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

  • 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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  • Obama Campaign’s Rough Patch Concerns Some Democrats

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    Is it time for Democrats to panic? That’s what a growing number of party loyalists are wondering, amid a rough couple of weeks in which President Obama and his political operation have been buffeted by bad economic news, their own gaffes and signs that the presumed Republican nominee is gaining strength.

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  • Dimon's Big Day on Capitol Hill

    With John Harwood, CNBC and Major Garrett, National Journal

    Major Garrett, National Journal White House correspondent, and CNBC's John Harwood report on the politics behind today's Senate hearing and provide a preview of questions likely to be asked of key witness Jamie Dimon.

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  • Dems, GOP Warily Eye News of Falling Family Wealth

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Democrats and Republicans are wary of trying to exploit a new report about the sharp drop in household wealth over the past 20 years. The economic report, released just as the presidential race is heating up, was stunning: The Great Recession shrank Americans’ wealth so much that, in 2010, median family net worth was no more than it had been in 1992 after adjusting for inflation.

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Jun 12, 2012

  • Does Leaking Secrets Damage National Security?

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    Last week's assignment of two federal prosecutors to investigate disclosures of national security information might have been the first shot in a new war on leaks. The director of national intelligence is expected soon to announce new measures to fight unauthorized disclosures, and some members of Congress say it could be time for new anti-leaking laws.

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  • Commerce Secretary Takes Medical Leave After Hit-and-Run Crash

    By Adam Nagourney and Helene Cooper, New York Times

    It began Saturday afternoon at a railroad crossing in a run-down commercial neighborhood in suburban San Gabriel, on a street bustling with signs in Chinese characters. A man in a Lexus rolled into the back of a Buick waiting for a train to pass. Two miles and five minutes later, the Lexus smacked into the rear of yet another car, in neighboring Rosemead.

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