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 21, 2013

  • Congress Expands Inquiry into IRS Handling of Conservative Groups

    By Christi Parsons and Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times

    Congressional investigators are broadening their inquiry into the Internal Revenue Service's mishandling of groups seeking tax-exempt status, indicating that they plan to examine how the agency dealt with a wide swath of nonprofit applications during the last three years.

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  • Letter to a Young Scandalmonger

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    My Dear Protégé:

    I note in your most recent correspondence that you have used the term “Watergate” in connection with the recent troubles facing The Administration. You take a view popular among our kind that raising the specter of this famous scandal will convince your prey to turn against The One. I would like to counsel you against walking this path.

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  • Obama’s Rating Steady in Face of Controversies, Likely Buoyed By Rising Economic Hopes

    By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, The Washington Post

    Majorities of Americans believe that the Internal Revenue Service deliberately harassed conservative groups by targeting them for special scrutiny and say that the Obama administration is trying to cover up important details about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans last year.

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  • As Rich Gain Optimism, Lawmakers Lose Economic Urgency

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    Washington has all but abandoned efforts to help the economy recover faster — and lawmakers don’t seem worried that voters will punish them for it.

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  • What Services Should Immigrants Get?

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    What are immigrants in the United States entitled to? Tax breaks? Health care? Disability insurance? Food stamps? As the Senate Judiciary Committee wades through a major immigration bill, it is clear that there is no consensus, even among the bill’s sponsors, about how to treat the immigrants who would become legal residents under the legislation.

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May 20, 2013

  • The Second-Term Scandal Plague

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    What is it about presidents' second terms that makes them seem so scandal-ridden? Simple: The iron law of longevity. All governments make mistakes, and all governments try to hide those mistakes. But the longer an administration is in office, the more errors it makes, and the harder they are to conceal.

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  • Obama’s Trust-In-Government Deficit

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Whatever else happens as a result of the multiple controversies that have engulfed the administration, one thing is clear: President Obama has failed to meet one of the most important goals he set out when he was first elected, which was to demonstrate that activist government could also be smart government.

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  • GOP Ponders How to Capitalize on Obama's Woes

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The scandals dogging President Barack Obama are a political gift to Republicans. But it’s unclear how Republicans can best capitalize on Democrats’ woes, legislatively or politically.

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  • IRS Scandal Continues to Pressure White House

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • Chinese Hackers Resume Attacks on U.S. Targets

    By David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, The New York Times

    Three months after hackers working for a cyberunit of China’s People’s Liberation Army went silent amid evidence that they had stolen data from scores of American companies and government agencies, they appear to have resumed their attacks using different techniques, according to computer industry security experts and American officials.

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May 17, 2013

  • With IRS Defanged, Politics Can Run Rampant

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    One of the most perverse results of the IRS's lame, overzealous -- and possibly criminal -- behavior in looking into the tax-exempt applications of assorted advocacy groups is this: They're a lot safer from scrutiny today than they were yesterday.

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  • President On The Defensive

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • Who is IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel?

    By Ed O’Keefe and Josh Hicks, Washington Post

    President Obama tapped Daniel Werfel on Thursday to serve as the new acting administrator of the scandal-plagued Internal Revenue Service, succeeding Steven T. Miller, who resigned under pressure Wednesday.

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  • Seib & Wessel: President Obama’s Awful Week

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

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  • Obama's No-Magic Metaphor: Useful for Syria Too

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Presidential history is dazzling in those moments when it time-travels in unexpected ways. Take Syria … and “magic.”

    President Obama, standing in a spitting rain Thursday in the Rose Garden with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, lamented to reporters that the escalating civil war in Syria remains a giant headache for every leader who wants to see it end.

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  • Obama Responds to Criticism With 'Fix It' Strategy

    By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times

    At a news conference in a rainy Rose Garden on Thursday, President Obama and the Turkish prime minister had weighty matters to discuss — the bloody civil war in Syria, a disastrous Syrian refugee crisis and Turkey's strained relationship with Israel. But before they got too far into that, Obama had something else to say.

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  • What Would Dick Cheney Do?

    By John F. Harris and James Hohmann, Politico

    It took him a day or two to get started, but President Barack Obama this week signaled that he is going to follow the conventional Washington playbook for trying to tamp down scandal.

    He has furrowed his brow, sacked an agency head, pledged transparency and cooperation with official inquiries and piously declared that no one is more troubled than him about any wrongdoing.

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  • Boston Suspect's Handwritten Confession

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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May 16, 2013

  • I Was Promised a Cover-Up

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    I was told there was going to be a cover-up. After reading the 100 pages of emails related to the Benghazi media talking points, I’m hard-pressed to find evidence for the most damning accusations against the president and his staff. If they were involved, they were once again leading from behind.

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  • IRS Commissioner Resigns in Wake of Tax Scandal

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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