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 25, 2012

  • The Cornerstone

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Florida’s Hillsborough County, the site of this summer’s GOP convention, voted for Bush twice and then flipped to Obama. Winning here in 2012 might hold the key to the entire election.

  • Health Care Decision Due This Week

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    View at
  • Egypt Results Leave White House Relieved but Watchful

    By Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

    The Obama administration, expressing relief on Sunday that the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate will be Egypt’s next president, voiced cautious optimism that the choice could keep the country’s rocky transition to democracy on track.

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  • Romney's arithmetic problem

    By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times

    Here's an issue that hasn't been debated much in the presidential campaign but ought to be: How much should we spend on defense? President Obama has proposed keeping the Pentagon budget essentially flat for the next 10 years. Mitt Romney, by contrast, wants to increase defense spending massively — by more than 50% over current levels, according to one estimate. That could mean almost $2 trillion in additional military spending over 10 years.

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Jun 22, 2012

  • Senate Passes Farm Bill That Curtails Aid

    By Janet Hook and Damian Paletta, The Wall Street Journal

    The Senate passed a sweeping package of farm and nutrition-assistance programs that would reduce spending by billions of dollars partly by ending direct subsidies to farmers, setting up a showdown with House Republicans who have demanded steeper spending cuts in exchange for their support. The Senate bill passed 64 to 35 on Thursday, with 48 Democrats and 16 Republicans voting for the measure.

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  • Hoyer: House majority relies on Obama victory

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The House's number two Democrat said he believes the party will win control of the U.S. House this November, but President Obama must win re-election for it to happen. "In order for us to win back the House, the president will have to win this election," Hoyer said today. "And I think he will win this election."

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  • Supreme Court health-care ruling likely to have long-term fallout

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Though no one outside the Supreme Court has an inkling how it is going to rule on President Obama’s health-care law, the political fallout — at least initially — is easy to predict. If the law is upheld in full, the decision will be hailed as a triumph for Obama and his leadership. If it is struck down entirely, Republicans will claim vindication in their unanimous opposition to what they see as a massive overreach of government.

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  • Commerce Secretary Resigns

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    John E. Bryson announced his resignation as President Obama’s commerce secretary on Thursday, citing medical reasons after an episode in which he had a seizure and was involved in a sequence of car crashes. Mr. Bryson, a longtime California electricity conglomerate executive, served in the cabinet for just eight months and had kept a low profile in Washington during his short tenure. But that changed when he was found unconscious behind the wheel of his car in California earlier this month after reportedly hitting two other vehicles.

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  • The Border Battle

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood reports on the details of Romney's immigration plan; and Henry Cisneros, CityView chairman & CEO; and T.J. Rodgers, Cypress Semiconductor CEO, weigh in on the presidential election and border militarization reforms.

    Watch on CNBC

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.

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  • 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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