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 03, 2011

  • The John Kerry Moment?

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    Failure, it turns out, is an option. In fact, it sounds more and more like an imperative. “I’m worried you’re going to fail,” Erskine Bowles, the Democratic chairman of President Obama’s debt- and deficit-reduction commission, told the super committee on Tuesday. Hours earlier, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., told a National Journal panel on the 2012 election that he fully expected the super committee to fail and expected all of the underlying political and policy issues to be settled, at least in part, by the 2012 election.

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  • Cain Says Perry Is Orchestrating a Smear Campaign

    By Jeff Zeleny, Michael D Shear and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    A defiant Herman Cain accused Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, a Republican rival, of orchestrating a smear campaign to destroy his presidential candidacy, as additional accusations emerged Wednesday that Mr. Cain made unwanted sexual overtures to women while he led the National Restaurant Association more than a decade ago. 

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  • Job Creation: Are Policies Geared to Startups the Answer?

    by Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    President Obama on Tuesday proclaimed November 2011 to be National Entrepreneurship Month, a benign and routine ritual that stroked a favored cause, but nevertheless a timely nod to the heart of the economy’s job creation dilemma.

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  • Justice Stevens' memoir: Modest tone but pointed critiques

    By Joan Biskupic, USA Today

    For his nearly 35 years on the Supreme Court, Justice John Paul Stevens was never a scene stealer. As he gravitated toward the left, he was overshadowed by prominent liberals such as William Brennan. Later, when he became the senior justice on the left and controlled the assignment of opinions, he often gave important cases to key colleagues.

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  • Stuxnet Raises 'Blowback' Risk In Cyberwar

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The Stuxnet computer worm, arguably the first and only cybersuperweapon ever deployed, continues to rattle security experts around the world, one year after its existence was made public. Apparently meant to damage centrifuges at a uranium enrichment facility in Iran, Stuxnet now illustrates the potential complexities and dangers of cyberwar.

    Listen to parts 1 and 2

Nov 02, 2011

  • Herman Cain’s ‘Clintonian’ ways

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

    Herman Cain has maintained a packed schedule over these past few days as he has battled allegations that he sexually harassed at least two women while he led the National Restaurant Association. His strategy of rolling disclosures has found him parsing the definition of a settlement, claiming a faulty memory on key facts, then remembering more clearly, and finally wishing for a do-over, admitting that mistakes were made in initial interviews.

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  • Obama Goes Local in Round of Interviews

    By Helene Cooper, New York Times

    With his re-election campaign now in full swing, President Obama has been visiting swing states and attending fund-raisers almost every week. Unfortunately, this week he’s obligated to travel to a place with no electoral votes: Cannes, France, for the Group of 20 economic summit.

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  • 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.

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  • 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?

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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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? 

    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.

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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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