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!

Jul 31, 2013

  • Do High-Profile Meals Signal Clinton is Running for President?

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    Hillary Clinton met with Vice President Joe Biden for breakfast on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after she sat down for a private lunch at the White House with President Obama. Does this means she's decided on a White House run?

    Watch more
  • Ted Cruz, Wacko Like a Fox

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Ted Cruz is on a roll.

    The tea party firebrand from Texas has been in the Senate all of seven months, but he's already looking like a strong contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

    Last week, Cruz won a straw poll at a major gathering of the party's conservative wing in Denver with an impressive 45% of the votes, far ahead of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

    Read more

Jul 30, 2013

  • Obama to Call for Business Tax Overhaul in Grand Bargain

    By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama, seeking to offer fresh economic proposals that could pass a gridlocked Congress, will call for a restructuring of business taxes so long as the initial revenue generated goes toward job creation.

    Read more
  • In No Mood for Compromise

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    How does immigration reform pass after a bloody fight over a government shutdown? The White House strategy for the fall relies on back-to-back capitulations from conservative Republicans on the core issues of taxes and spending and immigration. That's bad news for supporters of comprehensive immigration reform. Their issue is going to come up after a deal is reached on the budget, which means passage of comprehensive reform would require the second huge cave by Republican leaders. That’s more spelunking than the system can tolerate.

    Read more
  • A Narrow Border-Security Agreement could Pave the Way for Broad Immigration Reform

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    In mid-May, as most of Congress was consumed with the troubles at the Internal Revenue Service and the Senate was conducting closely watched hearings on a sprawling, contentious immigration reform bill, something remarkable happened in the House Homeland Security Committee.

    Read more
  • Kerry Center Stage in Israel-Palestine Talks Reset

    With Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News Watch more
  • Obama Reassures Leaders on Enforcing Voting Rights

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Days after his administration filed suit against Texas to protect minority voters, President Obama told civil rights leaders and local officials on Monday that the federal government would vigorously enforce voting rights in the country despite a Supreme Court ruling against a core section of a landmark 1965 law, several participants said after a White House meeting.

    Read more
  • The Best Way to Get Rid of Anthony Weiner: Stop Paying Attention to Him

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    I’m not naïve. I get that sex sells. I know the Anthony Weiner saga is buzzy and great for ratings. But, in the end, it’s terrible for those of us who love covering politics, and for the institution of public service itself. Weiner cheapens the thing that we are trying to convince Americans (and in some cases our bosses at news organizations), is so valuable: the role of government in American life. At a time when trust in Washington is at an all-time low, Weiner – and guys like Elliot Spitzer and Bob Filner - are another reminder to Americans about of how incredibly dysfunctional and disconnected government is.

    Read more

Jul 29, 2013

  • How the Obama Campaign Won the Race for Voter Data

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    From the moment Barack Obama took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009, and every day thereafter, his team was always preparing for the 2012 campaign. Everyone said Obama’s 2008 operation had rewritten the book on organizing. But that was just a beginning, a small first step toward what the team envisioned when it began planning the reelection campaign.

    Read more
  • Why Democrats Are Laughing at the Republican Digital Strategy -- And Why They Shouldn't Be

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Phil Musser has spent most of his career in the stodgy Beltway political establishment, from the Bush administration to the Republican Governors Association to advisory posts with the Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney presidential campaigns.


    Read more
  • Interview With President Obama

    By The New York Times

    Following is a transcript of an interview with President Obama conducted by Jackie Calmes and Michael D. Shear of The New York Times. The interview was conducted at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., on July 24, 2013.

    NYT: So we’re here with you, already four years since the recession officially ended. And as your speech sort of laid out, you still have a situation where growth remains slow, income’s is unequal, and a lot of American -- unemployment high -- and a lot of Americans start to worry that this is the new normal. Your intentions aside like you stated them out there in the speech, why shouldn’t we expect that you’re going to leave behind an economy that’s fragile, continued income inequality, and a weakened middle class?

    Read more
  • In Fed Chair Race, Obama's Loyalty to Summers Could Be Key

    By Eamon Javers, CNBC

    The oh-so-subtle behind-the-scenes battle to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve could come down to something as simple as a conference call.

    Read more
  • Why It Finally Makes Political Sense to Talk About Climate Change

    By Coral Davenport, National Journal

    In the summer of 2009, a dozen Democratic members of Congress took a deep breath and put their political futures on the line, voting for historic global-warming legislation President Obama had told them was a top priority. After the bill squeaked through the House, Democrats pleaded with the White House: After taking this risk, they needed Obama to go to bat for them—and the bill—with speeches, campaign appearances, constituent outreach, anything.

    Read more

Jul 26, 2013

  • DOJ Signals State-By-State Approach to Voting Law Changes

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    Watch more
  • For Holder, An Intersection Of The Personal And Political

    By Carrie Johnson, NPR

    Hours before Attorney General Eric Holder announced he would seek new federal powers to protect minority voters in the state of Texas, the country's top law enforcement officer mingled at a Washington event about a topic that hit close to home.

    Read more
  • Obama to Continue Economic Push

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama this afternoon will continue his focus on improving the economy for the middle-class with a stop in Jacksonville, Fla., to call attention to the federal government’s fast-track permitting for port improvements there and in four other cities.

    Read more
  • Boehner Scolds Rep. King for ‘Hateful’ Immigration Comments

    By Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

    House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday scolded a fellow Republican congressman for suggesting that many children of undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers are drug smugglers.

    “There’s no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from elected officials,” Boehner said as he opened his weekly news conference at the Capitol. The sharp words were aimed at Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who stirred controversy earlier this week when he said the children should not be given special legal status because “for everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there” who bring drugs across the border.

    Read more
  • Obama Administration Caught In The Middle On Iran

    With Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran's president has presented the Obama administration with a policy challenge. Rouhani was the most moderate of the presidential contenders, and analysts see improved chances for breaking the impasse over Iran's nuclear program. But Congress is moving in the other direction, enacting even tougher sanctions. The Obama administration seems caught in the middle.

    Listen here
  • Obama’s Summer Swoon. We’ve Been Here Before

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    Obama’s approval ratings are on a slide. Polls out this week from Pew, ABC/Washington Post, McClatchy/Marist and NBC/Wall Street Journal all show the president’s approval ratings lower than they’ve been all year, and in some cases lower than they’ve been since 2011. Polling taken this summer in key battleground states like Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio all show the president upside-down in his job approval/disapproval ratings.

    Read more
  • Hillary Clinton Finds Converts on Capitol Hill

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Hillary Clinton hasn't yet made her intentions known on a 2016 presidential bid, but prominent voices on Capitol Hill are letting her know they stand ready to support her if she runs.

    Read more