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 26, 2011

  • Obama Taps Into Hollywood in West Coast Swing

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    With a morning taping of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” on Tuesday, President Obama makes his fourth appearance on the couch opposite the host Jay Leno, in between mining for California gold at fund-raisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Read more
  • Obama Taps Into Hollywood in West Coast Swing

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    With a morning taping of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” on Tuesday, President Obama makes his fourth appearance on the couch opposite the host Jay Leno, in between mining for California gold at fund-raisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Read more
  • New Poll Finds a Deep Distrust of Government

    By Jeff Zeleny and Megan Thee-Brenan, New York Times

    With Election Day just over a year away, a deep sense of economic anxiety and doubt about the future hangs over the nation, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, with Americans’ distrust of government at its highest level ever.

    Read more

Oct 25, 2011

  • Perry Looks Outside His Circle to Boost Campaign

    By John Harwood, Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is taking significant steps to redefine his candidacy as his battle for the Republican nomination intensifies, including unveiling a tax overhaul plan that would give people the option of paying a 20 percent flat tax on income.

    Read more
  • 10 Questions for Rick Perry

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is seeking to jump-start his Republican presidential campaign by proposing a new tax system: a 20-percent flat rate on individual and corporate income, down from the current 35 percent top rate, and elimination of existing taxes on estates, capital gains and dividends. He sat down with John Harwood of The Times and CNBC to discuss the plan, his challenge to a Republican rival, Mitt Romney, and other issues. What follows is a condensed, edited transcript of their conversation.

    Read more
  • Perry Adds Veteran Advisers to Campaign

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Gov. Rick Perry is expanding his tight circle of Texas advisers to adapt to the growing needs – and to deal with the growing pains – of his Republican presidential candidacy.

    Read more
  • The Cain Mutiny

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Herman Cain has captured lightning in a bottle. That's the political cliché for the blast of popularity he's experiencing. But in Iowa, a state that has traditionally rewarded well-organized campaigns, the question is whether Cain is all lightning and no bottle. His supporters and political consultants are trying to get him to spend time and energy in the state, but he has a different plan.

    Read more
  • Rick Perry moves to recharge campaign with flat-tax plan and new hires

    By Perry Bacon Jr. and Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Welcome to Rick Perry 2.0.   The Republican Texas governor is retooling his presidential campaign, shuffling staff and touting a bold but controversial new tax plan, hoping to rebound from a recent plunge in the polls.

    Read more
  • Obama's New Refi Plan

    By Eamon Javers, CNBC

    President Obama travels to Las Vegas, one of the hardest hit housing markets in the country, to unveil his new home refinancing program.

    Watch the report
  • Wars Wind Down, But Some Forces Face Wearying Future

    By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    Army Ranger Kristoffer Domeij was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday while on his 14th combat deployment, highlighting a dispiriting fact of life for some of America’s warriors: conventional forces are leaving Iraq and Afghanistan in large numbers, but the sky-high demand for special-operations troops like the Rangers won’t be changing anytime soon.

    Read more in the National Journal

Oct 24, 2011

  • Events Erode Hope of Tax Overhaul Before Election Day

    by John Harwood, The New York Times

    Even in good times, tax reform poses steep political challenges. And these aren’t exactly good times.That helps explain the angst among advocates of revamping the tax code as they have watched events erode their hopes of near-term success on Capitol Hill.

    Read more
  • Obama's foreign successes may help little in 2012

    by Charles Babington, Associated Press

    By declaring the Iraq war over, President Barack Obama scored what his allies see as a fourth big foreign policy success in six months, starting with Osama bin Laden's killing.

    Read more
  • In Colorado, voter anger clouds 2012 choices

    by Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    By almost every electoral scenario, the road to the White House in 2012 will run directly through Colorado and a handful of other Rocky Mountain states. Right now, neither President Obama, who will visit here early this week, nor the Republicans who debated in Las Vegas last week should feel confident about their prospects in this pivotal region.

    Read more
  • Clinton defends troop withdrawal from Iraq

    by Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that the U.S. will maintain a strong military interest in Iraq, after its last combat troops leave this year, and she warned Iran not to try and take advantage of the pullout.

    Read more
  • Clinton defends troop withdrawal from Iraq

    by Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    With his jobs plan stymied in Congress by Republican opposition, President Obama on Monday will begin a series of executive-branch actions to confront housing, education and other economic problems over the coming months, heralded by a new mantra: “We can’t wait” for lawmakers to act.

    Read more
  • McManus: Mosque and State

    by Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    At a conference two years ago, I sat in on a meeting between U.S. officials and young Islamist politicians from Tunisia, Jordan and other countries in the Middle East. The Islamists wanted to know: Would the Americans allow them to run in free elections, even if it meant they might come to power? The Americans turned the question back at them: Would the Islamists, if they won, allow free and democratic elections, even if it might mean losing power?

    Read more
  • Panetta's Pentagon, Without the Blank Check

    by Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Tan and ruddy-faced, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta took his seat in a hearing room one morning this month ready for battle. The enemy, he warned lawmakers ominously, was “a blind, mindless” one that could “badly damage our capabilities” and “truly devastate our national defense.”

    Read more

Oct 21, 2011

  • Mitt Woos Iowa

    by John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Iowa is a dusty place this time of year. Billows rise up from the combines in the field as the corn is harvested. Your eyes get scratchy. But no dust sticks to Mitt Romney. He is the stainless-steel candidate: precise, technically flawless, and lacking warmth. "I love this country," he said at the end of his town hall at Morningside College Thursday morning. "I hope I made that clear. I didn’t say that as directly as I’d like to: I love America.” Yes, he was sincere, and, yes, the delivery was synthetic.

    Read more
  • The End of an Affair

    by Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

    The death of former Libyan ruler Muammar el-Qaddafi allows the Obama administration to claim credit for ending a war it never wanted to fight. The White House wavered for weeks before it reluctantly joined the NATO campaign. It deployed far fewer aides to Libya than its allies, pledged much less money, and was the last major allied power to recognize the interim government. But the White House has a simple reason for celebrating—and slightly exaggerating—its role in ousting Qaddafi: American power is on the wane throughout the Middle East, and Libya is a rare success story.

    Read more
  • Rick Perry's flat tax plan is a political gamble

    by Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry's call for a flat income tax rate will tie his Republican presidential campaign to a contentious issue that excites many conservatives but has repeatedly failed to win the embrace of mainstream America.

    Read more