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!

Jun 01, 2012

  • Gamesmanship Abounds as Obama, Romney Campaigns Duel over Jobs

    By Ros Krasny and Sam Youngman, Reuters

    The campaigns of President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney took their political gamesmanship up a notch on Thursday, with dueling events that featured raucous heckling, a secret trip for reporters and symbolic backdrops that reflected the increasing intensity of the tight race for the White House.

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  • Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran

    By David E. Sanger, New York Times

    From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

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  • Mitt Romney Visits Solyndra Headquarters, Knocks President Obama

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney visited the shuttered headquarters of the bankrupt Solyndra solar energy company Thursday, venturing into the physical heart of his political argument against President Obama’s stewardship of the economy. The Republican presidential candidate has repeatedly invoked the failed energy company as evidence of Obama’s economic failure and his hostility to the private sector.

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    A Romney campaign event at Solyndra headquarters in California (CNN)

  • Sex Selection Is New Front in Abortion Battle

    By Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

    Republicans opened a new front in their battle against abortion Thursday, by calling a House vote on legislation to ban abortions conducted for the purposes of sex selection. But the bill, which would punish doctors who perform sex-selection abortions, failed to pass the House because GOP leaders brought it to a vote under fast-track procedures requiring a two thirds majority. The bill drew a 246-168 majority, but fell short of two thirds.

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  • Obama, Romney Execute Game Plans, Amid Distractions

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    The narratives are flying at warp speed in the presidential election. Private equity. Public equity. Bain. Solyndra. President Obama undercut by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and ex-governor Ed Rendell. Mitt Romney drowned out by The Donald. What’s a person to think? The general election is only a few weeks old. What has happened in those weeks is not insignificant, because of what they say about the directions the two campaigns are heading and the arguments they want to make, rather than because one candidate or the other has seized the temporary advantage.

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  • Portrait Unveiling Reunites Bushes and Obamas

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    "What would George do?" became a White House laugh line Thursday as three presidents gathered in the East Room for what President George W. Bush jovially described as his "hanging." The official unveiling ceremony for the portraits of the 43rd president and first lady Laura Bush included warm appreciations for peaceful transfers of power after hard-fought elections, the solemn responsibilities of the presidency, and the shared honor of occupying the “people’s house.”

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May 31, 2012

  • Mitt Romney Wins the Republican Nomination!

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Yesterday Mitt Romney crossed the magic threshold of 1,144—the number of delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination. You didn't think you needed a yawn, but there … I've given you a chance to open wide. This is a news-free event—we’ve known Romney has had it locked up for weeks—but there was a time when this was not considered such an eventuality. Not long ago, who would win the Republican nomination was a hotly contested question, an object of intense speculation, theorizing, and sharp retorts. But then everything fell into place.

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  • Democrats Want a Fighting President

    By Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

    Americans increasingly want their presidents to fight for what they believe in rather than seek compromise — and much of the attitude change comes from Democrats, a fresh look at the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll shows.

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    A smart phone captures a snap shot of President Obama in the East Room of the White House (CNN)

  • For the White House, a Wary Wait as Syria Boils

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    After ordering American forces to Libya last year, President Obama declared that he had tackled a humanitarian crisis more decisively than his predecessors. “When people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s,” Mr. Obama told a national television audience, “it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians. It took us 31 days.”

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  • An Early Look at the General Election

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    Exactly 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency. CBS News estimates Obama can count on 212 and Romney can rely on 191. CBS News political director John Dickerson reports on the battle for the 135 up for grabs.

    Watch Video on CBS News
  • Obama Still Crushing Romney in Spanish Media

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Another day, another set of Spanish-language ads from President Obama's re-election campaign. This third batch will boost an investment already estimated at $1 million since mid-April, in contrast to Mitt Romney's meager $13,000 in Spanish media so far.

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  • Poland Seeks Stronger Apology after Obama's 'Death Camps' Remark

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    The Polish prime minister is demanding a “stronger, more pointed response” from President Obama after he referred to “Polish death camps” during a White House ceremony Tuesday. Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday that Obama should have made it clear that the death camps were run by Nazis in occupied Poland. White House officials issued a statement expressing “regret” for the reference, but Tusk said he is not completely satisfied by the White House explanation that the president misspoke.

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  • Software Raises Bar for Hiring

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    n an essay in this newspaper last fall, Peter Cappelli, a professor of management and human resources at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, challenged the oft-heard complaint from employers that they can't find good workers with the right skills. "The real culprits are the employers themselves," he asserted. "It is part of a long-term trend," he adds in an interview, "and the recession caused employers to be able to be pickier, to get even more specific in the skills they think they can find outside the company and to cut back on training."

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May 30, 2012

  • Nomination His, Romney Steps Up Attack on Obama

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    Mitt Romney, having initially weathered the first sustained general election attack, is entering a critical 90-day stretch to the Republican convention on relatively equal footing with the White House and is unleashing a new offensive to win over independent voters and further undermine confidence in President Obama’s stewardship of the economy.

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  • Romney Clinches Nomination, Attacks Obama on Solyndra, but Trump Steals the Spotlight

    By Nia-Malika Henderson and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney and his allies opened a multi-pronged attack Tuesday on President Obama’s stewardship of taxpayer dollars, as Romney won the Texas primary and clinched the Republican presidential nomination. Romney garnered at least 88 delegates in the Texas primary, bringing his total past the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, according to an Associated Press count.

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  • Will the U.S. Economy Bounce Back Later This Year?

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    David Wessel on The News Hub discusses the outlook for the U.S. economy and whether we're likely to see growth rebound in the second half of 2012.

    Watch Video on Wall Street Journal
  • Trump Birther Remarks Overshadow Romney Appearance

    By Sam Youngman, Reuters

    Controversy over the "birther" movement hung over a meeting in Las Vegas on Tuesday between Mitt Romney and high-profile supporter Donald Trump, whose comments about President Barack Obama have put the Republican presidential candidate in an awkward spot.

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  • 'Flame' Malware Designed For Spying, Not 'Cyber War'

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The latest entrant in the arsenal of advanced cyber packages deployed by governments or corporations for use against their adversaries is a piece of malicious software dubbed "Flame." The malware contains a wide variety of espionage tools, including a feature that activates the internal microphone in personal computers and enables the user to monitor a target's conversation.

    Listen to Story on NPR
  • Medal of Freedom Honorees: An Election Year Medley

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    Bob Dylan wore formal attire Tuesday while accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom along with nearly a dozen other recipients. His business suit, roomy for his slight frame, was coal black and decorated with Western-style buckles on the chest pockets. The 71-year-old wore a crisp white shirt and a bow tie. But what captured President Obama's attention and that of a VIP audience packing the East Room of the White House were the aviator sunglasses Dylan wore indoors. Impenetrable.

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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)