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 11, 2013

  • Obama’s Turn in Bush’s Bind

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    If President Obama tuned in to the past week’s bracing debate on Capitol Hill about terrorism, executive power, secrecy and due process, he might have recognized the arguments his critics were making: He once made some of them himself.

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  • Pentagon Goes On The Offensive Against Cyberattacks

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    With the Pentagon now officially recognizing cyberspace as a domain of warfare, U.S. military commanders are emphasizing their readiness to defend the nation against cyberthreats from abroad. What they do not say is that they are equally prepared to launch their own cyberattacks against U.S. adversaries.

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  • How to Name a Mountain After Ronald Reagan

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Chuck Muth imagines a world where Las Vegas tourists could take a patriotic break from gambling and Cirque du Soleil for a side trip to Mount Reagan.

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Feb 08, 2013

  • Obama to Democrats: 'We've got a lot of work to do'

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    President Obama asked House Democrats to rally around his second-term agenda Thursday and warned of rocky times ahead as a divided Washington tries to bridge partisan gulfs on the federal budget, immigration laws and U.S. gun laws.

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  • Drones Are Focus as C.I.A. Nominee Goes Before Senators

    By Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, The New York Times

    Engaging a high-ranking Obama administration official for the first time in an extensive public discussion of the use of drones for targeted killing, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday pressed John O. Brennan, President Obama’s nominee for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, about the secrecy of the strikes, their legal basis and the reported backlash they have produced in Pakistan and Yemen.

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  • Brennan Objects To Use Of Waterboarding In CIA Confirmation Hearing

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    President Obama's nominee to run the CIA has his confirmation hearing Thursday afternoon. The hearing of White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan comes as lawmakers are studying a memo on drone strikes overseas. Robert Siegel talks to Tom Gjelten.

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  • How the Gun-Control Movement Got Smart

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Here is how advocates of gun control used to talk about their cause: They openly disputed that the Second Amendment conferred the right to own a gun. Their major policy goals were to make handguns illegal and enroll all U.S. gun owners in a federal database. The group now known as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was once known as Handgun Control Inc.; a 2001 book by the executive director of the Violence Policy Center was entitled Every Handgun Is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.

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  • Why Understanding the Gun Control Debate Means Understanding Demographics

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    To understand the peculiar politics of passing gun reform legislation, it’s important to understand the link between gun ownership and demography and the increasingly important role that demography plays in voting behavior.

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Feb 07, 2013

  • America's Secret Drone War

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    The CIA uses a secret base in Saudi Arabia to launch drones throughout the region.

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  • Obama's Pick For CIA Chief To Face Senate Scrutiny

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    John Brennan, President Obama's choice to lead the CIA, can look forward to a grilling Thursday on Capitol Hill. As Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, he has been associated with some controversial policies, including the use of armed drones. Brennan's nomination comes before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and members from both parties have their questions ready.

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  • Sen. Marco Rubio to Give GOP Response Tuesday

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • New Rove Effort Has G.O.P. Aflame

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Their battle with Democrats will have to wait. For now, Republicans have their hands full fighting one another.

    The strategist Karl Rove and his allies are under withering criticism for creating the Conservative Victory Project, their effort to help rebuild the Republican Party and win control of the Senate. Their pledge to take sides in primary races in an effort to pick candidates they see as more electable has set off a fierce backlash from conservative activists.

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  • Hacker Group, Anonymous, Hits Federal Reserve

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

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  • Cuts What the Most Prominent Latina in the U.S. Thinks About Immigration Reform

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is one of the Republican Party’s most prized ambassadors. She is female and Hispanic at a time when recruiting candidates like her is at the top of the Republican agenda.

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Feb 06, 2013

  • Drone Strikes’ Dangers to Get Rare Moment in Public Eye

    By Mark Mazzetti, Robert F. Worth and Scott Shane, The New York Times

    Late last August, a 40-year-old cleric named Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber stood up to deliver a speech denouncing Al Qaeda in a village mosque in far eastern Yemen.

    It was a brave gesture by a father of seven who commanded great respect in the community, and it did not go unnoticed. Two days later, three members of Al Qaeda came to the mosque in the tiny village of Khashamir after 9 p.m., saying they merely wanted to talk. Mr. Jaber agreed to meet them, bringing his cousin Waleed Abdullah, a police officer, for protection.

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  • Obama Urges Short-Term Delay of Sequester Cuts

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Faced with another Washington-created budget deadline, President Obama asked Congress Tuesday to commit to a new, short-term delay of spending cuts set to hit federal programs on March 1.

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  • Obama Urges Congress to Act to Stave Off Cuts

    By Jackie Calmes and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

    President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to quickly pass a new package of limited spending cuts and tax increases to head off substantial across-the-board reductions to domestic and military spending set to begin on March 1, but his appeal for more revenue was dismissed by Republicans.

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  • As Obama Calls For Short-Term Fix to Avert Sequester, CBO Reports Falling Deficits

    By Lori Montgomery and Zachary A. Goldfarb, The Washington Post

    President Obama on Tuesday urged Congress to head off deep automatic spending cuts set to hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies on March 1 and replace them, at least for a few months, with a new debt-reduction package that includes fresh tax revenue.

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  • Tax reform that hits home

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Would you support a tax reform measure that could help reduce the federal deficit, remove a needless distortion in the economy and make the system fairer?

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  • Republicans Try a Softer Focus — On Life Issues

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    After years in which the Republicans’ answer to almost every question was to reduce spending and lower taxes, some of the party’s most influential voices are beginning to suggest that it is time to take a broader — and softer — focus.

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