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 10, 2012

  • Veterans Return Home to Face Unemployment Battle

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman reports that as tens of thousands of young veterans come home from the wars, many are struggling to find work with civilian employers who don’t recognize their skills, haven’t shared their experiences and aren’t sure what to make of them.
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Apr 09, 2012

  • ‘Super PAC,’ Eyeing General Election, Aims Blitz at Obama

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    American Crossroads, the biggest of the Republican “super PACs,” is planning to begin its first major anti-Obama advertising blitz of the year, a moment the Obama re-election campaign has been girding for and another sign that the general election is starting in earnest. With an anticipated bank account of more than $200 million, officials at American Crossroads said they would probably begin their campaign this month.
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    President Obama addresses members of the press at the White House (CNN, File Photo)

  • Martin Killing Resonates in Conn. Town Still Trying to Heal Racial Fissures

    By Krissah Thompson and Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post

    No one died in what became known here as “the incident.” But that has not kept the raw racial fissures that ran through this blue-collar town six years ago from resurfacing in light of the national attention focused on the killing of Trayvon Martin. As in the Martin case, there were dueling stories in Stratford, accusations of racism and what many saw as criminal suspicions rooted in faulty racial assumptions.
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  • Jobs Report Leaves Obama, Romney Campaigns Wary

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The nation's steady-but-modest job growth presents political challenges for both of November's all-but-certain presidential rivals. Republican Mitt Romney needs an ailing economy to fully exploit his image as a "Mr. Fix-It" who can restore the nation's financial health, as he turned around the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics. President Barack Obama needs job-creation momentum to convince voters that things are moving in the right direction, even if millions of people remain unemployed.
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  • Tulsa Shooting: Two Suspects Arrested

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    Race and revenge may have fueled the rampage that killed three African-Americans.

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  • Both Parties Wooing Seniors

    By Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

    President Barack Obama and Democrats are counting on regaining support from older voters who switched to the GOP in 2008 and 2010 by attacking Republican plans to revamp Medicare. But Mitt Romney is proving to be a formidable competitor in this battle. The Republican presidential front-runner has drawn large shares of older voters during the primaries, and recent polls show him ahead of Mr. Obama among seniors in swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
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Apr 06, 2012

  • 120,000 Added Jobs in March, Less Than Expected

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs last month, less than expected and an indication that momentum could be slowing. Phil Izzo and David Wessel have the details.

    Watch Video on Wall Street Journal

  • A ‘War on Women’ or a Battle for their Votes?

    By Karen Tumulty and David Nakamura, Washington Post

    Is there a “war on women” going on? That is a matter of dispute between the parties these days. But one thing is certain: There is a battle raging over them. If that wasn’t clear after weeks of argument over contraceptive coverage, it became so Thursday, when caterpillars and country clubs got dragged into the fray.
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  • Rob Portman's the One

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee, Wisconsin sealed the deal, and he will pick Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio as his running mate. Write it down. And harangue me mercilessly this summer if I am wrong.
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  • Back to the Drawing Board

    By Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair

    Mitt Romney still has only a bit more than half the delegates he’ll need to become the Republicans’ official nominee in Tampa this summer, but after his sweeping victories in Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, no one can any longer doubt that the nomination is—really, finally—his. Just ask that famously sloppy political operator Barack Obama, who has suddenly trained his sights on Romney as if the general election were well under way—which, come to think of it, it is.
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  • White House Women's Forum Could Capitalize on Gender Gap

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    President Obama is hosting a White House "forum on women and the economy" Friday, and aides are denying up and down that politics is afoot. Planned two weeks ago and featuring panels about business, women’s education, the workplace, health care, and violence against women, the event is a chance for the president to deliver a speech directed at women -- and for the administration to tout its record on “women’s economic security . . . through all stages of life.” At least 10 female administration officials are scheduled to moderate.
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    President Obama hosts a "forum on women and the economy" at the White House (CNN)

  • Jobless Benefits Claims Drop to Lowest Levels Since 2008

    By Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post

    The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits dropped to its lowest level in four years last week, the government reported Thursday, adding to a growing sense among economists that job creation is continuing at a healthy clip. Jobless claims fell to 357,000 in the week ended March 31, the lowest number since April 2008.
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  • Justice Kagan--Giving Liberals a Rhetorical Lift

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    During three days of arguments over the Obama healthcare plan, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan put on a display of rhetorical firepower, reinforcing predictions that the newest liberal justice is best equipped to take on the conservative, five-man majority controlling the bench.
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  • Under Pressure, Santorum Huddles with Conservatives

    By Sam Youngman and Alistair Bell, Reuters

    Tumbling in the polls and under increasing pressure to abandon his White House campaign, Republican Rick Santorum huddled with conservative leaders and aides on Thursday to plot strategy. Among the options on the table: a plan that would involve Newt Gingrich dropping out of the Republican race and backing Santorum in a late effort to unite conservatives and prevent Mitt Romney from clinching the party's presidential nomination.
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Apr 05, 2012

  • Romney Sharpens his Attack, says Obama is Running a ‘Hide-and-Seek Campaign’

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney took a sharper line of attack against President Obama on Wednesday, accusing the Democratic incumbent of waging a “hide-and-seek campaign” that disguises his intentions and offers no solutions for the country’s most intransigent economic problems.
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    President Barack Obama (CNN)

  • Court’s Potential to Goad Voters Swings to Democrats

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    For decades, Republicans have railed every four years against the Supreme Court and its perceived liberal activism to spur conservatives to elect presidents who will appoint like-minded justices. Now strategists in both parties are suggesting this could be the Democrats’ year to make the court a foil to mobilize voters.
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  • Details Emerge on Coming U.S. Offensive in Eastern Afghanistan

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    A campaign that will likely be the last major U.S. offensive of the Afghan War is set to begin later this year in eastern Afghanistan, the region where the conflict began and where senior NATO officials hope their involvement will effectively come to an end. U.S. officials in Kabul and Washington have provided National Journal an array of details about the coming push, which represents a high-stakes -- and politically complicated -- attempt to better secure Kabul as well as Afghanistan’s porous border with Pakistan before the American exit from the country accelerates.
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  • Romney's Health Care Scare Averted

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Mitt Romney’s trio of victories Tuesday could mark the moment when he vanquished one of the biggest ghosts haunting his primary campaign: Romneycare. The homestretch before Tuesday’s vote coincided with the highly publicized Supreme Court hearings over President Obama’s health care overhaul, offering Romney's opponents the perfect opportunity to bash him over the comparable plan he championed as governor of Massachusetts.
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  • After a Rollicking Primary, a Different Kind of Fight in November

    By John Harwood, New York Times

    If anything is stable in this presidential race, it is the idea that 2012 is a volatile campaign year. In part that reflects the last two elections, when Democrats and Republicans in turn won big victories, and the expectation that November represents a tiebreaker. Even more, it reflects a roller coaster Republican primary campaign, which at different moments has elevated Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.
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Apr 04, 2012

  • Obama Resets Campaign Debate, But Not to Jobs

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Any day now, someone is going to grab the wheel of the 2012 presidential election and yank it toward the issue that American voters overwhelmingly worry about: jobs. There are still 13 million Americans looking for work; the average time someone spends unemployed has soared to nearly 10 months. So the candidates can’t keep fighting over gas prices, contraception, and the specter of some ambiguously far-off debt crisis – can they?
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    Mitt Romney won primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. (CNN)