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!

Feb 21, 2013

  • White House Tactic for C.I.A. Bid Holds Back Drone Memos

    By Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, The New York Times

    The White House is refusing to share fully with Congress the legal opinions that justify targeted killings, while maneuvering to make sure its stance does not do anything to endanger the confirmation of John O. Brennan as C.I.A. director.

    Read more
  • White House adopts new strategy to safeguard intellectual property

    By Christi Parsons and Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times

    Amid growing evidence that China and other countries are stealing U.S. trade secrets and technology through cyber attacks, the White House announced what it billed as a new strategy Wednesday to protect intellectual property.

    Read more
  • Trade Secret Protection Plan

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    Watch more
  • A More Perfect Poll

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    In the 2012 presidential election, we all thought we were smarter than the pollsters. Conservatives flocked to a site called, whose proprietor reconstituted the polls of major media organizations in proportions better suited to his vision of the American electorate—that is, one with more Republicans in it. Liberals, for their part, elevated to demigod status the statistician and New York Times blogger Nate Silver, who poured those same polls into a meat grinder and produced a neatly encased pronouncement that Barack Obama was overwhelmingly likely to win.

    Read more
  • Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads guilty to fraud

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    Watch more
  • Fed Uneasy About Fueling Credit Bubble

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Watch more
  • Pecking at News Crumbs as Obama Feeds Anchors

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Wednesday at the White House, and not for the first time, I felt like a seagull . . . a flighty, familiar, noisy pest, flapping around the president’s press briefing room, picking up news crumbs from Wichita, Oklahoma City and San Francisco.

    Read more

Feb 20, 2013

  • Alan Simpson Presses for Larger 'Grand Bargain'

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    The bipartisan leaders of a presidential deficit reduction commission, dismayed by the failure of the White House and Congress to reach a deal saving $4-trillion over 10 years, upped the ante today by pressing for an even larger "grand bargain."

    Read more
  • New Deficit Reduction Plan: Is it the Last Straw?

    WSJ's David Wessel explains the likelihood that a new deficit-reduction plan from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles will lead to a budget compromise in Washington.

    Watch more
  • With Cutbacks Days Away, Obama Tries to Pressure G.O.P.

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Days away from another fiscal crisis and with Congress on vacation, President Obama began marshaling the powers of the presidency on Tuesday to try to shame Republicans into a compromise that could avoid further self-inflicted job losses and damage to the fragile recovery. But so far, Republicans were declining to engage.

    Read more
  • Can Obama and Rubio Be Immigration Frenemies?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    President Obama and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, arguably the two most important people in a potential immigration deal, aren’t exactly pals.

    Read more
  • Obama Can't Kick His Legacy Down the Road

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    So let's try to recount why we are where we are. In August 2011, Washington was trying to figure out how to raise the debt ceiling -- so the US might continue to pay its bills -- when a stunt was hatched: Kick the can down the road.

    Read more

Feb 19, 2013

  • Deficit Hawks Simpson and Bowles: Skirt the sequester

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Congress must replace upcoming "dumb" across-the-board budget cuts with targeted spending cuts and sweeping changes to tackle the nation's debt without restricting economic growth, the former co-chairs of President Obama's debt commission say in a revamped bipartisan proposal for fiscal restraint.

    Read more
  • Government Slowly Changes Approach To Whistle-Blowers

    By Carrie Johnson, NPR

    The federal government once considered whistle-blowers a nuisance or worse. But over the past few years, that attitude has slowly started to change. More agencies have been reaching out for tips about fraud and abuse in and outside the government, even if digging through the stacks of complaints can present a challenge.

    Read more
  • Will Higher Taxes on the Rich Derail California’s Economic Comeback?

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    If there’s anyplace in the country where rising tax rates should choke off an economic recovery, it’s California. On top of the federal tax hikes that kicked in last month, the state has just raised income taxes on its wealthiest residents to the highest levels in the nation, a move that conservatives warn will drive millionaires and their companies to other states, taking jobs and growth with them.

    Read more
  • Chinese Army Unit Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S.

    By David E. Sanger, David Barboza and Nicole Perloth. The New York Times

    On the outskirts of Shanghai, in a run-down neighborhood dominated by a 12-story white office tower, sits a People’s Liberation Army base for China’s growing corps of cyberwarriors.

    Read more
  • Chinese Allegedly Tied to Cyber Attacks on US

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    Watch more
  • Obama and Woods Meet for a Round of Golf

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    President Obama and Tiger Woods will both live a dream on Sunday: playing golf together for the first time.

    Read more

Feb 15, 2013

  • Senate Blocks Hagel Nomination - For Now

    By Susan Davis and David Jackson, USA Today

    Republicans delayed Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel's confirmation Thursday for at least one week, citing concerns that senators have not had enough time to review his nomination.

    Read more
  • Obama Holds Forth in Google Chat, Rips Congress

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama blasted senators Thursday for orchestrating a filibuster to block the confirmation of his embattled Pentagon nominee, former Sen. Chuck Hagel. He accused lawmakers of being overtly political in continuing to demand documents about the attacks in Benghazi. And he said some members of Congress are motivated by re-election and won’t tackle climate change.

    Read more