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!

Jan 25, 2013

  • G.O.P. Mulls a Strategy From Obama’s Playbook

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    As Republican leaders gathered here on Thursday to consider how to rebuild their party, President Obama was at the center of the conversation. But the sharp criticism directed at him was replaced by something new: envy over his campaign.

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  • North Korea Threatens More Nuclear Tests, Warns U.S.

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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Jan 24, 2013

  • Hillary Clinton Testifies Before Congress

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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  • Benghazi Hearing: A Rollout for 2016 Contenders?

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    It only took 48 hours after a presidential inauguration for the political discourse to shift into animated chatter about the next president, or at least conjecture about the candidates who might want the job.

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  • House Passes Short-Term Debt-Limit Extension

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The U.S. House approved, 285-144, a bill to suspend the nation's $16.4 trillion debt ceiling through May 18 to avert a U.S. default on its legal obligations and buy Washington more time to negotiate budget priorities.

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  • Ryan Says GOP Won’t Back Down on Spending Cuts

    By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    As House Republicans prepared to vote Wednesday on a plan to suspend the debt limit, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan made clear that the party is in no way abandoning its uncompromising approach to the budget battle with President Obama.

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  • GOP Plots Path Back to Power

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    With President Obama’s second inauguration still ringing in their ears, Republican national party leaders are hunkering down for three days of soul-searching.

    The presidential election was the toughest, but not the last indignity. Congressional Republicans were backed into a corner during the negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff and forced to accept tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. Still seeking leverage, GOP leaders are backing off a showdown over the debt ceiling. At Monday’s swearing-in, President Obama stuck it to the opposition party by laying out an unapologetically liberal agenda for the next four years.

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  • After Investigation Clears Allen, White House to Proceed with NATO Nomination

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    The White House said Wednesday that it would move forward with the nomination of Gen. John R. Allen as the top NATO commander now that he has been cleared of wrongdoing in connection with a series of e-mails with a Florida socialite.

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Jan 23, 2013

  • House Gears Up to Vote on Temporary Debt Ceiling Hike

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    House Republicans are scheduled to vote Wednesday to extend the nation's $16.4 trillion debt limit as the opening salvo in a renewed battle this year to pass a federal budget and reduce the debt.

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  • In New Term, First Year Is Crucial for Obama Agenda

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    The Constitution may promise President Obama another four years in the White House, but political reality calls for a far shorter time frame: he has perhaps as little as a year to accomplish his big-ticket goals for a second term.

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  • Democrats Grumbling About Obama Lobbying Shop

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Even as Democrats relish President Obama’ second inauguration, some party leaders are worried about whether the campaign’s decision to form its own advocacy group will hamstring future generations of Democratic candidates.

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  • House to Vote Wednesday on Plan to Suspend Debt Limit Until May

    By Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman, The Washington Post

    House Republicans are advancing a novel plan to suspend enforcement of the federal debt limit through May 18, a move that would lift the threat of a government default and relieve the air of crisis that has surrounded their budget battle with President Obama.

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  • Obama's Big Risk: The Words He Didn't Say

    By John F. Harris and Alexander Burns, Politico

    Barack Obama’s foes, in candid moments, will often acknowledge that his most impressive trait is self-confidence. He has a sense of his own destiny, and an inner poise to keep focused on it even amid setback and distraction.

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Jan 22, 2013

  • Obama’s Political Speech

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    In 2009, Barack Obama’s inauguration was a civil rights turning point. In his 2013 inaugural address, he sang the song of America's civil rights progress. He talked about how the growing support for the rights of women, African-Americans, and gays affirmed the essential promise in the Declaration of Independence. At a time when Washington seems so tiny you could fit it into your pocket, he asked everyone to look up from their Twitter feed to see how much had changed around them.

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  • Obama Speech Reveals a Different Leader

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    President Obama has never lacked for confidence, but rarely has that attribute been on display as clearly as on Monday in an inaugural address that underscored the distance he has traveled after four contentious years in office.

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  • Obama Offers Liberal Vision: ‘We Must Act’

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Barack Hussein Obama ceremonially opened his second term on Monday with an assertive Inaugural Address that offered a robust articulation of modern liberalism in America, arguing that “preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”

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  • Political Tensions Set Aside for Bipartisan Luncheon

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Partisan rancor presides over Washington, but for a few fleeting hours on Inauguration Day, bipartisan comity takes over as official Washington breaks bread — literally, as Vice President Biden would say — for the inaugural luncheon held for more than a century.

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  • One for the History Books

    By Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair

    It wasn’t quite the same as four years ago.

    Then, I was so intimidated by the giant crowds that I walked all the way from Georgetown to my seat at the West Front of the Capitol. Today, I drove to Union Station, three blocks away, and found a spot in the parking garage, which can be tough to do on an ordinary weekday.

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  • VP Biden on Relationship with Pres. Obama: "We're Totally Simpatico."

    With Gloria Borger, CNN

    CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger sat down for an exclusive interview with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House. In his first network interview since the election, Vice President Biden spoke with Borger about the administration’s key agenda items in the second term, his relationship with the president and his role going forward.

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Jan 18, 2013

  • Obama’s First Term: A Romantic Oral History

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Four years ago, on the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, this magazine devoted nearly an entire issue to a photo essay, “Obama’s People.” The photographs, 52 of them, depicted a team arriving on a wave of hope despite inheriting an economy in trouble, a collapsing auto industry, two wars and a continuing terrorist threat.

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