On the Radar

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

February 17, 2012

President Obama, Speaking at L.A. Fundraiser, Points to Positive Changes

By Kathleen Hennessey and Michael Finnegan, with Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

While acknowledging that "change is hard," President Obama touted the nation's economic progress on his watch during a celebrity-studded fundraising stopover Wednesday night in Los Angeles. Addressing a crowd of about 1,000 at an outdoor reception, Obama needled Angelenos about the weather — "You're all cold. This is balmy, people" — then talked about the change he promised in the 2008 campaign, and the depth of the nation's economic troubles when he took office.
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February 16, 2012

Santorum's Surge

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

When this year's presidential campaign began, Rick Santorum looked like a fringe candidate, consigned permanently to the outside edge of an overcrowded debate stage. But as earlier conservative front-runners sputtered, Santorum plugged away, sticking doggedly to his unfashionable message of uncompromising social conservatism.
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GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum in Tioga, ND (CNN)

Congress hammers out deal to extend payroll tax cut

By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

Congress reached an agreement late Wednesday to extend the temporary payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment benefits for an additional 10 months as part of a $150 billion legislative compromise. Lawmakers are likely to pass the bill and send it to President Obama by the end of the week.
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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to endorse Romney

By Dan Balz and Aaron Blake, Washington Post

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) will endorse Mitt Romney for president at a luncheon on Thursday, according to two sources with knowledge of his decision. MIRS news reported Wednesday evening that the two men will appear together at a luncheon Thursday for a “major announcement.”
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Economy Boosts Obama in New Poll

With John Harwood, CNBC

CNBC's John Harwood has the details on a new poll which shows President Obama's popularity is on the rise.

Watch Video on CNBC

Mitt Romney, Donald Trump Raise Campaign Cash at New York Bankruptcy Law Firm

By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

Where in the world has Mitt Romney been? There were no public events on his schedule today, except for an appearance this evening at an office furniture manufacturer near Grand Rapids, Mich. The campaign has been uncommunicative about where he was and what he’s been doing.
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February 15, 2012

Israeli P.M.: Iran's 'Aggression Must Be Stopped'

By Pierre Thomas, ABC News

Tensions with Iran have increased after the prime minister's comments.

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U.S. Carrier Group Makes Way Through Strait of Hormuz

By Martha Raddatz, ABC News

It was just after dawn when three U.S. warships and a carrier strike group began their long, tense transit through the Strait of Hormuz. The strait has become a pressure point as Iran increases the heat of its rhetoric against the United States because of fresh economic sanctions imposed against it.

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Tentative payroll tax pact reached

By Susan Davis, USA Today

Congress neared a deal late Tuesday to extend the payroll tax break and unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed as well as head off a scheduled Medicare payment drop to doctors who treat seniors through the end of the year as part of a $160 billion legislative package.

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Can Rick Santorum become more than ‘not Romney’?

By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

This is Rick Santorum’s week — in the polls, that is. It was his week last week, too, at least on Tuesday night, when he won Republican presidential primary contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado. He got no guaranteed delegates, but those victories surely turned him into the latest matinee idol of conservatives and gave him a tremendous boost in the polls.


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Obama welcomes Chinese vice president at start of U.S. tour

By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

President Obama greeted the Chinese heir apparent in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning, a venue where the U.S. president usually receives only the nation's closest friends. But even as the two countries eye one another warily, the Obama administration wants to keep its options open with Vice President Xi Jinping as he prepares to take his place as president next year.

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February 14, 2012

Obama Budget Optimistic on Economic Growth, Again

By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

President Obama’s economists are nothing if not optimistic. In the fiscal year 2013 presidential budget request, they’ve once again forecast higher future growth than their private-sector peers – about a half-point of gross domestic product growth more, per year, than the 45 economists included in the Philadelphia Fed’s Survey of Professional Forecasters.
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President Obama's FY 2013 Budget (CNN)

Because I Said So

By John Dickerson, Slate

William Buckley famously said that a conservative was someone who stood athwart history yelling stop. Mitt Romney, who says he is "severely conservative," would presumably point at history with a shotgun. The ad-libbed phrase in Romney's speech to CPAC last Friday was new, but the style was familiar. Romney is an assertion candidate rather than a persuasion candidate. He declares something and voters are meant to believe that it is so.
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U.S. General Prepared for Iranian Aggression

With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

Iran accused of plotting car bomb attacks against diplomats in India, Georgia.
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Polls Show Rick Santorum Virtually Tied with Mitt Romney Nationally

By Karen Tumulty and Amy Gardner, Washington Post

With two new polls showing underdog Rick Santorum gaining on front-runner Mitt Romney among Republicans nationally, the contenders for the GOP presidential nomination are taking advantage of a lull between primary contests to stockpile resources and rally supporters for the next phase of the race.
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Heaviest 2013 Defense Budget Cuts Would Fall on Troops

By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

As the Pentagon sought to show Monday that it had made tough spending decisions in its fiscal 2013 budget proposal, the brunt of the reductions would fall on U.S. ground troops, which face job losses, modest pay raises and increased health care costs while serving in a smaller force.
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February 13, 2012

Obama Budget is Preview of Election Battle

By Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

President Obama's 2013 budget, scheduled for release Monday, offers a preview of the November election as both parties angle to refine the vision they hope to sell to voters. Obama's plan and the House Republicans' answer, due in the spring, are aimed as much at offering voters a choice as at promoting policies destined for enactment.
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Election 2012: Republicans united on Goal — Beat Obama — Divided on How to Get There

By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

What in the world is the matter with the Republican Party? This is an election year when pretty much everything should be going the GOP’s way. A Democratic president is facing the worst reelection environment in a generation. The conservative base is fired up to defeat him and should be riding high after securing the largest GOP House majority since the 1940s. Looser campaign finance restrictions have unleashed the ability of the party’s wealthiest donors to spend unlimited amounts.
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Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney Campaigning (CNN)

Contraception Debate Drowns Out Budget Talk

By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

The new White House chief of staff, Jacob J. Lew, made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to discuss the budget that President Obama is to release on Monday, but instead he was forced repeatedly to defend the administration’s effort to guarantee that insurers cover birth control for women in the face of criticism from religious groups.
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Rick Santorum's Popularity Rising

With John Harwood, CNBC

Rick Santorum is "clearly rising" in public opinion polls in his race against the other GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, reports CNBC's John Harwood: "It's a very, very unusual race," he adds.

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