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!

May 01, 2012

  • Obama Slams Romney for Changing Tune on bin Laden

    With Sam Youngman, Reuters

    President Barack Obama on Monday reminded Americans that his likely Republican opponent in the November election had been lukewarm about targeting Osama bin Laden, seeking to gain political advantage from the killing of the al Qaeda leader.

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Apr 30, 2012

  • Reaping Bin Laden’s Whirlwind

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    After hunting down and killing Osama bin Laden, U.S. commandos still had to deal with the essential duality of the man. For 20 precious minutes Navy SEAL Team Six scoured bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan’s military garrison city of Abbottabad, collecting what has been described as a library’s worth of intelligence on the inner workings of al-Qaida. That effort recognized bin Laden the arch-terrorist, who built the organization into a globe-spanning conglomerate with far-flung franchises and affiliates. Later they buried him at sea to ensure his final resting place did not become a point of pilgrimage for true believers—a nod to bin Laden the symbolic leader of a revolutionary movement.

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  • PROMISES, PROMISES: Romney Pledges Raise Questions

    By Charlese Babington, Associated Press

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is making campaign promises that could produce an economic miracle -- or a more predictable list of broken vows. Romney says he wants to put the nation on a path to a balanced budget while also cutting an array of taxes, building up the Navy and Air Force and adding 100,000 active-duty military personnel. He says he would slash domestic spending and reduce tax loopholes but has offered few details.

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  • Ad Wars in Arizona Special Election

    By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

    Both parties are beginning to pour money into the Arizona district vacated by Gabrielle Giffords in advance of a special election on June 12, as a former Giffords aide faces a candidate who narrowly lost to Ms. Giffords two years ago.

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  • Chinese Dissident Escapes Arrest

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    A blind human rights activist may be under the protection of U.S. diplomats.

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  • Hardly a Close Ally, Clinton Teams With Obama to Raise Cash and Votes

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    Four years ago, Barack Obama wrested control of the Democratic Party after portraying Bill Clinton as a symbol of small-ball ambition and outdated politics. Now, as president, Mr. Obama is turning to his Democratic predecessor for help as Republicans breathe down his neck.

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  • Hispanic Leaders Divided on President Obama

    With John Dickerson, CBS

    Because Hispanics, the fastest-growing segment of the US population, will play a big role in November's presidential election, leaders from the Hispanic community reinforced the notion that they are not a monolithic voting bloc.

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Apr 27, 2012

  • A Choice, Not an Echo

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Arguably, no presidential campaign in the past 30 years has dawned with voters as singularly focused on a single issue as they are this year. In the aftermath of a debilitating financial crisis and amid a feeble and halting recovery from recession, polls show that voters want economic growth and more jobs. President Obama and Mitt Romney are offering dramatically different paths to those ends—in philosophy and in the fine print of policy; in the targets of their campaign-trail attacks; and even in what they’re not saying about the nation’s most pressing economic problems.

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  • Can You Be Honest With Me?

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    Expecting presidential candidates to be candid with voters is such a quaint idea you'd expect to find it on Pinterest. There it is, next to the adorable confectionery and wedding dog photos. Well, I like quaint, and if you also like a Dr. Seuss saying stenciled on an ambiguous decorative item, then join me on my search for candor in the 2012 presidential campaign. I need your help.

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  • Twitter becomes a key real-time tool for campaigns

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The bully pulpit has a new kind of altar call: “Tweet them. We’ve got a hashtag. Here’s the hashtag for you to tweet them: #dontdoublemyrate.” President Obama repeated that Twitter hashtag twice more during a Tuesday speech opposing an increase in student loan interest rates. For good measure, he even had his Chapel Hill, N.C., audience chant it back to him.

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  • Supreme Court moves to center of presidential race

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The Supreme Court, suddenly at the heart of presidential politics, is preparing what could be blockbuster rulings on health care and immigration shortly before the fall election. The court, sometimes an afterthought in presidential elections, is throwing a new element of uncertainty into the campaign taking shape between President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

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  • On Day of Reckoning, Recalling Horror That Swallowed Liberia

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    When I heard the news Thursday that Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia, had been found guilty of war crimes in Sierra Leone, I immediately telephoned one of the people whose life had been ripped apart by his soldiers: my sister Eunice, back home in Liberia.

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Apr 26, 2012

  • Two Parties Find a Way to Agree, and Disagree, on Student Loan Rates

    By Peter Baker and Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times

    As President Obama wrapped up a barnstorming tour of college campuses in swing states on Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans agreed that they wanted to avoid a steep increase in the student loan interest rate this summer. But the chief issue remained unsettled: how to pay the cost of doing so.

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  • Supreme Court Examines Arizona Immigration Law

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Obama to Launch Campaign With Ohio, Va. Rallies

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    Ohio and Virginia -- he's back! President Obama and wife Michelle will officially launch the president's re-election campaign May 5 with rallies in Columbus and Richmond, his campaign announced Wednesday.

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  • 10 Questions for Timothy F. Geithner

    By John Harwood, New York Times

    The attacks on Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner that marked the early part of the Obama administration have died down somewhat as the economy has recovered. But struggles in Europe have created new economic challenges as Mr. Geithner serves out the remaining months of Mr. Obama’s first term, as the president implored him to.

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  • U.S. High Court Appears to Back Arizona on Immigration

    By James Vicini and Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    Conservative justices who hold a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared to endorse Arizona's immigration crackdown on Wednesday, rejecting the Obama administration stance that the federal government has sole power over those who illegally enter the United States.

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Apr 25, 2012

  • Romney says ‘Better America Begins Tonight’

    By Dan Balz and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney, whose first campaign for the White House ended in failure and disappointment, claimed the Republican nomination Tuesday night after a five-state sweep and turned his full focus to the general election with a charge that President Obama has been a failure in office and a promise of a better America.

    GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney's victory address in Manchester, NH (CNN)

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  • Victory on Arizona Immigration Law Could Cost Republicans in the Long Run

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    If the Supreme Court rejects the Obama administration’s challenge to the Arizona immigration law, the ruling would be widely viewed as a victory for the Republican Party, whose leadership spearheaded the law in the state and championed its spirit nationwide. But at what cost?

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  • Rob Portman is Likely Veep Pick

    With Major Garrett, National Journal

    National Journal's White House correspondent Major Garrett talks to Charlie Rose and Erica Hill about Mitt Romney's five-state primary sweep and the upcoming presidential race.

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