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 27, 2012

  • Obama Campaign Banks on High-Tech Ground Game to Reach Voters

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    A cheer erupted at about 8 on a June evening as a woman scrawled with red marker on paper taped to the wall: the small group in a storefront Obama campaign office in this Mayberry-like southern Ohio town had exceeded the night’s goal of calling 700 voters with an hour to go, despite time out for a pep talk from a surprise visitor, former Gov. Ted Strickland.

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Jun 26, 2012

  • Analysis: What takes so long? Behind the scenes at Supreme Court

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    During a break from the crush of last-minute opinion-writing, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience of 1,000 people this month at a Washington legal convention: "It is flood season at the court." For the rest of the country it had been more like a drought, a stretch of weeks without any word in the most closely watched cases - the blockbuster challenges to President Barack Obama's healthcare plan and Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration.

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  • Narrow win for Arizona immigration law

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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

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  • On the Campaign Trail, Obama and Romney React to the Justices’ Decision

    By Helene Cooper and Trip Gabriel, The New York Times

    The Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona’s strict immigration law gave President Obama another shot at energizing Latino voters, while Mitt Romney defended states’ aggressive efforts to fight illegal immigration. For Mr. Obama, both parts of the court’s split decision — striking down most of the law while letting stand the most controversial provision, which critics have dubbed “show me your papers” — have the potential to encourage get-out-the-vote efforts. He appealed to voters worried about racial profiling, given that the provision of the law the court let stand requires police offers to check for proof of legal residence.

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  • Analysis: Court hampers Romney's plea to Hispanics

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Mitt Romney wants to improve his troubled standing among Hispanic voters while saying as little as possible about immigration. Events keep working against him. The Supreme Court's ruling Monday on Arizona's immigration law, coming 10 days after President Barack Obama's announcement that allows some illegal immigrants to stay in the country, is the latest instance. Romney's cautious comments on the court decision underscored his discomfort with a topic that squeezes him between conflicting goals.

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  • Issa Letter Hammers Obama on Operation 'Fast and Furious'

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    The chairman of the House oversight committee investigating White House involvement in the botched “gun-walking” program that led to the 2010 death of U.S. Border Patrol agent accused President Obama on Monday of downplaying his involvement in the program or intentionally obstructing the Congress' inquiry.

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Jun 25, 2012

  • BIS Official Warns of Central-Bank Overreach

    By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal

    Jaime Caruana, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements and former governor of the Bank of Spain, warned Sunday that the recent aggressiveness of the world’s central banks may be creating “unrealistic expectations” about their power to “resolve the fundamental problems that hold back sustainable growth” and argued that more central bank action poses unwelcome risks.

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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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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