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 02, 2011

  • Supercommittee must not ‘fail the country,’ Bowles says, offering his own plan

    By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    Erskine Bowles, the former White House chief of staff who has worked for months to tame the national debt, bluntly warned members of a congressional panel Tuesday that they will “fail the country” if they do not break the impasse over taxes that is blocking a far-reaching agreement.

    Read more
  • Obama 'can't wait' to Obama ‘can’t wait’ to fight Romney

    By Sam Youngman, The Hill

    The funniest scene in the old hockey movie “Slap Shot” might be the one where the Hanson brothers start a fight with the other team before the game even starts. Who knew that could be a parable for President Obama’s reelection campaign?

    Read more
  • When Herman Met Clarence

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    Herman Cain’s stump speech starts out talking about a nation in crisis. Now he has a campaign in one. Responding to reports about his history of sexual harassment claims, he has offered conflicting and confusing stories. The candidate known for his simplicity has fallen into lawyerly hairsplitting.

    Read more
  • Ex-Clinton Hand Gives Cain Some Advice

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    While the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain are drawing some comparisons between him and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, there's also Bill Clinton. A woman named Gennifer Flowers, you'll recall, claimed having an affair with Clinton as he was poised to win the New Hampshire primary in 1992. To quash the damaging story line, Clinton and wife, Hillary, appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes." You know, I'm not sitting here - some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette,'' Hillary Clinton famously said. Her husband went on to win the presidency.

    Read more from National Journal
  • Cain Accuser Got a Year’s Salary in Severance Pay

    By Jim Rutenberg, Jeff Zeleny and Mike McIntire, The New York Times

    The National Restaurant Association gave $35,000 — a year’s salary — in severance pay to a female staff member in the late 1990s after an encounter with Herman Cain, its chief executive at the time, made her uncomfortable working there, three people with direct knowledge of the payment said on Tuesday.

    Read more

Nov 01, 2011

  • 'Let Cain Be Cain' in GOP Race

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Allegations that Herman Cain sexually harassed two former employees landed like a grenade on the eve of what was supposed to be a weeklong charm offensive in Washington.

    Read more in the National Journal
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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? 

    Watch the report
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more

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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more