A centrist budget-watchdog group is punching trillion-dollar holes in the claims of Republican presidential candidates that they would rein in the mounting federal debt if elected, according to an analysis to be released on Thursday.
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Afghanistan Protests: U.S. Embassy on Lock Down

With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

An accidental burning of Qurans led to Anti-U.S. protests.

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Obama's Corporate Tax Plan Presages Election Debate

By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

President Obama's corporate tax reform "framework" unveiled Wednesday is unlikely to become law in an election year, but a partisan and economically rooted debate about individual and business taxes will figure prominently before November. Two competing visions for fiscal rejuvenation after 2013 are guaranteed to clash when Obama and a GOP nominee finally face one another later this year.
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Mitt Romney Attacks Put Rick Santorum on Defensive in GOP Presidential Debate

By Dan Balz and Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was thrown on the defensive here Wednesday night as rival Mitt Romney attacked the former senator over spending and earmarks and accused him of compiling an inconsistent and contradictory record. In the first GOP debate since he won a trio of states two weeks ago, Santorum fired back, accusing Romney of his own inconsistencies, but he struggled under repeated criticism to explain his record. The squabbling became so intense at times that the two talked past each other, with voices raised, each trying to gain the upper hand.
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February 22, 2012

Santorum's Risky Message

With John Dickerson, CBS News

As Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum emerges as the new front-runner, his radical brand of conservatism is put on full display. Scott Pelley spoke with CBS News political director John Dickerson on the risk his messages pose in the general election.


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Obama Readies Plan to Cut Corporate Tax Rate

By Richard Rubin and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

The Obama administration will propose today reducing the U.S. corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent along with removing tax breaks for companies to help offset lost revenue, an administration official said. The plan would eliminate dozens of tax breaks and reshape the current manufacturing deduction to reduce the tax rate on manufacturing to 25 percent, according to the official, who outlined the proposal on condition of anonymity because it hadn’t been released.
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SCOTUS to Reevaluate Affirmative Action

With Pete Williams, NBC News

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case involving the University of Texas at Austin, a school that said it based its admission policy on an earlier ruling about racial diversity in higher education.

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Republican Presidential Contest Moves to Arizona and Michigan

By Dan Balz and Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post

Front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum opened one of the most crucial periods in the Republican presidential campaign Tuesday, with Romney going on the attack while suddenly claiming the mantle of underdog as he seeks to avoid potentially devastating losses in next Tuesday’s primaries in Arizona and Michigan.
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U.S. Forces Burn Old Copies of the Koran

With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

Officials claim it was a misunderstanding when the holy books were discarded.

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February 21, 2012

Mitt Romney’s Near-Death Candidacy

By John Dickerson, Slate

In a lot of ways the coming Michigan primary feels like the Florida primary again for Mitt Romney. He's facing another near-death experience. He wakes every morning to news accounts of the five things he needs to do to right in his campaign before it dies. Then, after choking that down, he rolls over to the other stories—speculating about which white-knight candidate might arrive to rescue the GOP from the botch Mitt Romney has made of things.
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As Santorum Seizes Social Issues, Romney Demurs

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

Philosophical differences between the top two Republican presidential candidates are becoming starker as Rick Santorum drives harder on religious and social issues that Mitt Romney rarely discusses in detail.
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Mitt Romney Campaigns in Cincinnati, Ohio (CNN)

Obama’s Tax Policy Targets Rising Sector of His Base: The Affluent

By John Harwood, New York Times

Partisan clashes over President Obama’s proposed tax increases have obscured something remarkable: that the affluent Americans targeted by his policy represent a growing share of his own party’s base. You would not know it from Republican cries of class warfare swirling around Mr. Obama’s new budget, which reiterates his calls for higher taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 and households earning more than $250,000.
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Romney Goes After Santorum on Budget, in Battle He Didn’t Bargain For

By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

Mitt Romney was barely six minutes into a campaign speech here on Monday afternoon, dwelling on the success story of a local bioscience company, when he broached a topic that is suddenly confounding his Republican presidential aspirations: Rick Santorum.
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Rough Sledding Ahead for Mitt Romney

By National Journal Staff

It’s a brave new world for Mitt Romney, no longer in the lead in national primary polls and not holding the immense fundraising advantage he once did. It’s going to be rough sledding ahead for the once-clear GOP frontrunner. The latest fundraising figures illustrate just how little bang for the buck Romney got in January. He won two big primaries – New Hampshire and Florida – but is in worse position now than when he started. For those efforts, his campaign spent about $18.7 million and the Restore Our Future super PAC that supports him spent almost $14 million.
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February 17, 2012

Another Doomed Exercise

By Greg Ip, The Economist

Back in 2009 Barack Obama’s first budget called for repealing his predecessor’s tax cuts on the rich, eliminating tax breaks for multinationals and boosting the tax rate on capital gains. A year later Mr Obama repeated those proposals, and added new ones: no more breaks for fossil-fuel producers and a “financial crisis responsibility fee” on banks.
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Santorum Fights Back Against Romney in Detroit

By Samuel P. Jacobs, with Sam Youngman, Reuters

Republican White House hopeful Rick Santorum defended himself against attacks from Mitt Romney on Thursday as his hopes rose of dealing a heavy blow in Michigan to his main rival, who was the party front-runner before falling behind in national polls.
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Former Senator Rick Santorum speaks in Novi, MI (CNN)

Obama’s Trip West Fills His Campaign’s Coffers

By Helene Cooper, New York Times

If there were any doubts that President Obama had plunged fully into his re-election campaign, they were erased on Thursday as the president spent an entire day hopscotching some of California’s fanciest neighborhoods in search of dollars to finance his bid for a second term.
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Romney now trailing Santorum in Mich.

With John Dickerson, CBS News

CBS News political director John Dickerson offers analysis of the GOP presidential race as the Michigan primary approaches.


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The Gentleman from Michigan

By Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair

In an election year in which the corrosiveness of politics seems to reach a new high every month, and the bitterness of the G.O.P.-nomination fight a new low with each primary and caucus, I thought it might be instructive to spend a moment with the man who has arguably seen more of politics than anyone else still active in Washington, Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan, the Dean of the House.
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