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 22, 2012

  • Year After Tornado, Obama Salutes Joplin’s Power to Heal and Grow

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    The clock at Joplin High School stopped a year ago at 5:40 p.m. The class of 2011 had just graduated, and students, parents and teachers were heading home when a powerful tornado ripped through town, destroying the school, much of the city and the lives of so many on a day that was supposed to be a celebration.

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May 21, 2012

  • Charting Obama’s Journey to a Shift on Afghanistan

    By David E. Sanger, New York Times

    It was just one brief exchange about Afghanistan with an aide late in 2009, but it suggests how President Obama’s thinking about what he once called “a war of necessity” began to radically change less than a year after he took up residency in the White House.

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  • European Woes Increase G-8 Summit Tension

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman reports that President Obama pushed for a Euro zone growth package as leaders of the Group of Eight nations urged Greece to stay in the euro area, even as an increasingly isolated Germany said Europe can’t spend its way out of the debt crisis.

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  • Supply Lines Cast Shadow at NATO Meeting on Afghan War

    By Helene Cooper and Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times

    President Obama was struggling to balance the United States’ relationship with two crucial but difficult allies on Sunday, after a deal to reopen supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan fell apart just as Mr. Obama began talks on ending the NATO alliance’s combat role in the Afghan war.

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    President Obama speaks at a NATO summit in Chicago with British Prime Minister David Cameron, left (CNN)

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  • Economy v. Favorability in Campaign 2012

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson on the real issues in Campaign 2012.

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  • G-8 Leaders Endorse Policy of Economic Growth

    By Christi Parsons and Don Lee, Los Angeles Times

    In a significant political victory for President Obama, the leaders of Germany and other European nations endorsed a policy of economic growth over austerity and emphasized that Greece, which is trying to battle its way out of a crippling debt crisis, should remain in the Eurozone. Meeting on the cloistered grounds of the presidential retreat here, the leaders of the Group of 8 industrialized nations said in a joint statement that Eurozone economies should work to narrow deficits through "fiscal consolidation" and that each country must decide for itself the best mix of policies for promoting economic recovery.

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May 18, 2012

  • Europe's Fate, and Obama's, May Ride on G8

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    President Obama has a weekend challenge ahead of him: Can he persuade European leaders gathered in the Maryland woods outside Washington, D.C., to adopt the U.S. fiscal example of short-term bailouts, government stimulus and long-range plans for belt-tightening in order to promote growth and stave off a fiscal meltdown in the Eurozone?

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  • Mitt Romney Distances Himself from Racially Fueled Proposal to Attack Obama

    By Karen Tumulty and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney wants to talk about the economy. But his ostensible allies keep interrupting him, and his own party is threatening to drown him out. A reality of modern campaigning is that any candidate — even one as buttoned-down and disciplined as Romney — has to contend with stronger political crosswinds than in the past.

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  • Boehner: No Budget Brinksmanship From Me

    By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

    House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) professed bafflement Thursday about the reaction to his comment Wednesday that any increase in the debt limit at the end of the year must be accompanied by spending cuts and other savings of greater value.

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  • The 1 Percent Solution

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Nick Hanauer toddled through his early years in a cramped Greenwich Village apartment. His mother waited tables at the Bitter End. His father worked low-level jobs on Wall Street and as an editor at a publishing house. When Nick was 5, his folks left New York to join a family pillow-making business in the Pacific Northwest.

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  • Clinton and Reagan Draw Praise (but Not From Whom You’d Think)

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    It says something about American politics that it has come to this: For the record, Bill Clinton does not actually support Mitt Romney for president no matter how many times Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, cites him in his speeches. And for that matter, just for clarity, Ronald Reagan certainly would not be supporting President Obama, either.

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  • Magnate Steps Into 2012 Fray on Wild Pitch

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    Joe Ricketts, an up-by-the-bootstraps billionaire whose varied holdings include a name-brand brokerage firm in Omaha, a baseball team in Chicago, herds of bison in Wyoming and a start-up news Web site in New York, wanted to be a player in the 2012 election. On Thursday he was, though not in the way he had intended.

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  • Romney’s Path

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s top campaign strategist, talks about the race against President Obama. Edited excerpts of his interview with National Journal follow.

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May 17, 2012

  • Obama and House Republicans Offer Taste of Renewed Fight Over the Debt Ceiling

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    President Obama and Congressional Republicans staged a preview of a looming end-of-year battle on Wednesday, as the president warned Republicans that he would not allow Congress to hold the economy “hostage” to another fight over whether to raise the country’s debt ceiling without accompanying cuts in spending.

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    (CNN, File Photo)

  • Biden Plays Attack Dog on Bain

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    For the first time, Vice President Joe Biden is expected to take up a leading attack against presumptive nominee Mitt Romney in the general election: Romney's record at the private equity firm Bain Capital. A manufacturing plant in Youngstown, Ohio will offer the optics for today's assault on Romney's practice of taking over struggling companies and in some cases, walking away with multimillion-dollar profits while the employees got sacked. In other cases (frequently overlooked by Obama's campaign), the companies thrived.

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  • G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.

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  • Seeking the Missing Five Million Workers

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    In the past two years, the over-age-16 population of U.S. has grown by 5.4 million. But the "labor force" hasn't grown at all. David Wessel on The News Hub looks at what's behind the drop and why you should care.

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  • Bush and Clinton Team Up for 9/11 Memorial Fund-Raiser

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    The odd-bedfellows tandem of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton got together again Tuesday night to promote their latest shared post-presidential cause, a memorial to the heroes of United Flight 93. The 42nd and 43rd presidents headlined a fund-raiser at the Newseum in Washington in hopes of bringing in enough money to honor the passengers who confronted hijackers and brought down their plane on Sept. 11, 2001, rather than let it be crashed into the nation’s capital.

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May 16, 2012

  • Why 2012 Is Reality TV at Nightfall, Not Morning in America

    By Beth Reinhard and Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Two handsome presidential candidates have been displaced by hard-knock folks with unkempt beards and furrowed foreheads. These surrogates wear hooded sweatshirts and baseball caps. They gaze mournfully at vacant lots, chain-link fences, and snowy graveyards. This is not “Morning in America;" this is reality TV at nightfall.

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  • George W. Bush Endorses Mitt Romney

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    As presidential endorsements go, this one could hardly have been more low-key. ABC News caught up with former president George W. Bush in an elevator in downtown Washington on Tuesday and asked the question that elicited the sound bite. “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush said, just as the doors slid shut.

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