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!

Mar 23, 2012

  • Why Supreme Court may uphold healthcare law

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    Conventional political wisdom holds that the Supreme Court, scheduled to hear a challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law beginning on Monday, is likely to strike it down on partisan lines. The court's Republican appointees enjoy a 5-4 majority. But a review of lower court rulings by conservative judges, subtle signals from individual justices, and interviews with professors and judges across the ideological spectrum suggest that presumption is wrong - and that the court will uphold the law.
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    President Obama signs the Health Reform Law in 2010 (CNN)

  • Afghanistan Shooting Suspect to Be Charged

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be officially charged with 17 counts of murder.

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  • Cybersecurity Bill: Vital Need Or Just More Rules?

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    Consider what Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans, and you get an idea of the consequences of a cyberattack on critical U.S. infrastructure: No electricity. No water. No transportation. Terrorists or enemy adversaries with computer skills could conceivably take down a power grid, a nuclear station, a water treatment center or a chemical manufacturing plant.

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  • GOPs Campaign in Louisiana

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood has the story on GOP hopefuls gearing up for the Louisiana primary as some are calling for candidates to drop out.

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Mar 22, 2012

  • Obama Plays the Long Game on Gas Prices

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    For the White House, the current gas prices wars are not about today's poll numbers. That's a losing proposition and top officials know it. When you're the "in" party when gas prices rise, you suffer. President Bush did in 2008 and so, by extension, did John McCain. When you're the "out" party, you pounce. That's what Sen. Barack Obama did before the Indiana primary against Hillary Clinton in 2008.
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    President Obama talks about energy in Maljamar, NM (CNN)

  • Above the Rules

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Now let us talk of Republican National Committee rule No. 40(b). Must we? I'm afraid we must, my friend, they’re printing stories in the press. Some believe it to be a hurdle to Newt Gingrich's march to the nomination. You mean the one where he keeps losing but at the Republican Convention is held aloft by 1,144 delegates as the one true nominee? The very same, my friend.
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  • Romney’s Day to Relish Is Marred by Aide’s Gaffe

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    Mitt Romney sought to use the coveted endorsement of Jeb Bush on Wednesday to amplify his call for Republicans to rally behind his candidacy and get on with the mission of ousting President Obama.
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  • Military Accident Caught on Tape

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Martha Raddatz on the video of an apache helicopter crashing in Afghanistan.

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  • Obama Tours Four States to Defend Energy Policy

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    Against the desert backdrop of the nation’s largest solar energy installation, President Obama on Wednesday assailed Republican critics of his clean energy policies as “the flat earth society” even as he sought to demonstrate his own support for domestic oil and gas production.
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  • Republicans Want Romney to Close the Deal

    By Naureen Khan and Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Hoisting his newest trophies — a landslide win in Illinois and an endorsement from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — Mitt Romney came to this Baltimore suburb on Wednesday for a victory lap aimed at bringing the marathon Republican primary to a close. The rout in the Midwest, followed hours later by the blessing from one of the GOP’s most respected figures, amplified calls by the Romney campaign and its allies for his flagging rivals to bow out.
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Mar 21, 2012

  • Democrats Attack Ryan Budget Plan, Again

    By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    A year ago, Democrats made political mincemeat of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, attacking it for its cuts in Medicare and other programs. They’re hoping Mr. Ryan’s new plan will provide similar political damage. In a statement Tuesday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said the plan “once again fails the test of balance, fairness and shared responsibility.”
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    House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), center, introduces the GOP budget with Republican House Members (CNN)

  • Mitt Romney Cleans up in Illinois

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Illinois primary day was a laundry day for Mitt Romney. He washed his shirt in the sink and then took Rick Santorum to the cleaners. The former Massachusetts governor beat his closest rival handily, 47 percent to 35 percent. It was the first no-caveat, everyone-is-watching, takes-place-in-a-location-you've-heard-of contest that Romney has dominated since his victory in Florida two months ago.
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  • Afghan War Hearing Passes Fireworks-Free

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    A U.S. soldier stands accused of massacring 16 Afghan civilians, the worst such attack in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently responded by describing the U.S. as a "demon" and demanding a faster U.S. withdrawal. Here at home, domestic support for the war has plunged to new lows, with Republicans as well as Democrats telling pollsters that the conflict is not worth its cost and that American troops should come home sooner than is currently planned.
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  • Santorum’s Blunt Talk is Proving Troublesome

    By Karen Tumulty and Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    In getting this far, Rick Santorum has achieved what no one — with the possible exception of himself — would have thought was possible four months ago. But the very qualities that made him a contender are turning into problems, as he is more frequently being tripped up by saying what is on his mind and by sometimes-errant tactical instincts.
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  • Romney Scores Big Win over Santorum in Illinois

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Republican Mitt Romney cruised to an easy victory over top rival Rick Santorum in Illinois on Tuesday, moving him one step closer to clinching the party's volatile battle for the presidential nomination. Romney's comfortable win gave him a fresh burst of momentum in the White House campaign and new ammunition for his argument that it is time for Republicans to rally around his campaign and end an increasingly bitter nominating battle.
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Mar 20, 2012

  • GOP Budget Plan Cuts Deeply into Domestic Programs, Reshapes Medicare, Medicaid

    By Rosalind S. Helderman and Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    House Republicans laid down a bold but risky election-year marker Tuesday, unveiling a budget proposal that aims to tame the national debt by reshaping Medicare and cutting deeply into Medicaid, food stamps and other programs for the poor, while reshuffling the tax code to sharply lower rates.
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  • Why Rick Santorum and David Axelrod Agree About Mitt Romney

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    On the eve of the Illinois primary, Rick Santorum looked deep into the heart of Mitt Romney and came up empty. "He doesn't have a core," Santorum said on CBS's This Morning. “He’s been on both sides of almost every single issue in the past 10 years.” Does that sound familiar? If you wonder where you've heard that before, it came from President Obama's top strategist David Axelrod, who first said Romney lacked a “core” last October. It was then repeated by David Plouffe, a senior adviser to Obama who ran his 2008 campaign.
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  • On Primary’s Eve, Romney Cuts to General Election

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    Republican voters have yet to give Mitt Romney a green light to begin a formal campaign against President Obama, so Mr. Romney paid a visit to the president’s old neighborhood here on Monday for yet another audition to show he is tough enough to win the general election.
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  • GOP Candidates Face Illinois Primary Today

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood has the story on whether there will be a brokered Republican convention.

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  • Obama Heading West to Counter His Energy Critics

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    President Obama this week will wend his way through Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio to explain why he has little power to lower gasoline prices, and why he has a long-term energy strategy that he believes can reduce the effects of pump price fluctuations in the long term. When would the president's strategy pay off? The benefits of Obama's approach are ongoing, the White House said Monday, even if gasoline prices keep rising because of global market activity out of the president’s control.
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