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!

Apr 18, 2012

  • Latino Voters Take Center Stage in Both Presidential Campaigns

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    With the GOP presidential nomination no longer in doubt, President Obama and Mitt Romney this week are urgently turning their focus to Hispanic voters — a group whose alienation from Republicans threatens GOP prospects for winning the White House and has given the Obama campaign an early opportunity to lock in the support of a key constituency.
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  • As Gas Prices Cast Cloud, Obama Calls for Scrutiny on Market

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    With his re-election prospects influenced by the price of gasoline, President Obama on Tuesday demanded more “cops on the beat” to crack down on oil market manipulation, calling on Congress to bolster federal supervision of oil markets and to increase penalties for subverting markets.
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Apr 17, 2012

  • Obama Push on Oil Markets Seen as More Political Than Practical

    By Coral Davenport, National Journal

    Under continued attack from Republicans for high oil and gasoline prices, President Obama unveiled on Tuesday a slate of measures to crack down on financial speculation in energy-futures trading, which Democrats say helps drive up prices. But while a Rose Garden announcement gave the president a platform to be seen calling for action on fuel prices, it’s not clear whether financial speculation is even a major contributor to oil and gasoline prices—or whether the administration’s proposals could have any real impact on the price at the pump.
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    Gas Prices (CNN, File Photo)

  • Raise the Minimum Wage

    By Deborah Solomon, Bloomberg News

    Here’s an unhappy observation about the minimum wage: Congress last increased the rate in stages in 2006, topping it out at $7.25 an hour in 2009, or $15,080 a year. That amount, when adjusted for inflation, is actually lower than what a minimum-wage worker earned in 1968 and is too meager to offer anyone the chance to climb out of poverty, let alone afford basic goods and services.
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  • "Trust" to Join "Fairness" as Obama Buzzword, Sources Say

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    If the White House gets its political way, "trust" will be a word President Obama and his surrogates use in the next few weeks as often as Obama has talked about "fairness," and Mitt Romney, once dubbed as hollow to the core, will increasingly be ID'd as a card-carrying ultra-conservative who bobbles into Etch A Sketch moments because his core is causing him problems.
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  • Secret Service Scandal: By the Numbers

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman reports on the taxpayer costs involved in the scandal involving Secret Service members and now military personnel involving prostitution in Colombia before President Barack Obama arrived for a summit, an incident that the top armed forces commander said left the service “embarrassed.”
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  • The Bubble Wars

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    One way to think about the 2012 presidential campaign is as a battle between two houses: Barack Obama's White House and Mitt Romney's San Diego house. The Romney campaign would like to make Obama a prisoner to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., turning every perk and privilege of the presidency into a sign that he is far removed from the people he is supposed to lead, especially anyone struggling in this economy.
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  • Cybersecurity Bills Compete For Attention

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    Cybersecurity will get a lot of attention on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks, with several competing bills up for consideration. The most stringent proposal mandates minimum cybersecurity standards and requires companies to notify the government when their networks have been breached. White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan says it is essential that the federal government take steps to better prepare the country for devastating cyber attacks. Listen to Story on NPR

Apr 16, 2012

  • Lead-up to Labor Day May Determine Winner of Presidential Race

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    The intensity of the initial skirmishes in the campaign between President Obama and Mitt Romney underscores a new reality about presidential politics. What happens in the months before Labor Day and the candidates’ debates in the fall will shape the race and, if history is a guide, determine who wins in November.
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    Mitt Romney on the campaign trail (CNN, File Photo)

  • A Presidential Hangout: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Clubhouse

    By Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, TIME

    You would never take a second glance at 716 Jackson Place if you were strolling through the neighborhood around the White House and Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. But the unmarked, four-story, white-painted townhouse with brown sandstone steps is easily the most exclusive club on the planet. You have to call the White House for reservations — and at the moment, only four men are eligible to use it.
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  • Secret Service Scandal: Agents Solicited Prostitutes?

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    Eleven agents have been suspended for allegations involving prostitutes.

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    Watch Video on ABC News

  • Americas Meeting Ends With Discord Over Cuba

    By Jackie Calmes and William Neuman, New York Times

    A summit meeting of Western Hemisphere nations ended without a final statement of consensus on Sunday, after the United States and some Latin American nations remained sharply divided over whether to continue excluding Cuba from such gatherings.
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  • Obama Adviser Plouffe Presses Romney on Release of Old Tax Files

    By Mike Dorning and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    David Plouffe, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney should release decades of back tax returns, framing the issue of as one of “transparency and trust” that will help define the choice for voters in November. “If he’s got nothing to hide, then there’s nothing to lose,” Plouffe said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend.
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  • Whistleblower Controversy

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    CNBC's Eamon Javers reports the IRS Whistleblower program is running up against a brick wall.

    Watch Video on CNBC

Apr 13, 2012

  • North Korean Missile Launch Raises New Questions About Path Forward

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    The roots of the growing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s controversial missile launch Thursday trace back to a set of closed-door talks in February—and the sharply differing conclusions each side drew from the negotiations.
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    The North Korean Rocket Prior to Launch (CNN)

  • World Economy Highly Unstable

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    The IMF is raising its forecasts for global growth from levels it expected in January, but there is still a "high degree of instability" in the world economy, Managing Director Christine Lagarde says in an interview with the WSJ's David Wessel.

    Watch Video on Wall Street Journal

  • Obama: Candidates' Wives Should Be "Off-Limits"

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    The wives of presidential and other political candidates should be "off-limits," President Obama said Thursday during interviews at the White House with anchors from television stations in four key battleground states.
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  • Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy Discuss 'The Presidents Club'

    With Michael Duffy, TIME

    Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy discuss the surprising ways that current and former presidents depend on each other.

    Watch Video on TIME

  • White Males Fading Among House Democrats

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    House Democrats will make history in the 2012 election, sending to Congress next January the first minority-majority party faction in U.S. history. A new analysis by the Cook Political Report reveals a further progression of white flight from the Democratic Party, which is increasingly represented by women and minorities, while the GOP remains a party dominated by white men.
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  • The Umbrage Wars

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Wednesday was a big day for political umbrage taking. It started with a conference call hosted by Mitt Romney's campaign in which his advisers were unable to give an immediate answer to the candidate's position on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Obama campaign issued a statement from Ms. Ledbetter saying she was “shocked and disappointed.” (A couple of hours after the Romney campaign was struck mute, it issued a release saying President Romney wouldn’t seek to repeal the law.)
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