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

  • 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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  • 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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