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 15, 2012

  • Less Talk, More Stimulus

    By Deborah Solomon, Bloomberg News

    Anyone expecting bold new ideas to resuscitate the economy from President Barack Obama’s speech on Thursday probably came away disappointed. It’s not that Obama’s proposals -- a mix of tax credits for small businesses and clean energy, and spending on infrastructure and education -- are bad. It’s just that they’re shopworn and too timid to break the political stalemate in Washington. The Democratic president effectively showcased the differences between his vision and Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s plan for a rollback of regulation and $5 trillion in new tax cuts. Unfortunately, drawing these distinctions won’t do much for the U.S. economy; it’s stalling now.

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  • Obama to Order Immunity for Young Illegal Immigrants

    By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama has ordered his administration to stop deporting young immigrants who came to the U.S. as young children and who do not pose a security threat, senior administration officials said this morning. Effective immediately, young immigrants who arrived before they turned 16 will be allowed to apply for work permits as long as they have no criminal history and meet a series of other criteria, officials said.

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  • Newly Confident Romney Entering Aggressive Phase

    By Sam Youngman and Steve Holland, Reuters

    A space of only five minutes revealed a lot about the aggressive new phase an increasingly confident Mitt Romney is entering. In a poke at President Barack Obama, the Republican challenger timed a speech in Ohio on the economy to begin just minutes before his Democratic rival gave a major address on the same topic in the same battleground state.

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  • Obama Offers Vigorous Defense of his Presidency in Speech

    By Amy Gardner and Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    President Obama declared Thursday that he and Republican opponent Mitt Romney offer radically different, irreconcilable visions for how to lead the nation back to prosperity, saying it is up to voters to “break that stalemate.” The president’s 54-minute speech here, which at times had the ring of a State of the Union address, represented an effort to regain his footing and reframe his argument for reelection after two weeks of dismal economic and political news.

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  • Dickerson on Democratic Hand-Wringing and GOP Disconnect

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    CBS News political director John Dickerson talks to Charlie Rose and Erica Hill about concern among Democrats over President Obama's messaging; also, the Romney campaign's focus on Obama's "private sector" gaffe.

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  • In New Gambit, Obama Asks Voters to Break Washington Stalemate

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    The choice election that President Obama talks about is now moving, by his own rhetoric, closer to a referendum on his record in office. That’s but one unmistakable consequence of Obama’s repeated call for voters this November to “break the stalemate” in Washington by giving him another term in office. In his 54-minute speech in Cleveland, Obama once again called the election a choice. But he also said breaking the political and policy stalemate in Washington is all the election is about. Everything else, Obama said, is “just noise, just a distraction.”

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  • Egyptian Court Rulings Seen as Reversal of Last Year’s ‘Revolution’

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    With a pair of court rulings, forces aligned with fallen former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak succeeded Thursday in reversing many of what had been considered democratic gains that have taken place here in the 16 months since Mubarak was toppled from power. Critics denounced the developments as the equivalent of a coup.

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  • Obama Says Election Offers a Clear Choice on the Economy’s Long-Term Path

    By Helene Cooper and Michael Barbaro, New York Times

    Framing his re-election bid as a stark choice between government action to lift the middle class and a return to Republican economic policies that he said had caused a deep recession, President Obama on Thursday called the presidential decision facing Americans a clear-cut one that will determine the long-term trajectory of the economy.

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Jun 14, 2012

  • Second-Guessing President Obama

    By Alexander Burns and John F. Harris, Politico

    President Barack Obama has long made clear he doesn’t like the Washington echo chamber. And, lately, the Washington echo chamber doesn’t think much of him, either. A series of stubbed toes, so-so polls and sour headlines is serving to remind Obama’s re-election team of an iron law of politics: When your luck turns cold, everyone’s a critic.

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  • Battleground Ohio: Romney Hopes to Ride 2010 Wave

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The office of Chase Ritenauer, the Democratic mayor of this north-central Ohio city, overlooks peacefully moored sailboats on Lake Erie—and a sewage treatment plant. So it goes for Ohio Democrats this election year: Some things look a lot better than others. Republican Mitt Romney, they admit, has a real chance of putting the state back into the GOP column after President Barack Obama's hard-fought win in 2008.

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  • Adding a Fresh Metaphor to a Familiar Campaign Message

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    Appearing before 500 cheering fans at a fund-raiser at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore on Tuesday, President Obama offered up a critique of his Republican opponents certain to strike a chord with anyone who had ever gotten stuck with the bill for an expensive restaurant.

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    (CNN, File Photo)

  • A Kinder, Gentler Jeb Bush

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Former Gov. Jeb Bush has been sounding downright squishy lately, decrying partisan backbiting and waxing poetic about compromise. He sighed that his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Ronald Reagan would have a "hard time'' fitting into today's Republican Party because they were willing to seek consensus with Democrats. He scoffed at a congressional hearing that he never signed anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist's pledge because you don't "outsource your principles and convictions to other people.'' He lamented "hyperpartisan'' politicians in Washington and called the GOP "shortsighted.''

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  • All pain, No Gain in Southern Europe

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    From the American side of the Atlantic, the debate over Europe's economic future often sounds like a bloodless, mind-numbing discussion of currency zones, bank recapitalization and interest rates. But in countries with fragile economies like Spain and Italy, it takes on real-life urgency.

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  • Syria Crisis and Putin’s Return Chill U.S. Ties With Russia

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    Sitting beside President Obama this spring, the president of Russia gushed that “these were perhaps the best three years of relations between Russia and the United States over the last decade.” Two and a half months later, those halcyon days of friendship look like a distant memory.

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  • Is Belarus Assad's Newest Ally?

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad is receiving new military assistance from Belarus, a tiny nation which appears willing to flout the international effort to isolate the dictator and force him from power. Western officials and outside analysts say that Belarus is providing Damascus with technology that would improve the capabilities of Assad's surface-to-surface missiles, one of the Syrian military's primary weapons during its brutal ongoing crackdown on rebels throughout the country.

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  • Egypt Court's Ruling Dissolves One-Third of Parliament

    By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail, McClatchy Newspapers

    In a highly anticipated ruling that put the legitimacy of Egypt’s legislature and future constitution in question, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court found that one-third of the nation’s first democratically elected parliament was elected illegally and allowed former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister to run in this weekend’s presidential election.

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Jun 13, 2012

  • Secret Report: Confidential Jobs Data Could Be Leaked

    By Eamon Javers, CNBC

    A secret government report on security procedures surrounding the release of market moving monthly jobs numbers found “unexamined flaws in the process” that potentially put the data at risk of disclosure, according to a new letter obtained by CNBC.

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  • 2 Campaigns Chasing Funds at Frantic Pace

    By Ashley Parker and Helene Cooper, New York Times

    President Obama wooed campaign donors in speed-dating fashion on Tuesday, rushing through six fund-raisers in six hours in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Thursday will find him in Manhattan, where he will join Anna Wintour at the home of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick for a $40,000-a-plate dinner, followed by another high-dollar gathering at the Plaza Hotel.

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    (CNN, File Photo)

  • Syria's Mounting Civil War

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Secretary of State Clinton accuses Russia of aiding Assad's regime.

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  • Three Iron Truths of the (Not-Fine) Recovery

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    The U.S. economy is not doing fine. Not in the private sector, and especially not in the public sector. President Obama was wrong to say otherwise – that the private sector is fine – last week. Mitt Romney was wrong to suggest laying off teachers and firefighters hasn’t hurt. And congressional Republicans are wrong to say the whole situation would improve if we just had more “certainty” around taxes and regulations.

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