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 26, 2012

  • 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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  • 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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