The Week’s Best Longreads: The Daily Beast Picks for Jan. 7, 2012

From the zany split personality of Stephen Colbert to neurosis inside the Obama campaign machine, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

01.07.12 9:45 AM ET

How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?
Charles McGrath, New York Times Magazine

A suburban dad. A fictional television blowhard. And now a political money launderer. How one funny guy became three.

The Meaning of Mitt
Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, Vanity Fair

Digging into Mitt Romney’s record as a Mormon leader, his business deals at Bain Capital, and that infamous car trip with the family dog strapped to the roof, the authors pierce the Mitt bubble to find that the contradictions, question marks, and ambivalence go deeper than his politics.

The Collector
Eliza Gray, The New Republic

Did a famed connoisseur of political memorabilia commit an audacious crime?

How the CIA Screws Up
Paul R. Pillar, Foreign Policy

I served in the CIA for 28 years and I can tell you: America's screw-ups come from bad leaders, not lousy spies.

Bottle Rocket
Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker

Newt Gingrich’s return.

Yes We Can (Can’t We?)
Andrew Romano, Newsweek

While the GOP votes, team Obama is crafting a juggernaut. Andrew Romano talks to top advisers about their 2012 strategy—including David Axelrod, who admits that he shares some of the blame for the president's dismal approval rating.