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 20, 2012

  • Obama Invokes Executive Privilege over DOJ Documents

    With Pete Williams, NBC

    President Obama has asserted executive privilege over the documents sought by a House committee as related to the "Fast and Furious" operation, a development which will have a big effect on the contempt proceedings.

    Watch Video on MSNBC
  • In Romney and Obama Speeches, Selective Truths

    By Peter Baker and Michael Cooper, New York Times

    To listen to Mitt Romney tell it, President Obama is a job-killing, free-spending, big-government liberal who made the recession worse with his policies and endangered free-market capitalism. The president has spent tax dollars “at a pace without precedent in recent history,” Mr. Romney says, and “added almost as much debt as all the prior presidents combined.”

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  • House Democrats Lead GOP in Money Race

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    The campaign operation for House Democrats outraised its GOP counterpart in May and lead in the election cycle to date, according to figures by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to be released Wednesday.

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    (CNN, File Photo)

  • Where is Mitt Romney’s Faith?

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Mitt Romney is coy about his running mate. He’ll only speak about the topic in the broadest terms. His staff won’t talk about it at all. To be fair, they don’t know much about the subject. It’s something very personal to Romney. I am talking about his religion.

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  • Europe's Travails Could Add to His Own, Obama Says

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    Europe has not resolved its fiscal and debt challenges and will need more time to reach consensus, President Obama conceded at the conclusion of an important economic summit in Mexico among the 20 leading industrialized nations. Asked at an evening news conference in the resort city of Los Cabos how the Eurozone debt and financial problems might impact his chances for re-election, Obama said, "All these economic issues have an impact on the election, but that's not my biggest concern now."

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Jun 19, 2012

  • Immigration Ruling Won't be End of the Road

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    As the Supreme Court readies a decision on Arizona's tough immigration law, the consensus among advocates on both sides is that at least part of the measure will be upheld. If that happens, a separate pending case might block the law from taking effect.

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    The U.S. Supreme Court (CNN, File Photo)

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  • Face to Face, Obama Tries to Persuade Putin on Syria

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    President Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, finally had their face-to-face meeting on Monday, as Mr. Obama pressed Mr. Putin to work with him to ease President Bashar al-Assad of Syria out of power, a move increasingly viewed by the West as the only way to end the bloodshed that has been under way there for more than a year.

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  • G20 Meeting: Where's the Leadership?

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood reports on the details of President Obama's comments on the Greek election.

    Watch Video on CNBC
  • The Rust Belt is Dead. Long Live the Rust Belt!

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    The road to the White House has long run through Midwestern and Northeastern states paved with "iron, coke, chromium steel," as Billy Joel sang when he memorialized Allentown, Pa., in his 1982 hit song of that name. Since 1960, no candidate has won a presidential election without capturing the Rust Belt's buckeyed heart in Ohio. Just ask George W. Bush, who would have been relegated to one term if not for the voters in Ohio's small towns and rural areas who lifted him to victory in 2004.

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  • Maine Candidate: Don't Assume Party Affiliation

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    Angus King is running for the Senate on a campaign pledge to tell voters how he will vote right after they elect him in November. The independent candidate, a popular former governor, is the front-runner in the open race for the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe. He is running a campaign on a platform of changing Congress and resisting partisanship, which is complicated by the fact that senators must align with a party to receive committee assignments and determine control of the chamber. King won't say before Election Day whether he will align himself with Republicans or Democrats if he wins.

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Jun 18, 2012

  • On and Off the Romney Bus, Tryouts for a Spot on the Ticket

    By Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker, New York Times

    One of the most secretive rituals of the presidential race unfolded in plain sight over the weekend as Mitt Romney stood a few paces behind, watching and smiling, while a procession of prospective running mates delivered their best arguments against President Obama’s re-election.

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    Mitt Romney speaks to reporters outside of his campaign bus (CNN)

  • Obama’s New Approach: Bypassing Congress

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    There’s not much President Barack Obama can do to boost the economy in the next five months, and that alone might cost him the November election. But on a range of social issues, Obama is bypassing Congress and aggressively using his executive powers to make it easier for gays to marry, women to obtain birth control, and, now, young illegal immigrants to avoid deportation.

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  • Romney Knocks Obama’s Immigration Move but Struggles to Offer an Alternative Plan

    By Philip Rucker and Dan Balz, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney criticized President Obama’s decision to stop deporting some illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children as an election-year political move, but he repeatedly declined in an interview Sunday to lay out an alternative plan.

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  • Muslim Brotherhood Candidate Declares Victory in Egypt

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi claimed a narrow victory early Monday in Egypt's first free presidential election, hours after the ruling military council further expanded its control over the country by granting itself war powers, raising new questions about what authority the president would actually have.

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  • An Election Referendum or a Choice?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Is November's presidential election a referendum on President Obama's record or a choice between two different approaches to government? How voters answer that question could well determine the outcome.

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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.

    Watch Video on CBS News