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!

Apr 25, 2013

  • Bush Library in Dallas Opens with Rare Presidents Club Reunion

    By Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, TIME

    Presidential libraries are the workshops where legacies can be polished and memories can be modified, and so the living members of The Presidents Club take them very seriously. Which is why five presidents will meet for only the second time today at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

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  • Obama’s Delicate Task at Bush Library Event

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama has left little mystery about how he views his predecessor. “The failed policies of George W. Bush” wiped away a budget surplus and “squandered the legacy” of bipartisan foreign policy. Mr. Bush put two wars “on a credit card,” led the country away “from our values” and “crashed the economy.”

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  • What We’ve Learned About George W. Bush Since He Left Town

    By John F. Harris and James Hohmann, Politico

    The one duty we owe to history, said Oscar Wilde, is to rewrite it.

    Four years after leaving office, the history of George W. Bush’s presidency is being rewritten — ever-so-slowly, and not yet in ways that fundamentally challenge popular understandings of the man and his tenure.

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  • Obama Gets Peek at His Future as a Past President

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    If anyone needs a reminder about the arc of the modern presidency, tell them to pay attention to the salutes, solace and, yes, the sawbucks reeled in and offered up in two Texas cities during a single 24-hour period this week.

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  • Dems, GOP Talk Up Deficit Reduction, But Don't Act

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Liberals' loud objections to White House proposals for slowing the growth of huge social programs make it clear that neither political party puts a high priority on reducing the deficit, despite much talk to the contrary.

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  • Boehner-Led Cost-Cutting Saving Millions in the House

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The House of Representatives will spend 15% less on its own operations this year than it did three years ago under a cost-cutting effort launched by Speaker John Boehner that is on pace to save taxpayers more than $400 million by the end of this year.

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  • The Week That Kicked Off The Battle For The Senate

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

    Stop me if you've heard this one before: Open Senate seats coupled with vulnerable Democrats seeking re-election, present Republicans with opportunities to take back control of the upper chamber, if only they can avoid shooting themselves in the foot in the process.

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Apr 24, 2013

  • Boston Bombing Raises Intelligence Failure Concern

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Clues Suggest Boston Suspects Took A Do-It-Yourself Approach

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    As investigators look into the Boston Marathon bombings, one crucial question is whether the suspects, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, acted alone or had help. The clues might be found in the bombs used.

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  • Napolitano: Immigration Reforms Would Have Helped Track Boston Bombing Suspect

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Proposed changes to the nation’s immigration laws would have made it easier to track one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings before the attack, the nation’s homeland security chief said Tuesday.

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  • How Republicans Can Win Over Their Party on Immigration

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    It’s a combination of charm and fear tactics. Republican defenders of an immigration overhaul are talking up their ability to write into law a tough enforcement strategy.

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  • As Manager-in-Chief, Obama Blamed for FAA Woes

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    The White House predicted last year that frustrations spawned by airline traffic delays would grab the public’s attention and force Congress to correct the misshapen results of lopping through federal budgets with a guillotine.

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  • Sen. Baucus Retirement Reverberates in Montana and D.C.

    By Susan Davis and Martha T. Moore, USA Today

    A surprise retirement announcement Tuesday by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who faced a potentially tough re-election next year, has started a succession scramble in both Montana and on Capitol Hill.

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  • Baucus Retirement Opens Way for Sweeping Legislative Changes

    By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane, The Washington Post

    Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

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Apr 23, 2013

  • With Civilian Charges, Obama Renews Terror Debate

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Within hours of authorities apprehending a 19-year-old Boston college student Friday as a suspected terrorist, President Obama used the words “justice” and “intelligence” to describe the government’s pursuit of facts and its responsibility to protect the public.

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  • Obama Confident Judicial System Can Handle Boston Bombing Suspect

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama believes the civilian justice system can handle cases of domestic terrorism and supports the decision to try the Boston Marathon bombing suspect in federal court, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

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  • Why Obama Couldn’t Turn 90 Percent Into 60 Votes

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    In the aftermath of the defeat of gun control legislation in the Senate, the Sunday New York Times offered two very different explanations for the bill’s demise. In a reported piece, the paper's congressional reporter argued that gun control never had a chance to become law in Congress. Despite the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, the structure of the Senate, its partisan makeup, and pressure from gun rights advocates made passage impossible. Then, in the opinion pages, columnist Maureen Dowd argued that it was President Obama's fault the gun bill didn't pass given that 90 percent of the public supported it.

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  • In Gun Bill Defeat, a President Who Hesitates to Twist Arms

    By Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

    Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, asked President Obama’s administration for a little favor last month. Send your new interior secretary this spring to discuss a long-simmering dispute over construction of a road through a wildlife refuge, Mr. Begich asked in a letter. The administration said yes.

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  • As Bush Library Opening Puts His Presidency Back in the Spotlight, His Approval Rating is Up

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    George W. Bush will return to the spotlight this week for the dedication of his presidential library, an event likely to trigger fresh public debate about his eight fateful years in office. But he reemerges with a better public image than when he left Washington more than four years ago.

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Apr 22, 2013

  • Badly wounded Boston Marathon bombing suspect responding to questions

    With Pete Williams, NBC News


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