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 29, 2012

  • Romney Tells Vets Dangerous World Demands Powerful Military

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney chose Veterans Day to proclaim to the American people his conviction that the world is a dangerous place, and the United States must remain its most formidable military power. "The world is not safe," Romney told veterans on Memorial Day. He was joined by Senator John McCain, in a speech to honor the veterans of America's wars.

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    Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., talk to Veterans in San Diego (CNN)

  • McCain Says Obama's Syria Policy 'Abandons American Leadership'

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Arizona Sen. John McCain on Sunday called the Obama administration’s approach to the violence in Syria, “a feckless foreign policy that abandons American leadership.’’ More than 90 people, including about 30 children, were killed when Syrian tanks shelled a rebel-held village, United Nations officials reported on Saturday. As many as 10,000 people have been killed since the uprising began against President Bashar al-Assad more than a year ago. The Obama administration is reportedly preparing to vet members of the rebel army to determine whether they could be armed by other Arab nations.

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  • Productivity Far Outpaces U.S. Factory Wages

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Overall compensation to factory workers doesn't come close to the impressive productivity gains that American factories have enjoyed over the past year. WSJ's David Wessel reports.

    Watch Video on Wall Street Journal
  • Romney's VP Pick?

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood reports on who Mitt Romney is likely to choose as his vice presidential running mate.

    Watch Video on CNBC
  • New Question Arises over Validity of Egypt Election Even as Results are Confirmed

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    The Egypt’s election commission on Monday released the final vote tallies in Egypt’s first democratic election, confirming that next month’s runoff will be between a Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidate and a top leader from the deposed regime. But even as the commission released the numbers from last week’s two-day vote, uncertainty continued to plague the election process, as it remains unclear whether one of the candidates, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, will be constitutionally allowed to run.

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  • Joe Biden Recalls Death of Wife, Daughter

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Vice president opens up about past grief and thoughts of suicide.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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    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.

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  • 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.)

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  • 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.

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    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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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    (CNN, File Photo)

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  • 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.

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  • 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.”

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