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!

Oct 03, 2011

  • Market Wisdom 101

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Cult classics have a nice way of putting complex modern problems in perspective. You may not find a better key to understanding the wild ups and downs of the stock market over the past two months than Douglas Adams’s seminal 1979 science-fiction tome, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The book features the tale of an advanced alien race—stick with us here—that builds a supercomputer for the sole purpose of generating an answer to the “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” After 7.5 million years, the computer spits out its answer: 42.

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  • Congress' dysfunction long in the making

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Why does Congress barely function today? The legislative branch of the world's most powerful nation is now widely scorned as it lurches from one near-catastrophe to the next, even on supposedly routine matters such as setting an annual budget and keeping government offices open.

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  • Obama campaign team memo blasts 2012 Republican candidates

    By Sam Youngman, The Hill

    President Obama's campaign said in a memo Monday that the Republican candidates vying for the president's job are running to the extreme right of the party, embracing policies that Americans oppose.

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  • In GOP presidential race, voters have their own timetable

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    If political events have proved anything so far this year, it is the need for patience and caution in projecting the future. Voters may have their own ideas. The loose-knit group of strategists, activists, talking heads and others known as the political community has been in a hurry all year to get the Republican presidential race shaped and charted. But that is work reserved to the voters. In due time, voters will clarify and resolve everything, but not this month or next.

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  • Obama Campaign Borrows From Bush ‘04 Playbook

    By John Harwood, New York Times

    The last time an incumbent president faced re-election, George W. Bush exploited social and national security issues to offset his economic vulnerabilities. Over the next year, President Obama will try the same thing.

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  • Success Battling Terrorists, but Scant Glory for It

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    The killing of an American-born Al Qaeda leader in Yemen on Friday will probably bolster the high marks Americans give President Obama for dealing with terrorism and foreign policy. Yet his overall approval ratings are likely to remain depressed, underscoring the economy’s drag on his prospects for re-election.

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  • Perry controversy, Christie speculation critiqued

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    Political correspondent Jan Crawford and political analyst John Dickerson speak to Jeff Glor about the controversy involving Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Chris Christie's possible run, and how the GOP field is shaping up.
     

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Sep 30, 2011

  • Herman Cain: The GOP’s next big thing?

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    Almost lost amid the buzz this week over the possibility that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may seek the Republican nomination for president was the potential rise of a candidate already in the race: Herman Cain.

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  • U.S.-Born Qaeda Leader Killed in Yemen

    By Mark Mazzetti, New York Times

    Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who was a leading figure in Al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate and was considered its most dangerous English-speaking propagandist and plotter, was killed in an American drone strike on his vehicle on Friday, officials in Washington and Yemen said. They said the strike also killed a radical American colleague who was an editor of Al Qaeda’s online jihadist magazine.

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  • Stop the Press

    By Yochi J. Dreazen

    Iraqi journalism—which Washington had hoped would ensure a democratic, transparent government—faces an intense government crackdown. 

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  • Supreme Court term could influence 2012 election

    By Joan Biskupic, USA Today

     The Supreme Court opens a potentially epic term Monday that could roil debate in the 2012 presidential election campaign.

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  • Al Qaeda's Anwar al-Awlaki Killed in CIA Drone Strike

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    The American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a major al Qaeda figure who U.S. officials say inspired several terror plots against the U.S., was killed overnight in Yemen in a CIA drone strike, U.S. and Yemeni officials told ABC News.

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Sep 29, 2011

  • Justice Dept. asks high court to look at health care law

    by Joan Biskupic, USA Today

    The Obama administration on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of a requirement that most Americans buy health insurance by 2014, paving the way for a ruling in the middle of the 2012 presidential election campaign.   Read more

  • Feds: Alleged terror plotter never posed threat to public

    by Pete Williams, NBC News

    A Massachusetts man whose elaborate plan to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol involved using remote-controlled airplanes filled with explosives never posed a danger to the public, officials said.   Watch video

  • Solyndra Said to Have Violated Terms of the U.S. Loan

    by Deborah Solomon, The Wall Street Journal

    Solyndra LLC had such steep financial problems in late 2010 that the company violated terms of its loan-guarantee agreement with the Department of Energy and technically defaulted on its $535 million loan, according to people familiar with the matter.  Read more

  • The Perils of Ignoring History

    by David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal

    The happy and not-so-happy scenarios for US (and global) economy, and why the latter predominate. David Wessel has details on The News Hub.  Watch video

  • Romney Waits as GOP Flirts with Alternates

    by Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    The Republican who may have the strongest shot of winning the White House, at least in the eyes of President Obama and his advisers, is Mitt Romney. Now, if Mr. Romney could only persuade Republican voters.  Read more

  • Confronting the GOP, Obama Brandishes the Politics of Science

    by Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics.com

    When President Obama mocked Rick Perry on Sunday for suggesting that climate change is a fiction while Texas battled wildfires and drought, the president's remarks got plenty of attention.   Read more

  • Is Christie ready to be president?

    by Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    It was about this time five years ago when political strategist David Axelrod sat down and wrote a memo to then-Sen. Barack Obama, who was seriously considering whether to run for president after months and months of saying he would not.  Read more

  • Leading Bystander

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    Chris Christie made a rousing call for leadership at the Reagan Library Tuesday night. He outlined what it looks like (a certain New Jersey governor) and what it doesn't (a sitting U.S. president). "We continue wait and hope that our president will finally stop being a bystander in the Oval Office," he said. "We hope that he will shake off the paralysis that has made it impossible for him to take on the really big things."  Read more