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!

Dec 12, 2012

  • North Koreans Launch Rocket in Defiant Act

    By David E. Sanger and Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times

    North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Wednesday morning that appeared to reach as far as the Philippines, an apparent success for the country’s young and untested new leader, Kim Jong-un, and a step toward the nation’s goal of mastering the technology needed to build an intercontinental ballistic missile.

    Read more
  • Michigan Enacts Right-to-Work Law, Dealing Blow to Unions

    By Michael A. Fletcher and Sean Sullivan, Washington Post

    Michigan enacted far-reaching legislation Tuesday that threatens to cripple the power of organized labor in a state that was a hub of union might during the heyday of the nation’s industrial dominance.

    Read more
  • The Zen of the Fiscal Cliff

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    If you are distracted by the holidays and not paying attention to every twist and turn of the fiscal cliff drama, the guidelines we set up several weeks ago still apply. Until House Republicans say they support a tax rate hike, you can ignore the noise and go about your life.

    Read more
  • As Fiscal Talks Heat Up, Questions on Whether Boehner Can Get the Votes

    By Jackie Calmes and Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times

    With negotiations quickening on Tuesday to prevent a year-end fiscal crisis, White House officials once again are confronting a vexing question: Can Speaker John A. Boehner deliver enough Republican votes for whatever deficit-reduction plan he and President Obama might decide?

    Read more
  • Will it be Clinton? Cuomo? Warren?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Shortly after the 1988 presidential election, pollsters asked Democrats whom they favored to be their party's nominee in 1992. The strongest candidates were Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Gov. Mario M. Cuomo of New York. The governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, didn't even register.

    Read more

Dec 11, 2012

  • Obama Takes Push For Higher Taxes On Wealthy To Workers At Michigan Plant

    By Lori Montgomery and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

    President Obama hit the campaign trail again on Monday — more than a month after the election — firing up a crowd of blue-collar automotive workers with calls to raise taxes on the wealthy and eagerly wading into a local political dispute over the powers of labor unions.

    Read more
  • Message to Dems: Do Your Own Job!

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    Watch more
  • Does A Lower Unemployment Rate Mean A Better Labor Market?

    By Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post

    The government’s latest jobs report offered both good news and bad news, reflecting an emerging reality of the nation’s economy. The unemployment rate fell from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent in November, the Labor Department reported Friday, its lowest level in four years. It has dropped more quickly in the past year than in any one-year period since 1995.

    Read more
  • The Marriage Plot: Inside This Year's Epic Campaign for Gay Equality

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    On May 9, President Obama sat for an interview in the White House with the ABC News anchor Robin Roberts. Both of them knew what she'd been summoned there to discuss, and Roberts didn't waste any time. "So, Mr. President," she said, "are you still opposed to same-sex marriage?"

    Read more
  • Navy SEAL Dies in Afghanistan Rescue Mission

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Watch more

Dec 10, 2012

  • No Word On Deal In Washington

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    President Obama and Speaker Boehner spent Sunday together discussing the fiscal cliff.

    Watch more
  • Time Running Out On ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal

    By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane, The Washington Post

    The contours of a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff are becoming increasingly clear. But progress has been slow, and time is running out for leaders to seal an agreement and sell it to restless lawmakers who so far have been given little information.

    Read more
  • Stock Market is a Wild Card In Fiscal Cliff Talks

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Congress and the White House can significantly soften the initial impact of the "fiscal cliff" even if they fail to reach a compromise by Dec. 31. One thing they cannot control, however, is the financial markets' reaction, which possibly could be a panicky sell-off that triggers economic reversals worldwide.

    Read more
  • SEAL Team Six Member Killed in Raid to Rescue Hostage

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Watch more
  • U.N. Ambassador Questioned on U.S. Role in Congo Violence

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    Almost two decades after the Clinton administration failed to intervene in the genocide in Rwanda, the United States is coming under harsh criticism for not moving forcefully in another African crisis marked by atrocities and brutal killings, this time in Rwanda’s neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Read more

Dec 07, 2012

  • US Supreme Court To Take Up Same-Sex Marriage Issue

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to take its first serious look at the issue of gay marriage, granting review of California's ban on same-sex marriage and of a federal law that defines marriage as only the legal union of a man and a woman.

    At the very least, the court will look at this question: When states choose to permit the marriages of same-sex couples, can the federal government refuse to recognize their validity? But by also taking up the California case, the court could get to the more fundamental question of whether the states must permit marriages by gay people in the first place.

    Read more
  • McConnell Takes Hard Line

    By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has found shrewd ways to solve some of Washington's most intractable budget standoffs. In the current battle, the Kentucky Republican is taking a notably tougher tone, leading colleagues to wonder about his role as the debate unfolds.

    Read more
  • The Military Knows It Has A Morality Problem

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    It has not been a good year for America’s armed forces. David Petraeus’s extramarital affair dominated headlines; 25 instructors are under investigation for systematic sexual abuse of cadets at Lackland Air Force Base; and a rash of senior officers—at the rank of colonel or higher—have been reprimanded for serious misconduct. Last month, Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote to all four-star generals and flag officers asking for institutional soul-searching. Has the military’s behavior, he seemed to be asking, threatened the “sacred trust” among top officers, the men and women they lead, and the American people? “I know you share my concern when events occur that call that trust into question,” Dempsey wrote in the memo obtained by National Journal. “We must be alert to even the perception that our Nation’s most senior officers have lost their way.”

    Read more
  • Hillary Clinton's Exit Plan For Syria's Assad

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Secretary of state urges end of President Bashar Assad's reign amid worry of chemical warfare.

    Watch more
  • ANALYSIS: Senate's First African American Republican Tea Party Member?

    By Amy Walter, Elizabeth Hartfield and Chris Good, ABC News

    The announcement that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) was resigning at the beginning of 2013, gave political junkies - and plenty of SC politicians - an unexpected early Christmas gift.

    Read more