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 11, 2012

  • A Bad Week for Obama and the Democrats

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    All you need to know about the week the Democrats just had can be summed up by noting that both President Obama and former president Bill Clinton, the two best campaigners their party has seen in decades, had to clean up verbal messes they’d made earlier. And, oh yes, Mitt Romney’s campaign raised more money last month than Obama’s — by more than 25 percent.

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    (CNN, File Photo)

  • A 'Fine' Mess. Even Obama Loyalist Winces at Obama's Take on Private Sector

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    When Jared Bernstein, Vice President Biden's former top economist, began reviewing notes of President Obama's press conference on Friday, he stopped cold when he read "the private sector is doing fine." "It caught my eye," Bernstein told National Journal. Bernstein immediately fired off an email to the intern who took the notes to make sure it was accurate and not a rough or garbled translation. "I thought, 'Did he really say that?'" To his dismay, the intern wrote back that those were Obama's words. Verbatim.

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  • Romney Adviser Takes U.S. Political Debate Overseas

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    A senior economic adviser to Mitt Romney criticized President Obama and his policy toward crisis-torn Europe, and Germany in particular, in an op-ed article in a leading German newspaper on Saturday, raising the question of the propriety of taking America’s political fights into international affairs.

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Jun 08, 2012

  • Romney Outraised Obama in May by Over $16M

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee announced today that they raised more than $76.8 million last month, surpassing the amount reported by President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Julianna Goldman reports on Bloomberg Television's "Money Moves."

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  • Obama Criticizes Republicans Over Student Loan Rates

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    After a day of fund-raisers in California, President Obama on Thursday traveled again to swing-state Nevada for the one event of his two-day Western trip that was designated as an official appearance, as opposed to a campaign stop. But it again illustrated that everything is political in an election year.

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  • Romney tops President Obama in fundraising in May

    By Sam Youngman and Deborah Charles, Reuters

    Mitt Romney's presidential campaign significantly outpaced President Barack Obama in fundraising last month, a sign that the challenger could at least match the incumbent in the overall race for campaign cash. Romney and Republican groups raised more than $76.8 million in May, his campaign said on Thursday, topping the more than $60 million Obama and his Democratic allies collected in the scramble for the cash that will fuel the campaigns through the November 6 election.

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  • Will Central Banks Rescue World Economy...Again?

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Can, will and should will central banks around the world (Fed, ECB, Asia) rescue the world economy from the politicians--again? David Wessel has details on The News Hub. Photos: Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Reuters.

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  • Tone Poem

    By Yochi Dreazen, National Journal

    Last October, Mitt Romney strode onto a stage in an ornate hall at South Carolina’s Citadel, one of the nation’s oldest military academies, to launch a series of political broadsides against President Obama. “I will never, ever apologize for America,” he thundered. “In Barack Obama’s profoundly mistaken view, there is nothing unique about the United States.” The coming era, Romney vowed, would be an “American Century,” with the U.S. retaining the world’s biggest economy and strongest military. A Romney presidency, he promised, would usher in that era.

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Jun 07, 2012

  • Can Mitt Romney match Wisconsin’s Scott Walker?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker provided a template for Republicans looking ahead to the presidential race with his victory in Tuesday’s recall election: big money, powerful organization and enormous enthusiasm among his base. Can Mitt Romney match that in November?

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  • Europe’s Woes Give Democrats a New Line of Attack

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    In American politics, being European is bad again. But these days, President Obama and the Democrats, not the Republicans, are holding up their allies across the Atlantic as the poster children for bad policies.

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  • Clinton aides: Bill screwed up

    By John Harris and Alexander Burns, Politico

    Bill Clinton’s off-message musings in recent days on Mitt Romney, taxes and the state of the economy prompted a series of urgent and agitated calls between senior aides to both Clinton and President Barack Obama. In the past, these kinds of complaints have often prompted Clinton lieutenants to kindly suggest that the Obama team can go to hell: a former president can, should and will say what he wants.

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  • Celebratory Air at Obama Event for Gay Rights Supporters

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Nearly a month after President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, on Wednesday night he got a rousing reception and at least $2.5 million at a gala of gay rights supporters and a private, celebrity-studded dinner afterward.

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  • Have the Fed's Efforts Helped?

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    It's been 3 1/2 years since the Fed launched its first round of quantitative easing to try to boost growth. What did all these extraordinary, unconventional manuevers do for the economy? David Wessel discusses on The News Hub.

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Jun 06, 2012

  • Walker Survives Wisconsin Recall Vote

    By Monica Davey and Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Gov. Scott Walker, whose decision to cut collective bargaining rights for most public workers set off a firestorm in a state usually known for its political civility, easily held on to his job on Tuesday, becoming the first governor in the country to survive a recall election and dealing a painful blow to Democrats and labor unions.

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  • Pakistan Drone Strike: End of Al Qaeda?

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Killing of Abu Yahya Al-Libi leaves Ayman al-Zawahiri as al Qaeda's lone leader.

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  • The GOP’s Land of Big Ideas

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    Republican anti-tax activist Grover Norquist sees a Wisconsin business opportunity for Mitt Romney now that Governor Scott Walker has survived. Walker built a network of campaign offices across the state. Romney should mount a friendly takeover. "The smart move for the Romney campaign would be to take over those same staff and don't let them shut down," says Norquist. "In Wisconsin they have the best turnout operation in history. They've been exercising all year. They're excited and they're cheerful."

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  • Team of Mascots

    By Todd Purdum, Vanity Fair

    Four years ago, Barack Obama said he wanted a Lincoln-esque “team of rivals” in his Cabinet. Thanks to his own temperament, the modern White House, and the 24-hour news cycle, what the president has created is something that doesn’t look Lincoln-esque at all.

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  • Administration Thought Taliban Had the Bomb

    With David Sanger, The New York Times

    David Sanger, New York Times chief Washington correspondent, on his book "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power."

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Jun 05, 2012

  • Politics is the great divider in United States

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    It hardly took another study for people to know that political polarization in this country is deeply embedded. Still, a report issued Monday by the Pew Research Center paints a particularly stark portrait of a nation in which the most significant divisions are no longer based on race, class or sex but on political identity.

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  • Romney eyes Pennsylvania despite big Obama '08 win

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Candi Ludwig is the face of Mitt Romney's hopes in Pennsylvania, a state Republicans would love to take away from President Barack Obama this fall. Ludwig, a registered Republican and mother of two teenagers, voted for Obama in 2008 when he won Pennsylvania by more than 10 percentage points. But now she has misgivings. "I really expected him to make changes," she said as she ate lunch last week with her husband, Jim, at an outlet mall in Gettysburg. "But he didn't. He disappointed me."

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