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 07, 2013

  • New Worries for Democrats on Health Law

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    As the administration struggles to put in place the final, complex piece of President Obama’s signature health care law, an endeavor on a scale not seen since Medicare’s creation nearly a half-century ago, Democrats are worried that major snags will be exploited by Republicans in next year’s midterm elections.

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  • Some Republicans Signal Willingness to Revive Gun Debate

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    The push for stricter gun laws may return to the forefront of the congressional agenda in the coming weeks as at least two Republican senators who voted against a bipartisan proposal to expand the national gun background check system have approached Democrats about possibly restarting debate on the issue, according to senior Senate aides familiar with the talks

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  • What’s Changed in the Fight for New Gun Laws

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Gun-control groups scored modest public relations victories last week as they engaged senators of both parties who voted against a bipartisan plan to expand the national gun background-check system. Activists pushed senators to explain their votes in public settings in their home states, part of a new campaign to keep the issue of gun-control alive as long as necessary — which could mean the midterm elections in 2014.

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  • The Heritage Foundation’s Argument on Immigration is Really About High School

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    The Heritage Foundation is out with a new report contending that illegal immigration imposes huge costs on U.S. taxpayers. You could easily read it as a treatise on Why Every American Kid Should Finish High School (And Then Keep Going).

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  • U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cyber Theft In China

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    American companies that do business with China make good money. They also lose a lot of money there to cyberthieves, who routinely hack into the computers of the U.S. firms and steal their trade and technology secrets.

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  • U.S. Directly Blames China’s Military for Cyberattacks

    By David Sanger, The New York Times

    The Obama administration on Monday explicitly accused China’s military of mounting attacks on American government computer systems and defense contractors, saying one motive could be to map “military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis.”

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  • Pentagon Assault Officer Charged With Sexual Battery

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    The man in charge of Air Force sexual-assault prevention and response was arrested.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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May 03, 2013

  • Boston Suspects Had Plotted July 4 Attack, Investigators Say

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

     

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.”

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  • 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.

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May 02, 2013

  • Friends of Boston Bomb Suspect to Stay in Custody

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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