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 03, 2013

  • 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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  • Three Friends of Bombing Suspect Arrested

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • Obama Plays for Time to Avoid 'Red Line'

    By Doyle McManus. Los Angeles Times

    Barack Obama really, really does not want to get tangled up in Syria. 

    For almost a year, Obama's secretaries of State — first Hillary Rodham Clinton, now John Kerry — have pressed the president for more aid to the insurgents who are fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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  • President Backs F.B.I. Handling of Boston Suspect in ’11

    By Peter Baker and Michael S. Schimdt, The New York Times

    President Obama offered his support Tuesday for the F.B.I.'s handling of a Russian intelligence tip about a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, even as the nation’s intelligence chief announced a review of whether more could have been done to thwart the attack.

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  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte Becomes Focus of Gun-Control Groups After Voting Against Background Checks

    By Ed O'keefe, The Washington Post

    The contentious political fight over gun control moved into the White Mountains of New Hampshire on Tuesday as gun-control activists began to focus on Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) as a prime target in their effort to revive their push for stricter gun laws.

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  • White House to Name Wheeler to Be Chairman of U.S. FCC

    By Julianna Goldman and Todd Shield, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama will name Tom Wheeler, a top campaign fundraiser and former leader of wireless- and cable-industry groups, to head the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

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Apr 30, 2013

  • Female DNA Found on Boston Bomb Pieces

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Kelly Ayotte in Focus as NRA and Anti-Hun Groups Mobilize

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Whether the Senate ever reconsiders gun-control legislation could be decided this week as groups pushing for stricter gun laws plan to mobilize supporters here and in other states with senators who recently voted against a bipartisan plan to expand the national gun background check program.

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  • Flights of Fancy

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Before I go on vacation, I work a little harder. It makes me feel like I deserve the break. Charlie Chaplin said if he didn’t write every day, he felt he didn’t deserve dinner. Members of Congress apparently feel the same way. Before they went on recess this past week, they were hard at work on their most sustained long-term project: tanking their approval ratings.

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  • How Did Obama Do in His First 100 Days?

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • Why Both the Dems and the GOP Now Think Voters Prefer Female Candidates

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    In the two-year cycle of the political calendar, it is candidate-recruitment season—the time when Washington operatives fan out across the country to size up the political horseflesh. In the months to come, they will meet with scores of state legislators, small-town mayors, community activists, and upstanding business owners, gauging which ones might have what it takes to run for a House or Senate seat, or for governor or state treasurer. These political scouts will take many qualities into account, from life story to speaking ability to baby-kissing skills. But they will be looking, in particular, for a few good women.

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