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!

Sep 12, 2012

  • Obama condemns attack that kills ambassador to Libya

    By Peter Baker and Sarah Wheaton, The New York Times

    An attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya on Tuesday night has brought foreign policy to the forefront of the presidential race, puncturing the solemn unity seen on the campaign trail one day earlier as both candidates observed the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    Read more
  • Springboard or setback? Romney sought, now faces foreign-policy test

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    Mitt Romney’s swift criticism of administration policy amid deadly protests in Libya and violence in Cairo touched a nerve and could mark a turning point for a campaign that has avoided foreign policy and direct engagement with President Obama on the dangers and opportunities of the still-smoldering Arab Spring.

    Read more from National Journal
  • U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, 3 other Americans die in Libya consulate attack

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    Libya's interior minister said Wednesday that the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed when armed Islamist militants overran the U.S. consulate in Libya’s second largest city, in a day of rage that also struck the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, where demonstrators hauled down the American flag, tore it to pieces and burned it.

    Read more
  • Israeli sharpens call for United States to set Iran trigger

    By David E. Sanger and Isabel Kershner, The New York Times

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel inserted himself into the most contentious foreign policy issue of the American presidential campaign on Tuesday, criticizing the Obama administration for refusing to set clear “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear progress that would prompt the United States to undertake a military strike. As a result, he said, the administration has no “moral right” to restrain Israel from taking military action of its own.

    Read more
  • Mitt Romney panic syndrome

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    It happens every four weeks. Conservatives get a very scary feeling that Mitt Romney is blowing this election for all the wrong reasons.

    Read more
  • Software, not just bullets, puts military at odds

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    Military commanders, government officials and members of Congress have long wrangled over which weapon systems are needed. Now, there's an argument over what computer software should be provided to soldiers in Afghanistan. It's a defense dispute for the digital age.

    Read more

Sep 11, 2012

  • Big government: impact on the markets?

    By Eamon Javers, CNBC

    Read more
  • Romney on tax loopholes

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    Read more
  • Master campaigner summons the spotlight for Obama (and himself)

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Elvis is back in the building, and everyone is singing from his song sheet. Twelve years after leaving the White House, four years after his wife’s failed presidential campaign and six days after his well-received convention speech, Bill Clinton is hitting the campaign trail as the role model both sides claim to emulate.

    Read more
  • Among likely voters, Obama-Romney close

    By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, The Washington Post

    Last week’s Democratic National Convention helped President Obama improve his standing against Republican Mitt Romney, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, but did little to reduce voter concern about his handling of the economy.

    Read more
  • No 'credible or specific' terror threat on 9/11 anniversary

    By Pierre Thomas, Jack Cloherty, Jason Ryan and Richard Esposito, ABC News

    Intelligence sources tell ABC News that there is no "credible or specific" information that al Qaeda or any other terrorist organizations are plotting attacks timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

    Read more

Sep 10, 2012

  • Will acceptance of gays by high court influence rulings?

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    A tall, hulking man in his late 70s, William Rehnquist, then chief justice of the United States, crawled down on all fours to say hello to the two little girls who had scurried under the table when he approached at a luncheon.

    Read more
  • Romney struggles to gain traction in battlegrounds

    By Sara Murray and Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    With two months to Election Day, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces the disconcerting reality that he isn't winning most of the states he would need to beat President Barack Obama.

    Read more
  • With $114 million, Obama just outraises Romney in August

    By Jeff Mason and Sam Youngman, Reuters

    President Barack Obama's campaign and its Democratic partners raised more than $114 million in August, narrowly beating Republican rival Mitt Romney for the first time in months as the race for the White House approaches its final stretch.

    Read more
  • Romney aims to neutralize Obama's narrative

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    Read Mitt’s lips: no new taxes on the middle class, no net tax decrease for high earners, no cuts in defense spending.

    Read more
  • Romney and Obama trade shots over tax-cut math, Medicare

    By Maeve Reston and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    After a week in which Democrats repeatedly attacked his economic plan as beneficial to the rich and devastating to the poor, Republican nominee Mitt Romney insisted Sunday that his tax and budget proposals would help rebuild the middle class in America.

    Read more

Sep 07, 2012

  • Economy adds 96K jobs

    National Journal

    U.S. payrolls grew by a weaker-than-expected 96,000 in August, but the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, Labor Department says

    Read more from National Journal
  • Two Conventions Down, No Signs of Quick Help for the Jobless

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    The voters demand action on jobs, and on Thursday night, the incumbent president running amid the worst election-year labor market in modern American history responded with the following: A bloody evisceration of his opponent’s economic philosophy. (“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”)

    Read more from National Journal
  • In Democratic convention speech, Obama vows ‘our problems can be solved’ — with more time

    By Dan Balz and David Nakamura, The Washington Post

    President Obama appealed to the nation Thursday night for another four years in office, asserting that his policies are slowly returning the country to economic prosperity while arguing that his Republican opponents would pursue a course that would set the country back and harm the well-being of middle-class families.

    Read more
  • Obama makes case for 2nd term: ‘harder’ path to ‘better place’

    By Helene Cooper and Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for a second term on Thursday night, making a forceful argument that he had rescued the economy from disaster and ushered in a recovery that would be imperiled by a return to Republican stewardship.

    Read more