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 06, 2012

  • 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)

  • Judge Pokes Obama Over Court Comment

    By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    It seems President Barack Obama’s challenge to the Supreme Court–in which he said overturning his health-care law would amount to an “unprecedented, extraordinary step”–is not going over well in certain conservative judicial quarters. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered the Justice Department to explain whether courts indeed have the right to strike down a federal law.
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  • Though Time is on the Clock, the Game is Over

    By John Dickerson, CBS News/Slate

    As a young football fan, I learned that my team was doomed once the television announcers started to thank the producers, directors, and cameramen. They could interrupt the play-by-play because nothing was likely to happen on the field to spark the magical comeback I was hoping for. The opposing quarterback, untroubled by madness or sorcery, would take a knee, and the clock would run out.
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  • Al Qaeda Warning Aimed at New York

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    A new warning appears online, styled after a Hollywood movie poster.

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    Watch Video on ABC News

  • Mitt Romney Wins Wisconsin, Maryland, D.C. Primaries

    By Dan Balz and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney captured presidential primaries in Maryland, the District and battleground Wisconsin, the biggest prize of the day, to complete a momentum-building, three-contest sweep Tuesday that cemented his status as the almost certain Republican nominee and put new pressure on rival Rick Santorum to reassess his candidacy.
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Apr 03, 2012

  • Cost-Per-Delegate Madness: Paul Spent $496,000

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    In honor of budget week and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., endorsing GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, I decided to run some numbers. Not budget numbers, everyone has done that this week. These are numbers on what's been spent for the two most important commodities in a nominating contest: votes and delegates. And if Supreme Court justices can be cheeky and snarky in oral arguments, why can't I be a bit cheeky at this stage of the GOP primary?
    Read More on National Journal

  • Supreme Court: Strip searches in jail OK

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    Watch Video on NBC News

  • Obama: Supreme Court Will Uphold Health Law

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    If the Supreme Court rejects all or part of the 2010 health reform law, the majority of justices will have heeded their political analyses and not their interpretations of the Constitution and legal precedent, President Obama suggested Monday. Five times the president described himself as “confident” or “pretty confident” that the court will uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this summer.
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  • Santorum Defies Mounting Pressure to Bow Out

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    “I’m not talking about this anymore,” Rick Santorum said here Sunday outside the Riverside Brewery and Restaurant before a gaggle of cameras and reporters. “We’re just focused on doing well here in Wisconsin.” What Santorum doesn’t want to talk about is what so many others want to talk about, which is how long he will stay in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination. He is confronted by that question at almost every stop along the campaign trail and in every television interview he gives. He’s tired of it.
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  • Wisconsin: Big GOP Primary Prize

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood explains why the GOP primary in Wisconsin is critical.

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