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!

Apr 26, 2013

  • Doing Nothing in Syria Is Riskier Than Getting Involved

    By James Kitfield

    Should the United States and its allies become directly involved in Syria’s civil war, historians may well look back at Thursday’s announcement that the regime of strongman Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people as an important inflection point. In truth, the Obama administration has already been quietly increasing its assistance to the Syrian rebels for months, as red flags continue to mount indicating that the cost of doing almost nothing about Syria has steadily begun to outweigh the risks of doing more.

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  • White House Says Syria Used Sarin Gas on Its Own People

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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  • Q&A on Assad's WMD Use and the U.S. Response

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    The White House confirmed Thursday that Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria “used chemical weapons on a small scale” in the civil war there, potentially escalating international resolve to end a violent conflict that has displaced 2 million people and killed 70,000 to 80,000 Syrians.

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  • Bush Library Dedication Both a Look Back and a Prologue

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    All the living presidents came together here Thursday to pay tribute to one of their own, and for one brief moment, George W. Bush’s presidency was free of controversy.

    In office, the nation’s 43rd president lived through eight tumultuous years. But as he and dignitaries from around the world joined to dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University, there was no mention of Iraq, no talk of Hurricane Katrina, no reference to the financial collapse that marked his last months in office.

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  • ‘We Stand With You,’ Obama Tells Mourners at Texas Memorial

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    A somber President Obama paid tribute on Thursday to firefighters killed in a spectacular explosion that devastated a small Texas town last week, praising their courage and vowing to help their community recover from a “time of unimaginable adversity.”

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  • Special Interests Shadow Immigration Reform

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    The most important spokesman for the immigration-reform bill in the Senate, Florida Republican Marco Rubio, is promoting a “myth-busting” website. No, the legislation will not offer immigrants free phones. No, illegal immigrants will not be eligible for welfare benefits.

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  • Obama Needs To Let Republicans Win Immigration Battle

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    In the wake of the defeat of gun control legislation, lots of DC-insiders are speculating that immigration reform will meet the same fate. The president doesn't have the juice, they say, to muscle any sort of significant, complex legislation through Congress. That may or may not be true. But, what is clear is that if Obama wants a victory on immigration, he's got to step away from the bully pulpit instead of spending all of his time behind it.

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Apr 25, 2013

  • Bush Library in Dallas Opens with Rare Presidents Club Reunion

    By Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, TIME

    Presidential libraries are the workshops where legacies can be polished and memories can be modified, and so the living members of The Presidents Club take them very seriously. Which is why five presidents will meet for only the second time today at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

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  • Obama’s Delicate Task at Bush Library Event

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama has left little mystery about how he views his predecessor. “The failed policies of George W. Bush” wiped away a budget surplus and “squandered the legacy” of bipartisan foreign policy. Mr. Bush put two wars “on a credit card,” led the country away “from our values” and “crashed the economy.”

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  • What We’ve Learned About George W. Bush Since He Left Town

    By John F. Harris and James Hohmann, Politico

    The one duty we owe to history, said Oscar Wilde, is to rewrite it.

    Four years after leaving office, the history of George W. Bush’s presidency is being rewritten — ever-so-slowly, and not yet in ways that fundamentally challenge popular understandings of the man and his tenure.

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  • Obama Gets Peek at His Future as a Past President

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    If anyone needs a reminder about the arc of the modern presidency, tell them to pay attention to the salutes, solace and, yes, the sawbucks reeled in and offered up in two Texas cities during a single 24-hour period this week.

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  • Dems, GOP Talk Up Deficit Reduction, But Don't Act

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Liberals' loud objections to White House proposals for slowing the growth of huge social programs make it clear that neither political party puts a high priority on reducing the deficit, despite much talk to the contrary.

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  • Boehner-Led Cost-Cutting Saving Millions in the House

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The House of Representatives will spend 15% less on its own operations this year than it did three years ago under a cost-cutting effort launched by Speaker John Boehner that is on pace to save taxpayers more than $400 million by the end of this year.

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  • The Week That Kicked Off The Battle For The Senate

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

    Stop me if you've heard this one before: Open Senate seats coupled with vulnerable Democrats seeking re-election, present Republicans with opportunities to take back control of the upper chamber, if only they can avoid shooting themselves in the foot in the process.

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Apr 24, 2013

  • Boston Bombing Raises Intelligence Failure Concern

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Clues Suggest Boston Suspects Took A Do-It-Yourself Approach

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    As investigators look into the Boston Marathon bombings, one crucial question is whether the suspects, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, acted alone or had help. The clues might be found in the bombs used.

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  • Napolitano: Immigration Reforms Would Have Helped Track Boston Bombing Suspect

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Proposed changes to the nation’s immigration laws would have made it easier to track one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings before the attack, the nation’s homeland security chief said Tuesday.

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  • How Republicans Can Win Over Their Party on Immigration

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    It’s a combination of charm and fear tactics. Republican defenders of an immigration overhaul are talking up their ability to write into law a tough enforcement strategy.

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  • As Manager-in-Chief, Obama Blamed for FAA Woes

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    The White House predicted last year that frustrations spawned by airline traffic delays would grab the public’s attention and force Congress to correct the misshapen results of lopping through federal budgets with a guillotine.

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  • Sen. Baucus Retirement Reverberates in Montana and D.C.

    By Susan Davis and Martha T. Moore, USA Today

    A surprise retirement announcement Tuesday by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who faced a potentially tough re-election next year, has started a succession scramble in both Montana and on Capitol Hill.

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