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!

Nov 01, 2011

  • Herman Cain denies ever sexually harassing anyone, calls allegations ‘totally false’

    By Philip Rucker and Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    Herman Cain on Monday called accusations of harassment from two former employees “totally baseless and totally false,” moving aggressively to knock down allegations that could jeopardize his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

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  • Did President Obama Overstep His Powers?

    By Eamon Javers, CNBC

    President Obama signs an executive order to prevent prescription drug shortages.  It's the fifth executive order he's signed in the past week -- is he overstepping his powers? 

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  • President Is ‘Tobacco Free,’ and ‘Fit at 50,’ Doctor Finds

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    Forget the rumors that he has been sneaking cigarettes; President Obama is “tobacco free,” the president’s doctor said in reporting the results of the president’s second physical since he took office.

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  • Obama Pivots to Call for Patience on Economy

    By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Four years ago this month, candidate Barack Obama gave a speech in Iowa that defined the message of his presidential campaign with a single word -- change -- repeated six times.

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  • Obama will bring advice and pressure to G20 meeting focused on Eurozone

    By Sam Youngman, The Hill

    President Obama will urge European leaders to move quickly in implementing a bailout plan agreed upon last week when he visits the G20 summit in Cannes, France, later this week.

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Oct 31, 2011

  • Cain's Top Aide: Herman Cain Has Never Sexually Harassed Anybody

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said on Monday, "I have never sexually harassed anyone. These are false accusations." Cain's comments came in a hurriedly arranged interview on Fox News. The candidate was responding to allegations that two women left their jobs at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s because they were sexually harassed by the former Godfather's Pizza chain executive, who headed the organization at the time.

    Read more in the National Journal
  • Cain camp denies harassment allegations

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    The presidential campaign of Republican Herman Cain is pushing back against allegations that he engaged in inappropriate behavior with at least two women when he was head of the National Restaurant Association.

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  • Perry Presses for Second Look From Early Voters

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    With time running short before the first votes are cast in the Republican presidential contest, Gov.  Rick Perry of Texas is urgently trying to convince voters that his candidacy warrants a second look. He is retooling his campaign with a newly emphatic anti-Washington message and steering the race into a sharper ideological contrast with Mitt Romney.

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  • Studies challenge wisdom of GOP candidates' plans

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Key proposals from the Republican presidential candidates might make for good campaign fodder. But independent analyses raise serious questions about those plans and their ability to cure the nation's ills in two vital areas, the economy and housing.

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  • A New Ad Race, but the Vehicles Are Retreads

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    In Mitt Romney’s telling, Gov.Rick Perry made Texas a wasteland. Under the words “Unemployment Has Doubled,” a tumbleweed rolls across a barren highway.

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  • Newt Gingrich: GOP’s consummate survivor is back on his feet

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    In an election season that already has taken more than its share of unlikely turns, few moments have seemed more improbable than the crowd scene Friday afternoon at a Chick-fil-A along a busy suburban thoroughfare here. At least 400 people jammed the restaurant, leaving those in the back straining to get even a glimpse of a man whose presidential candidacy had been left for dead not five months ago.

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  • In N.H., technocrat Romney vs. preacher Perry

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    They have debated on the same stage five times, but rarely have the contrasts between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry been more in evidence than during separate appearances here Friday night. It was Romney the careful technocrat versus Perry the unplugged preacher.

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  • Perry Plays Nice

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    When Rick Perry brought on a new team of advisers, the assumption was that he was about to initiate a scorched-earth campaign against anemic front-runner Mitt Romney. These advisers, who had helped Gov. Rick Scott win a rough-and-tumble race in Florida, were supposed to know how to play nasty. They would surely pummel Romney because time is short, no one has been able to lay a glove on him, and there is such ample opportunity.

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  • A tax reform fairy tale

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Tax reform proposals are the political equivalent of science fiction: entertaining but imaginary. No tax proposal ever passes through Congress unscathed. There are too many interests that believe their survival depends on tax preferences — hence the tax code's immutable tendency to accumulate complexities as a ship collects barnacles.

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  • The debt fallout: How Social Security went ‘cash negative’ earlier than expected

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    Last year, as a debate over the runaway national debt gathered steam in Washington, Social Security passed a treacherous milestone. It went “cash negative.”     For most of its 75-year history, the program had paid its own way through a dedicated stream of payroll taxes, even generating huge surpluses for the past two decades. But in 2010, under the strain of a recession that caused tax revenue to plummet, the cost of benefits outstripped tax collections for the first time since the early 1980s.

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  • U.S. Seeks Aid from Pakistan in Peace Effort

    By Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

    Just a month after accusing Pakistan's spy agency of secretly supporting the Haqqani terrorist network, which has mounted attacks on Americans, the Obama administration is now relying on the same intelligence service to help organize and kick-start reconciliation talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan. 

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  • U.S. Service Members Killed in Afghan Suicide Bomb Attack

    By Nick Schifrin, Martha Raddatz, and Aleem Agha, ABC News

    At least five NATO service members and eight civilian contractors, many believed to be American, were killed in Kabul today when a land cruiser with 1,500 pounds of explosives blew up next to an armored U.S. bus -- the deadliest attack on U.S. troops in the Afghan capital in 10 years of war.

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Oct 28, 2011

  • More Than Luck: A veteran intelligence chief talks about finally connecting the dots.

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    In a string of successful operations this year, U.S. counterterrorism forces have drawn a bead on the top tier of the terrorist hierarchy. They killed Qaida chief Osama bin Laden last May, and then Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, two top leaders in al-Qaida’s dangerous franchise in Yemen. Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, U.S. officials seem to be accurately “connecting the dots” from terrorism plots back to the masterminds who hatched them. National Journal Senior Correspondent James Kitfield spoke recently with David Shedd, an intelligence veteran who is now deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, about what the recent successes say about post-9/11 intelligence reforms. Edited excerpts from the interview follow.

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  • Clause and effect: The business cycle matters when assessing the cost of new regulations

    By The Economist

    American policymakers are pulling every lever they can to revive the economy, from fiscal stimulus to quantitative easing. The big exception has been regulatory policy. From environmental protection to bank oversight, the rule book has steadily thickened in recent years. Republican critics of Barack Obama think this explains America’s economic malaise. Scrap the rules, they claim, and the economy will spring to life. Nonsense, responds the Treasury. In a recent article, Jan Eberly, an assistant secretary for economic policy, scrutinised the behaviour of corporate-bond yields, corporate profits and other indicators. She found no evidence that regulatory uncertainty is holding businesses back from hiring or investment; weak demand is the big culprit.

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  • 2012: What a Long, Dull Road It's been (So Far)

    By Susan Davis, National Journal

    The good folks at Pew Research Center put a data point on what most American already know: so far this presidential race has been dull. According to their latest poll, a majority, 51 percent, of Americans say the campaign has been "dull" while 35 percent say it has been "interesting." Fully half, 50 percent, say the campaign season is too long--and there's still more than a year to go.

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