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!

May 06, 2013

  • Syria Says Alleged Israeli Attack 'Opens Door to All Possibilities'

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Syria's information minister warns of retaliation after air strikes destroyed military targets.

    Watch more
  • Attacks Fuel Debate Over U.S.-Led Effort

    By David Sanger, The New York Times

    The apparent ease with which Israel struck missile sites and, by Syrian accounts, a major military research center near Damascus in recent days has stoked debate in Washington about whether American-led airstrikes are the logical next step to cripple President Bashar al-Assad’s ability to counter the rebel forces or use chemical weapons.

    Read more
  • GOP Rifts Exposed in South Carolina

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    The challenges facing the Republican Party as it heads into the elections of 2014 and 2016 were on stark display here this weekend as South Carolina Republicans gathered for their annual convention, an event that revealed a party in the throes of some internal strife.

    Read more
  • America's Jobs Report: Not Swooning, Not Soaring

    By Greg Ip, The Economist

    WILL America be fourth time lucky? A better-than-expected jobs report for April has soothed fears that the economy was swooning, as it has in the spring or summer of each of the last three years. The relief sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average over 15,000 and the S&P 500 over 1,600 for the first time.

    Read more
  • Q. & A. With David Axelrod

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    Two years after leaving the White House, David Axelrod continues to advise President Obama, even as he begins work on his memoir and oversees a new Institute of Politics at his alma mater, the University of Chicago. This week, he sat down with John Harwood of The New York Times and CNBC to discuss his role in Mr. Obama’s career, the president’s setback on guns, and America’s shifting political landscape, before an audience at Washington College in Chestertown, Md. What follows is a condensed, edited portion of their discussion.

    Read More

May 03, 2013

  • Boston Suspects Had Plotted July 4 Attack, Investigators Say

    With Pete Williams, NBC News


    Watch more
  • Boston Plotters Said to Initially Target July 4 for Attack

    By Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt, Michael S. Schmidt and Scott Shane

    The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings told F.B.I. interrogators that he and his brother considered suicide attacks and striking on the Fourth of July as they plotted their deadly assault, according to two law enforcement officials.

    Read more
  • What Is a ‘Red Line’ Worth?

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    The United States can’t bluff. That is the consensus inside the White House on the issuing of “red lines,” including President Obama’s publicly declared prohibition against Syria using or transferring its chemical weapons, or Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb.

    Read more
  • GOP Won FAA Battle, Not Bigger Economic Argument

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    Folks in Congress don't agree on much these days, but there's general agreement that the GOP got the better of President Obama and the Democrats on the FAA budget sequester. Many on the left hoped that Republicans would feel a backlash from rushing to fix an issue that caused minor discomfort to the 1 percent, while leaving poor Americans who rely on programs like Head Start and Meals-On-Wheels out in the cold. That hasn't happened, and recent polling suggests that it is unlikely to happen. A Pew poll found the public equally divided on who deserves the blame for FAA budget cuts and airport delays--34 percent blame congressional Republicans while 32 percent say it is the fault of the Obama administration.

    Read more
  • Keeping His Distance

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    You wouldn't stick a medical thermometer in a pork roast to test if it was done, and this simple kitchen rule should apply to presidential evaluations: Use the right thermometer.

    Read more
  • 102 Days Into Term, Obama Fills Out His Cabinet

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    For a president who had months to plan a smooth transition into a second term, Barack Obama has been in no great hurry to fill gaps in his Cabinet. After more than 100 days in office, he finally tidied up that task on Thursday -- and then admonished the Senate to confirm his newest nominees “without delay.”

    Read more
  • Abortion Rights Activists Looking to Hillary Clinton As 2016 Champion

    By Beth Reinhard and Elahe Izadi, National Journal

    Abortion rights activists fuming over President Obama’s opposition to making emergency contraception accessible to women of all ages could have an ally campaigning for the Oval Office in 2016: Hillary Clinton.

    Read more

May 02, 2013

  • Friends of Boston Bomb Suspect to Stay in Custody

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    Watch more
  • Three Friends of Bombing Suspect Arrested

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    Watch more
  • Sweat Like Bill Clinton

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    President Obama was asked at his Monday news conference whether he has the “juice” to get his agenda through Congress. But presidential juice is like the juice at fancy hotels: It comes in a tiny little glass. The framers were very anti-juice. They designed a system that makes it very hard for the president to accumulate a lot of it.

    Read more
  • Why Lindsey Graham's Support for Immigration Reform Isn't Popular in South Carolina

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Avery and Susan Burns don’t like the immigration-reform bill in the U.S. Senate one bit. “People come here illegally, and now we’re giving them the red carpet,” grumbled Avery, a 71-year-old doctor, climbing the steps of the public library on a recent morning.

    His disgust is making him reconsider his support for home-state Sen. Lindsey Graham, the only Republican sponsor of the bill who is up for reelection in 2014. Yet Susan said she’d still vote for Graham because he’s a “strong Republican,” recalling his leadership in former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

    Read more
  • Hillary Clinton to Appear in Beverly Hills for Award and Speech

    By Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times

    In the sort of appearance destined to fan speculation about her presidential aspirations in 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton will speak in Beverly Hills next week at a gala hosted by the Pacific Council on International Policy.

    Read more
  • White House Feels Sequestration Pain in Staff Furloughs

    By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama began experiencing first-hand the effects of across-the-board federal spending cuts as the first wave of White House furloughs kicked in yesterday.

    Read more

May 01, 2013

  • Obama: Second Term Agenda Still on Track

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama on Tuesday tried to invigorate the unfinished business of his second term, while cautiously steering around simmering international events that could divert energy and support he needs for his vulnerable domestic agenda.

    read more
  • Obama Pledges to Renew Efforts to Close Guantanamo Prison

    By Doyle McManus. Los Angeles Times

    President Obama said Tuesday he is renewing efforts to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and will search for members of Congress to help him get it done.

    Read more