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!

May 25, 2012

  • Obama Takes Early Leap Into Campaign Fray

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    With the general election campaign now under way, one thing has become clear: There will be no Rose Garden strategy for President Obama. If past incumbents have been reluctant to directly engage opponents this early in an election year for fear of looking like a candidate rather than a president, Mr. Obama has tossed aside convention.

    Read More
  • Stumping for Energy

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    President Obama seeks an extension of renewable energy tax breaks, with CNBC's Eamon Javers. Christopher Horner, Competitive Enterprise Institute, weighs in.

    Watch Video on CNBC
  • Romney Campaign Begins Quiet Push for African American Voters

    By Nia-Malika Henderson and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney’s campaign team has been quietly laying plans for an outreach effort to President Obama’s most loyal supporters — black voters — not just to chip away at the huge Democratic margins but also as a way to reassure independent swing voters that Romney can be inclusive and tolerant in his thinking and approach.

    Read More
  • Obama Urges Congress to Extend Clean-Energy Tax Credits

    By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times

    From a wind-power factory in this battleground state, President Obama urged Congress to extend tax credits he said would save jobs in the field of clean-energy production. Obama said continuing the production tax credit would save 37,000 jobs that would otherwise be at risk, an estimate his aides based on reports from industry officials.

    Read More

    President Obama at a wind-energy manufacturing plant in Newton, Iowa (CNN)

  • Romney Holds Key Advantages Among Financially Struggling White Voters

    By Jon Cohen and Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    In an election year in which the economy ranks as Americans’ top concern, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney holds significant advantages over President Obama among white voters who are struggling financially and buffeted by job loss, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Read More
  • How Things Have Changed At The CIA

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The CIA has faced intense criticism for reporting, incorrectly, that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten got direct access to CIA analysts to discuss the lessons learned from Iraq, and how they're applying them to a new intelligence target: Iran.

    Listen to Story on NPR

May 24, 2012

  • Will Obama's Attacks on Romney Backfire?

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    As the presidential campaign veers off onto the Bain Capital ramp, the predictable arguments ensue: Is the turn simply a political attack meant to distract from bad economic news? (So says Mitt Romney). Or is it an important, valid argument at the heart of the contest? (So says President Barack Obama.)

    Read More
  • Romney Opens New Front vs Obama: Schools are Failing

    By Sam Youngman and Laura MacInnis, Reuters

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney opened a new front on Wednesday in his fight against President Barack Obama, accusing him of presiding over a failing U.S. education system in the grip of union bosses who refuse to accept reforms.

    Read More

    Mitt Romney speaks in Philadelphia of a "crisis" in American education (CNN)

  • Romney’s Core

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    Mitt Romney, it turns out, has a core after all. You may remember that for months—dating back to October—President Obama’s most persistent criticism of Romney has been that he has no core. Chief strategist David Axelrod said it first, followed by senior White House adviser and 2008 Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

    Read More from National Journal
  • When a Boy Found a Familiar Feel in a Pat of the Head of State

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    For decades at the White House, photographs of the president at work and at play have hung throughout the West Wing, and each print soon gives way to a more recent shot. But one picture of President Obama remains after three years.

    Read More
  • One Thing Certain as Egyptians Vote for President: The Outcome Will be a Surprise

    By Nancy A. Youssef and Hannah Allam, McClatchy Newspapers

    In an historic first, Egyptians voted Wednesday for their next president, choosing from an array of competing candidates whose wildly divergent campaign platforms pledged everything from revolutionary, religion-based change to a return to the stability of the Hosni Mubarak-era, which came to an end with Mubarak’s ouster last year.

    Read More

May 23, 2012

  • CBO: Taxmageddon Would Throw U.S. Back into Recession

    By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    Tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January would suck $607 billion out of the economy next year, plunging the nation at least briefly back into recession, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. Unless lawmakers act, the economy is likely to contract in the first half of 2013 at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent, the CBO said, before returning to 2.3 percent growth later in the year.

    Read More

    (CNN, File Photo)

    Read More
  • Poll: Obama, Romney in Dead Heat on Economy

    By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz, Washington Post

    After months of aggressive campaigning on jobs and the economy, President Obama and Mitt Romney, his likely Republican challenger, are locked in a dead heat over who could fix the problem foremost on voters’ minds, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Read More
  • Obama Targets Romney Economics in Bain Attacks

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman reports that President Barack Obama cast his race against Republican Mitt Romney as a contest against a private-equity executive whose goal was maximizing profits, while the president’s job is to “figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.”

    Watch Video
  • Shafik? Aboul Fotouh? Mosri? Who Knows? Egyptian Outcome Really is Uncertain

    By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail, McClatchy Newspapers

    Egypt has experienced many historic moments since Hosni Mubarak was toppled from the presidency 446 days ago, but Wednesday marks a true first – the first presidential election in Egypt’s history where voters don’t already know who the winner will be before they cast their ballots.

    Read More
  • In One Corner, a Champion of Government. In the Other, Its Foe.

    By John Harwood, New York Times

    The currency of political persuasion is emotion — and the way President Obama and Mitt Romney are spending it crystallizes their starkly contrasting appeals. An Obama campaign video shows the president’s national political director, Katherine Archuleta, tearfully crediting Mr. Obama with having saved her daughter’s life. She portrays the president as a hero of government whose health care law assures her daughter, a cancer survivor, insurance coverage forever.

    Read More

May 22, 2012

  • Why Obama Is Doubling Down on Bain Capital Attacks Against Romney

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Why is President Obama’s reelection campaign doubling down on its attacks on Mitt Romney’s business record at Bain Capital, despite blowback from some supporters? Because they might work. While many voters recall an image of "hope" and "change" from Obama’s successful 2008 campaign, he ran as many negative ads as GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona—and sometimes more. The message in those 2008 ads wasn’t so different from the anti-Romney theme today: The Republican nominee favors the wealthy at the expense of the struggling middle class. Voters bought it.

    Read More from National Journal

    Presumptive Presidential nominees Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama (CNN)

  • Is GOP Stalling on Economy to Hurt Obama?

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Are Republican lawmakers deliberately stalling the economic recovery to hurt President Obama's reelection chances? Some top Democrats say yes, pointing to GOP stances on the debt limit and other issues, which they say are causing unnecessary economic anxiety and retarding growth. The latest Democratic complaint came after House Speaker John A. Boehner said last week that when Congress raises the nation's borrowing cap in early 2013, he will again insist on big spending cuts to offset the increase. Boehner (R., Ohio) continues to reject higher tax rates, which Democrats demand be imposed on the wealthy.

    Read More
  • Yemen Suicide Bombing Death Toll Nears 100 on Eve of Holiday: Officials

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    An al Qaeda affiliate has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed at least 90 soldiers and injured hundreds more in Yemen's capital city today, on the eve of the nation's unification holiday.

    video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player


    Read More and Watch Video on ABC News
  • Cory Booker’s Real Mistake

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Cory Booker is a famous man of action. The mayor of Newark shovels walkways in heavy snowstorms. Recently, he rushed into a burning building to save a woman. Sunday night he was at it again, this time working fast to remove his foot from his mouth. On Sunday morning’s Meet the Press, Booker described President Obama's recent campaigns ads attacking Mitt Romney as "nauseating," comparing them to the foiled $10 million plan to remind voters that Obama was a longtime parishioner of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

    Read More