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!

Apr 24, 2012

  • Boehner: 1-in-3 Chance Democrats Could Take House

    By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

    House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) is sending a cautionary message about the danger that the Democrats could retake the House in November, saying there is a one-in-three chance the GOP will lose its majority. “I would say that there is a two-in-three chance that we win control of the House again, but there’s a one-in-three chance that we could lose,” Mr. Boehner told Fox News in an interview to air Tuesday. “We’ve got a big challenge and we’ve got work to do.”

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    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio (CNN, File Photo)

  • Working-Class Concerns Don’t Cause Romney or Obama Pain

    By Lisa Lerer and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Amanda Thomas wanted to share with Mitt Romney her long list of worries: a health-care law that will hurt her husband’s business, the debt that will burden her 2-year-old daughter’s generation, and the financial anxieties of her parents in their golden years. “I’m worried about my baby and I’m worried about my parents,” she told the Republican presidential candidate, sitting at a picnic table in the Pittsburgh suburb of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.

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  • State Attorneys General: New Republican Power

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    In the ornate Chinese Ballroom of Washington's Mayflower Hotel, nine Republican state attorneys general gathered last month at a long, white-cloth covered table for an unusual news conference. One by one, as TV news cameras rolled, they catalogued their many lawsuits against President Barack Obama's administration.

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  • Redistricting Takes Some of the 'Swing' out of House Fights

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    In the next decade, the battle for control of the House of Representatives will hinge on fewer races, incumbents will be tougher to beat, and the polarization that has come to define the institution in recent years is all but certain to continue. The process is wrapping up on 2012 redistricting — the once-a-decade politics-fueled redrawing of district lines because of population shifts — and one result, political analysts say, is the continued reduction of swing districts in which either party has potential to win and make up the battlefield that helps determine a majority.

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  • Review of White House Staff Shows No Misconduct in Colombia

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    The White House said on Monday that it had investigated its own staff members and concluded that none of them were involved in the prostitution scandal in Colombia that has ensnared members of the Secret Service and the military. Kathryn Ruemmler, the president’s counsel, conducted a review of the White House advance team that traveled to Cartagena in advance of President Obama’s trip there this month and “produced no indication of any misconduct,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

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Apr 23, 2012

  • Administration Torn on Secret Service Scandal Response

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    Just before Air Force One begins its descent, a group of agents huddle in a cabin near the back to study a map, a diagram and a step-by-step itinerary detailing the president’s every move once he steps off the plane. It is an old ritual, this last operational run-through for the special agents of the presidential protective division, the most elite of the Secret Service agents and the last barrier between the commander in chief and a host of threats. This ritual is a big reason President Obama has been so reluctant to criticize the Secret Service, as the agency reels from a scandal over suspected misconduct involving prostitutes during a trip to Cartagena, Colombia.

    (CNN)

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  • The Great 2012 Debate: Who Broke the Economy?

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Are you less-bad off today than you were four years ago? How about 10 years ago? Those are the questions rising to the top of the 2012 presidential campaign. The general-election contest between President Obama and his presumptive Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is shaping up to be less a debate about how to get Americans back to work than it is a re-litigation of a decade of recent economic history.

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  • Is Romney Having Difficulty Raising Money?

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood reports on the difficulty President Obama and the Republican candidates are facing raising money in a tough economic environment.

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  • Corzine, Amid Scandal, Is Among Obama's Top Bundlers

    by Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    Jon Corzine -- under federal and congressional investigation following accusations that the securities firm he headed illegally took clients' funds before collapsing -- is among President Obama's top re-election campaign bundlers, raising at least $500,000, according to the campaign’s filing Friday with the Federal Election Commission

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  • Does the Tea Party Have a Second Act?

    With Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal

    Tough challenges to Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Richard Lugar will signal whether tea-party activists and their allies still have the power they wielded in 2010. Naftali Bendavid has details on The News Hub.

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Apr 20, 2012

  • At Least He Didn’t Call Him Moneybags

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Yesterday President Obama said he "wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth." This line was widely interpreted as a not-so-subtle dig at Mitt Romney, the wealthy son of a wealthy father. At first glance, that seemed plausible, though perhaps too subtle. The president's campaign would like you to think Romney was born with silver tea, soup, demitasse, grapefruit, and runcible spoons—not to mention that funny silver ladle we use just on Thanksgiving—in his mouth. But upon second look, the president wasn't talking about his Republican challenger. He was just talking.
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  • Work in Progress

    By Greg Ip, The Economist

    When Paul Ryan released his proposed federal budget a year ago, Mitt Romney greeted it coolly. He congratulated the House Budget Committee chairman for “setting the right tone”, but pointedly declined to endorse any of its details. The coolness was understandable. Mr Ryan’s budget was political dynamite. It proposed to slash income-tax rates, especially for the rich and businesses, and replace traditional Medicare with vouchers for the elderly to buy health insurance.
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  • Secret Service Scandal: Ousted Agent 'Checked Out' Palin

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    An agent involved in a sex scandal joked about the former governor on Facebook.

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  • Rubio: Arizona Immigration Law Is Not a Model for the Nation

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday that he does not view Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration as a “model,’’ distancing himself from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has embraced the legislation. The Cuban-American senator, who spoke at the University of Phoenix/National Journal's Next America forum in Washington, is viewed as a top name on Romney’s vice presidential shortlist.
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    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (CNN)

  • Poll Shows Romney's Recovery Begins

    With Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    Simon Constable and Bob O'Brien discuss the latest Wall Street Journal poll results with Laura Meckler, and John Bussey finds signs of U.S. manufacturing still happening, in South Carolina.
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Apr 19, 2012

  • In Wariness on Economy, Poll Finds Opening for Romney

    By Jeff Zeleny and Allison Kopicki, New York Times

    A rising number of Americans see improvement in the economy, but a persistent wariness about their own financial circumstances is allowing Mitt Romney to persuade voters that he could improve their economic prospects more than President Obama, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
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    GOP Candidate Mitt Romney (CNN)

  • Government Scandals Consume Washington

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg's Megan Hughes, Julianna Goldman and Peter Cook report on the continuing investigations into GSA spending on lavish trips and gifts and Secret Service and military members entertaining prostitutes during President Obama's trip to Colombia.
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  • New Photos Raise New Questions About Whether the Military Can Police Itself

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has apologized for grisly new photos showing American soldiers posing with the body parts of Taliban suicide bombers and promised that “anyone found responsible for this inhuman conduct will be held accountable.” If similar recent events are any indication, those punishments will be a long time coming.
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  • Who is Mitt Romney and What Does He Believe?

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney has turned his attention to November’s presidential election, and the Republican establishment is beginning to fall in line behind him. Endorsements for him have grown from a stream to a flood this week, including from big names such as House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.
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  • Panetta Apologizes for Photos

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Secretary of Defense sorry for photos of U.S. soldier with enemies' remains.

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