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 16, 2012

  • 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.

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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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  • North Korea Missile Launch Failure: New Threats?

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Martha Raddatz on this embarrassing failure for the North Korean government.

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    Watch Video on ABC News

  • North Korea Missile Launch Failure: New Threats?

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Martha Raddatz on this embarrassing failure for the North Korean government.

    video platform video management video solutions video player


    Watch Video on ABC News

Apr 12, 2012

  • Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney: Self-Restraint in an Age of Rage

    By John F. Harris, Politico

    American politics has become so angry and divisive that it favors candidates who appeal to extremists and eccentrics, and even are extremist and eccentric themselves. The nonstop circus of modern campaigns, meanwhile, has left the county’s most accomplished and capable people on the sidelines, with scant interest in running for office. Or so the argument goes. But something strange—or rather something normal—is happening in 2012.
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  • Romney Rebuts Claims that He, GOP are Anti-Women

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Presidential candidate Mitt Romney intensified his efforts Wednesday to rebut claims that he and fellow Republicans are insufficiently supportive of women, or even hostile to them. For the second straight day, the presumptive GOP nominee campaigned at a female-owned work site, and denounced Democrats for saying his party is waging "a war on women."
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    Mitt Romney speaks in Warwick, RI (CNN)

  • How the World's Most Exclusive Club Was Born

    By Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, TIME

    It was one of those moments that, in a mere second or two, changed American history: On January 20, 1953, at the inauguration of President Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman greeted Herbert Hoover on the platform. "I think we ought to organize a former presidents club," Hoover suggested. "Fine," Truman replied. "You be the President of the club. And I will be the Secretary." Up to that moment, the Presidents Club was more an idea than an institution.
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  • George Zimmerman Charged With 2nd Degree Murder in Trayvon Martin's Death

    By Matt Gutman, Candace Smith and Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who admits he shot unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, was charged with murder today and has been taken into custody. The charge of second degree murder was announced by Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey at a news conference this evening.
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  • Ann Romney Tweets; What Would Hillary Do?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    You've come a long way, baby? Somehow the 2012 campaign has regressed back to 1992 (some would say even decades earlier) when Hillary Clinton kicked up a storm for saying "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.''
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  • Obama Won’t Order Ban on Gay Bias by Employers

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    President Obama disappointed and vexed gay supporters on Wednesday with his decision, conveyed to activists by a senior adviser, not to sign an executive order banning discrimination by employers with federal contracts.
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  • The Campaign is On, and So Are the Fake Fights

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Today is for all intents and purposes the first full day of the 2012 general election for president. If you scan headlines, blog posts, and Twitter feeds, you'll notice two stories are sucking up a lot of the coverage of the race: President Obama's push for a "Buffett Rule" to force millionaires to pay the same effective federal tax rate as middle-class Americans, and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's claims that Obama is waging an economic war on women.
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