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!

Jun 24, 2013

  • Can Democrats Win Back the Deep South?

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    A few weeks ago, municipal elections were held in Mississippi. The state Republican Party concentrated its efforts on four traditional GOP strongholds -- Tupelo, Meridian, Starkville, and the picturesque Gulf Coast burg of Ocean Springs.

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Jun 21, 2013

  • Analysis: At U.S. high court, high anxiety over big cases

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    Chief Justice John Roberts clutched a sheaf of papers when he and his black-robed colleagues ascended the mahogany bench on Thursday for one of the last days of the U.S. Supreme Court term.

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  • Border Deal Greatly Improves Chances for Immigration Bill

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Prospects for the contentious immigration bill that has been working its way through the Senate for months vastly improved Thursday after senators agreed to spend several billion more dollars to fortify the U.S.-Mexico border.

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  • National Polls On Immigration and Guns Don't Tell The Whole Story

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    The president and the press love to cite national polls as the authority on how Americans see the issues. How many times have you heard about the “90 percent of Americans” who support background checks or the “overwhelming majority” who support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?

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  • Congress Kicks the Can

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    It almost seems like distant history now, but it was really just a few short months ago that President Obama and Senate Republicans, spurred by fear of fiscal chaos, did the unthinkable: They went out to dinner and talked civilly about the possibility of a "grand bargain," a compromise that would shrink the deficit through revenue increases and long-term spending cuts.

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  • Bipartisan Senate Group Seeks Deal on Student Loans

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    A bipartisan coalition of senators is working on a compromise to avert an impending July 1 doubling of subsidized Stafford loan interest rates that would affect as many as 7 million college students.

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  • On Nuclear Cuts, a Split Over Whether Senate Backing Is Needed

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Secretary of State John Kerry called Senator Bob Corker on Tuesday to discuss President Obama’s renewed drive for arms control. On that much, at least, the two agree. Exactly what was said, however, has quickly become a point of contention.

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Jun 20, 2013

  • Senators Reach Deal on Border Security Proposals

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Senators have reached an agreement that would almost double the number of federal agents along the U.S.-Mexico border, require construction of 700 miles of border fencing and provide money for aerial drones, according to several Senate aides who said the deal should ensure significant Republican support for an immigration measure that is expected to be approved next week.

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  • House Passes Far-Reaching Bill to Limit Abortions

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The Republican-led House of Representatives approved a far-reaching bill to ban a woman's ability to seek an abortion after 20 weeks on a mostly party-line 228-196 vote Tuesday.

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  • The National Conversation

    This afternoon, NPR Correspondent Tom Gjelten moderates a panel discussion on the topic of cybersecurity in the private and public sectors as part of series at the Wilson Center. Today's event will open with a keynote address from U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano followed by panelists Francis Taylor, Michael Chertoff and Stephen Flynn in conversation. Gjelten will moderate.

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  • Dissent Festers in States That Obama Seems to Have Forgotten

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    You might call North Dakota the antithesis of President Obama’s political base.

    Whites make up 90 percent of its population, which is fewer than one million people and mostly in rural areas. Its proportion of people 65 and over exceeds the national average. There was never a chance that North Dakota would give Mr. Obama its three electoral votes.

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  • Is Rand Paul going mainstream, or vice versa?

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Rand Paul seems to be crossing over to the mainstream — or maybe it’s the other way around.

    When Kentucky’s junior senator arrived in Washington just over two years ago, he appeared destined to inhabit the role of perpetual outlier. But now, he’s in the mix on just about everything that is happening, and is talked about as a credible Republican presidential contender in 2016.

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  • Republican Presidential Prospects Lay Groundwork for Invisible Primary

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

    They swear they're focused on more-immediate projects. They insist a White House campaign is the furthest thing from their minds. But with the 2016 invisible primary well under way, some Republican candidates are already lining up the campaign managers they will turn to if and when they decide to run for president.

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Jun 19, 2013

  • G-8 Meeting Ends With Cordial Stalemate on Syria

    By Jackie Calmes and Stephen Castle, The New York Times

    The United States and leaders of other major industrialized nations on Tuesday papered over differences on Syria and the global economy in statements that summarized their two-day annual summit meeting at a secluded lakeside resort here.

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  • Extending a Hand, Obama Finds a Cold Shoulder Abroad

    By Mark Landler and Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Over porterhouse steak and cherry pie at a desert estate in California earlier this month, President Obama delivered a stern lecture to President Xi Jinping about China’s disputes with its neighbors. If it is going to be a rising power, he scolded, it needs to behave like one.

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  • NSA Says 'Snooping' Works

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • With Clock Ticking, Senate Republicans Working On Immigration Amendments

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Senate Republicans looking for ways to support a series of changes in the nation’s immigration laws are hoping to unveil as early as Wednesday several possible amendments regarding border security, benefits for illegal immigrants and how employers would track a job applicant’s immigration status.

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  • House Passes Far-Reaching Bill to Limit Abortions

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The Republican-led House of Representatives approved a far-reaching bill to ban a woman's ability to seek an abortion after 20 weeks on a mostly party-line 228-196 vote Tuesday.

    Read more
  • The Second-Term Slump

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Barack Obama's poll numbers are sliding. Around Christmastime, his average approval rating, according to RealClearPolitics, was nearly 54 percent, 12 points higher than his average disapproval rating of 42 percent. Now his numbers have flipped. His average approval rating at 46.6 percent is roughly 2 points lower than his disapproval rating at 48.3 percent. If these numbers hold, President Obama is never going to get re-elected.

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Jun 18, 2013

  • Obama and Putin at Odds on Syria, but Want Talks

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    After a two-hour meeting on Monday that left both leaders looking tense and discomfited, President Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, disagreed about how to respond to rising bloodshed in Syria and called only for negotiations between the government and rebels that are given little chance of success

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