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 05, 2012

  • Politics is the great divider in United States

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    It hardly took another study for people to know that political polarization in this country is deeply embedded. Still, a report issued Monday by the Pew Research Center paints a particularly stark portrait of a nation in which the most significant divisions are no longer based on race, class or sex but on political identity.

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  • Romney eyes Pennsylvania despite big Obama '08 win

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Candi Ludwig is the face of Mitt Romney's hopes in Pennsylvania, a state Republicans would love to take away from President Barack Obama this fall. Ludwig, a registered Republican and mother of two teenagers, voted for Obama in 2008 when he won Pennsylvania by more than 10 percentage points. But now she has misgivings. "I really expected him to make changes," she said as she ate lunch last week with her husband, Jim, at an outlet mall in Gettysburg. "But he didn't. He disappointed me."

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  • Obama's Economic Predicament

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    President Obama has almost no significant new openings to rev the stalling U.S. economy before November -- not with Congress as collaborators, at least. So what can he do? The White House says the president will deliver a speech describing his economic vision this month. Offering a public address is Obama's favored fallback when triggering a new phase of economic attention. The president is still touting his American Jobs Act of 2011, but his spokesman said Monday that Obama will continue to search for “potential new ideas.”

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  • Clinton Supports Obama at New York Fund-Raisers

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Days after lauding Mitt Romney for a “sterling business career” as a private investor, former President Bill Clinton said on Monday that as president, Mr. Romney “would be in my opinion calamitous for our country and the world.”

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  • Obama Brings Clinton to New York Events to Draw Donors

    By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg

    Bill Clinton showered praise on Barack Obama and warned that Mitt Romney’s election would be “calamitous” for the U.S., as the former and current presidents joined forces to appeal to donors in New York. Clinton, who undercut Obama’s campaign message last week, was unstinting last night in his support for the Democratic incumbent’s re-election in November.

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Jun 04, 2012

  • Obama Aims at Romney in New Ad

    By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    With a new TV ad, President Barack Obama’s campaign is putting more muscle into its effort to paint Mitt Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts governor as a failure on job creation. The Obama campaign began making this case last week with a news conference and a Web video. Now the campaign is out with a TV spot that will run in nine battleground states in what a campaign official called a “significant” purchase of air time.

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    Mitt Romney on the campaign trail (CNN, File Photo)

  • Recall Battle in Wisconsin May Snarl Obama Camp

    By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    President Obama holds multiple paths to re-election, with a handful of battleground states being able to slip away without leading to his defeat. But each possible outcome on his campaign map has always shared a common trait: winning Wisconsin.

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  • The Politics of Jobs

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    Discussing what the third spring slowdown in a row means for the Obama campaign, with CNBC's John Harwood.

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  • From Alabama, an Epic Challenge to Voting Rights

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    Four years ago, in this small city of gentle hills, tall oaks and nine stoplights, an invisible line was drawn a few miles north of the center of town. It stretched up beyond Highway 22 and looped west across Interstate 65, sweeping in recent housing developments, the brown-brick Concord Baptist Church and a new Wal-Mart. The narrow five-square-mile rectangle enlarged Voting District 2.

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  • Salmon Fishing in Yemen? No, Says Tourism Board

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC

    ABC's Martha Raddatz talks salmon fishing in Yemen.

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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.

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