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!

Mar 26, 2013

  • Same-sex Marriage Takes Center Stage at SCOTUS

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Now in Defense of Gay Marriage, Bill Clinton

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    He had just flown across the country after an exhausting campaign day in Oregon and South Dakota, landing at the White House after dark. But President Bill Clinton still had more business before bed. He picked up a pen and scrawled out his name, turning a bill into law.

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  • Obama Expects April Senate Debate on Immigration

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    With an eye on the calendar while lawmakers are out of town for two weeks, President Obama on Monday used a White House ceremony welcoming 28 new U.S. citizens as a backdrop to urge Congress to take up immigration reform legislation next month.

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  • Rand vs. Rubio

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    The fascination with Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio is understandable. Both are young and ambitious Republicans in a party looking for its next leader. They are charismatic risk-takers who can talk to the media beyond just Fox News. Also alliteration may be destiny. Headline writers cannot resist writing Rand and Rubio combination. (See examples, here, here, here, here, and above.) Both men are also considering running for president.

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Mar 25, 2013

  • Gay marriage fight goes to the Supreme Court

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Senate Passes First Budget in Four Years

    By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    The Democrat-controlled Senate approved its first budget blueprint in four years early Saturday, a political milestone that capped months of GOP criticism and set the stage for direct negotiations with the Republican-controlled House.

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  • 'Sequester' Causing Pain -- to Congress

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Think the automatic budget cuts Congress ordered at the beginning of March — the so-called sequester — haven't caused any pain yet?

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  • Obamacare Is a Prescription for a Democratic Headache in 2014

    By Beth Reinhard and Alex Roarty, National Journal

    President Obama’s health care law—a killer issue in 2010 but an afterthought among voters in 2012—will face another round of attacks in 2014 as its thorniest parts go into effect, potentially supplying Republicans fresh ammunition in their war against "Obamacare" and creating renewed problems for a plethora of vulnerable Democrats.

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  • U.S. and Afghans Reach Deal on Bagram Prison Transfer

    By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

    After months of delays and recriminations by American and Afghan officials, the Pentagon announced Saturday that a deal had been reached to transfer control of Bagram Prison to the Afghan government.

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  • Martha Raddatz Answers ‘This Week’ Viewer Questions

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    1) Travis Stinger Williams: You are awesome! Do you recognize your own awesomeness?

    Raddatz: “I do not consider myself remotely awesome! But my job at ABC News is pretty awesome and so are the people I meet and the places I travel. One of the things I don’t do at home is talk a lot about myself or what I do. Even though my kids are both grown now, I would much rather hear about what they are doing than what I have done. It helps keep me grounded. I suspect you would find me pretty down-to-earth despite all the trappings of TV career! But, your ‘awesome’ comments will secretly make my day! So thanks!”

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Mar 22, 2013

  • Republicans Today Can Learn Lessons From the Democrats’ Past. But Will They?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus deserves credit for launching a reclamation project for his beleaguered party.

    The report by the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project lays bare the depth of the problems of a party that has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections and that is on the wrong side of the demographic forces that are changing the country.

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  • How Not to Woo Republicans

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    To woo your enemy, do not drop an ox in his soup. That isn’t an ancient maxim, but the idea behind it is so self-evident, I don't need to find Sun Tzu’s version to know it’s true. When you are trying to build trust with someone who does not trust you, don't give them new reasons not to trust you.

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  • Republicans Admit They Have Problems, But Can They Fix Them?

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    They say that the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. The RNC, with the release of their 100 page critical examination of their failures in the 2012 election, has taken that big step. More important, the GOP doesn't simply address why they lost in 2012, they also admit that they may continue to lose in the future unless they make some changes.

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  • Congress Turns to Domestic Policy After Budget Battles

    By Susan Davis and Jackie Kucinich, USA Today

    A brief reprieve in the fiscal battles between President Obama and a divided Congress will allow two contentious and politically divisive domestic issues — guns and immigration — to take center stage in the national debate this spring.

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  • Pentagon May Take Over CIA's Drone Program

    With Tom Gjelten and Steve Inskeep, NPR

    The Obama administration is taking steps to put the CIA's drone program under Pentagon control. The CIA has been covertly using drones to target and kill suspected terrorists. Putting the program under Pentagon control would make it more transparent and legally restricted.

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  • My Iraq War

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    My war began a decade ago on a bluff in Kuwait, on the far-western flank of the U.S. invasion force. Spread out on the desert floor below was the 3rd Infantry Division’s “heavy metal”—tanks and armored fighting vehicles—to spearhead the attack. At dusk on March 20, 2003, the artillery brigade opened up on the nearby Iraqi border posts. Muzzle flashes flickered across the dark desert landscape like lightning in a squall; the distant thunder of impact sounded the approach of an angry giant. The next morning, as we drove past a smoldering checkpoint, the soldier next to me, Maj. Joe Samek, gazed out the window of our Humvee at the losing end of “shock and awe.” “You know,” he said, “this is the first time I’ve been in a foreign country uninvited.”

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  • Veteran Iraq War Reporters Reflect 10 Years On

    By Ibrahim Balkhy, PBS Newshour

    For the journalists covering the Iraq war, the experience was in many ways unlike any other war. If you were part of the invasion -- which began this week 10 years ago -- it often meant being "embedded" with the American military for weeks, with your gas mask never more than an arm's length away.

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Mar 21, 2013

  • Palestinians Seek U.S. Statehood Turnabout From Obama

    By Julianna Goldman & Jonathan Ferziger, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama arrived in the West Bank today to see firsthand if Palestinian leaders still angry over his rejection of their United Nations statehood bid can be persuaded to renew peace talks with Israel.

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  • Will Not Have Government Shutdown

    A bill to fund the government through September 30 passed in the Senate, reports CNBC's John Harwood.

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  • Politicians and Gay Marriage: Profiles in Calculation

    By Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman and John F. Harris, Politico

    When historians write the story of America’s cultural revolution on gay marriage, March of 2013 may well get its own chapter — the month when the political balance on this issue shifted unmistakably from risky to safe.

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