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 27, 2012

  • Supreme Court Divided over Obama Healthcare Law

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared closely divided along ideological lines over whether Congress had the power to require most people in the United States to buy medical insurance, with conservative justices asking skeptical questions about President Barack Obama's healthcare law and liberals defending it.
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  • Review of ‘Obamacare’ Puts GOP Spotlight on Romney’s Massachusetts Health Care Law

    By Philip Rucker and Dan Balz, Washington Post

    Health care was supposed to be Mitt Romney’s Achilles’ heel: The state overhaul he championed as governor of Massachusetts is so similar to the sweeping federal law conservatives deride as “Obamacare” that it was once widely regarded as a big enough liability to doom his presidential chances. But Romney remains the overwhelming favorite in a topsy-turvy campaign in which health care has rarely been the driving issue, and he is picking up the support of prominent conservatives as he moves toward securing his party’s nomination.
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    Rick Santorum speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC (CNN)

  • Supreme Court Moves to Heart of Obama Healthcare Case

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    The Supreme Court confronted the core of President Barack Obama's healthcare law on Tuesday, zeroing in on whether Congress had the power to require most people in the United States to buy medical insurance.
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  • High Court Hears Health Care Arguments

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    NBC's Pete Williams reports on the Health Care Reform case before the Supreme Court

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  • Most Oppose at Least Part of Overhaul, Poll Finds

    By Dalia Sussman, Helene Cooper, and Kate Phillips, New York Times

    Two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn some or all of the health care law, even though large majorities support a few of its major aspects, according to a poll by The New York Times and CBS News. At the heart of the opposition is the individual mandate requiring Americans to obtain health insurance, the least popular part of the bill and a crucial piece at the center of the court arguments, which began Monday and will turn to the mandate on Tuesday.
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  • Obama’s Etch A Sketch Moment? Will 'Space' and 'Flexibility' Haunt Obama on Foreign Policy?

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    For a president gearing up to seek reelection in part based on muscular foreign-policy credentials, President Obama Monday gave his critics two words that may reverberate on the campaign trail as much as "Etch A Sketch." “Space” and “flexibility.” The obsessed political world fed for 48 hours on the Etch A Sketch metaphor by Mitt Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom.
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Mar 26, 2012

  • Supreme Court Unlikely to Delay Obama Healthcare Ruling

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    The Supreme Court on Monday appeared prepared to decide the fate of President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare law soon, rather than delaying for years a ruling on the mandate that Americans buy insurance or pay a penalty.
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  • Supreme Court Hears Historic Healthcare Law

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare overhaul on Monday went before the U.S. Supreme Court where the nine justices began hearing arguments in a historic test of the law's validity under the U.S. Constitution. The sweeping law intended to transform healthcare for millions of people in the United States has generated fierce political debate. Republican presidential hopefuls and members of Congress have vowed to roll back the March 23, 2010, law they say will financially burden states, businesses and individuals.
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    Supreme Court The US Supreme Court (FlickrCC/S.E.B.)

  • Obama Says U.S. Reducing Nuclear Arsenal Won’t Harm Security

    By Margaret Talev and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama committed to further reduce America’s nuclear stockpile, saying his country had more nuclear weapons than it needed and that it wouldn’t compromise national security. Obama, who spoke at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, said the U.S. will seek talks with Russia on steps to reduce their arsenals of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, as well as the number of warheads they have in reserve.
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  • Employers Monitor Health Care Law Arguments

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    The Supreme Court won't rule on President Obama's health care case until June. Republicans vow to repeal the law if they win big in November. David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, talks to David Greene about how the ruling could affect doctors, hospitals, employers and consumers.

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  • Santorum Ignores Pressure to Bow Out to Romney

    By Jeff Zeleny and Sarah Wheaton, New York Times

    Mitt Romney remains his biggest foe, but Rick Santorum is increasingly confronting an even more daunting obstacle: a rising chorus of Republicans calling for the divisive presidential contest to end so the party can turn its full attention to defeating President Obama.
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  • Twenty Years on, ‘Year of the Woman’ Fades

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    At a moment when gender politics is thick in the air, it is a good time to reconsider another spring, exactly 20 years ago, when an unprecedented wave of women set their sights on Washington. That was the election that was supposed to change everything. But it didn’t — not on the scale once expected.
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Mar 23, 2012

  • Romney Needs the Little Guy, Not Another Big Fish

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Former Gov. Jeb Bush's endorsement of Mitt Romney on Tuesday, which sent the message that it's time for Republicans to rally behind their likely nominee, also raised a question: Who's next? Speculation immediately centered on South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, one of the most popular leaders in the conservative movement, when word leaked Wednesday that he was meeting with Romney on Capitol Hill.
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  • 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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