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 21, 2012

  • High Court Rules Against FCC in Clash over Profanity, Nudity on TV

    With Pete Williams, NBC

    The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Federal Communications Commission failed to give two television networks, FOX and ABC, fair notice prior to punishing them for broadcasts in which outbursts of expletives and brief nudity were aired.

    Read More and Watch Video on NBC
  • Romney Breaks the Stained-Glass Ceiling

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    If Mitt Romney wins the presidential election this fall, he'll have Harry Reid partly to thank. The Republican presidential nominee and the Senate Democratic leader don't have much in common politically. But they're both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — that is, they're both Mormons. So whenever officials of the LDS church are asked about the once-common concern that a Mormon president might take orders from Salt Lake City, they have a ready answer: Just look at Harry Reid.

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    Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney (CNN, File Photo)

  • House Panel Votes to Cite Holder for Contempt of Congress

    By Aamer Madhani and Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    A House oversight committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, marking an escalation of the long-running dispute between Republicans and the Justice Department over internal administration documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.

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  • “The Best Medicine I Know”

    By Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair

    Exactly 48 years ago this week, the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act passed the Senate, after overcoming the longest filibuster in history. Nearly 100 years after the Civil War ended, the bill at last promised to deliver legal equality for all Americans, and though it aroused enormous controversy and sliced straight into the nation’s original sin, it won lopsided approval by a vote of 73 to 27, with overwhelming Republican support.

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  • Labor to Base 2012 Strategy on Personal Contacts

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    The AFL-CIO, which is trying to build a consistent, national coalition of voters primed to back candidates who support workers' values and interests, has been experimenting with a ground game that relies on friend-to-friend persuasion, accomplished both in-person and using today's Internet tools.

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  • George Zimmerman's Reenactment of Trayvon Martin Shooting

    By Pierre Thomas and Seni Tienabeso, ABC News

    "He took my head and slammed it against the concrete several times, and each time I thought my head was going to explode and I thought I was going to lose consciousness," George Zimmerman told police the day after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

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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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