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!

Aug 13, 2013

  • Joe Biden’s Going to Iowa, too

    By Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

    With all the talk of Hillary Clinton’s political ambitions in the air, Vice President Joe Biden isn’t being outdone: He’s now speaking at Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry in Iowa next month, ABC News has learned.

    San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is already the marquee speaker for the Sept. 15 event, but Biden will deliver a speech after Castro. It was Biden’s idea to attend, people with knowledge of the event said, and he raised it with Harkin.

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  • Orr to Name Group to Oversee Grants as Detroit Gears up for More Fed Funds

    By David Shepherdson, The Detroit News

    Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is working to hire a group to oversee the city’s federal grant money, while federal officials are looking at ways to offer additional aid to the city through grant programs.

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Aug 12, 2013

  • Holder: Some drug Offenders Shouldn't Face Mandatory Minimum Sentences

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    Attorney General Eric Holder is directing federal prosecutors to change they way they file charges for some drug crimes, to reduce the number of convictions for offenses that carry inflexible, mandatory minimum sentences.

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  • Obama Assures Disabled Veterans They Will Get Aid

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    President Obama on Saturday assured thousands of disabled veterans meeting here that while the war in Afghanistan was ending, like the one in Iraq before it, the work of helping the wounded warriors of those conflicts “has only just begun.”

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  • Will Hillary Clinton Be Ready in 2016?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    It’s August 2013. What better time to talk about 2016?

    At this point, Hillary Rodham Clinton has been awarded the Democratic nomination virtually by default and declared the clear favorite to win the general election against her as yet unknown Republican opponent. That’s an overstatement, of course, but just barely.

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  • Are Seniors Souring on the Republican Party?

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    As bad as things get for Republicans -- with women, with minorities, with youths -- there's always been one group they can count on: the old. But now one Democratic pollster sees evidence that even seniors are starting to turn on the GOP.

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  • Why the World Bank Is Taking On Climate Change

    By Coral Davenport, National Journal

    The World Bank, headquartered a block from the White House, was founded after World War II to combat global poverty. But over the past year, fighting climate change has become the bank's new guiding principal, as economic evidence indicates that global warming will be a driving cause of poverty worldwide in the 21st century. The bank has become a big player in climate policy, investing billions annually into climate-related programs—and blocking money from projects such as coal-fired power plants. In a November report, the bank detailed the devastating economic consequences of a global annual temperature increase of 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. In a June study, the bank projected that due to climate change, by the 2030s African countries could lose up 80 percent of cropland and major portions of Bangkok and Vietnam could be flooded. National Journal spoke with Rachel Kyte, the bank's vice president of sustainable development, about the economic impact of climate change.

    NJ: Why is the World Bank now putting so much emphasis on climate change?

    Kyte: We've come to the realization that we cannot achieve our mission, which is to end poverty, unless we slow the rate of climate change. Climate science now shows that we're on course for a 4-degree [Celsius] temperature rise by 2100, that we're going to be 2 degrees warmer by the 2030s. And that's going to have devastating effects on food production, how livable cities are.... It's going to be extraordinarily difficult for the poor, who are the least resilient, to be part of the growth and opportunity story over the next few decades if climate change is unabated.

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Aug 09, 2013

  • Obama to Meet the Press Friday Ahead of Vacation

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Sure, President Obama recently fielded questions from local TV anchors, Latino television interviewers, Jay Leno, The New York Times, and inquisitors using Zillow, the real estate website. But on Friday afternoon, he’ll also answer questions from the White House press corps during what for him is an infrequent solo press conference in the East Room.

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  • Departure of GOP Operatives Could Imperil Debt-Limit Talks

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    With another showdown looming over the national debt, Washington insiders last month received some unsettling news: Rohit Kumar, a Republican aide who has played a key role in warding off disaster, is leaving Capitol Hill.

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  • Lawmakers Weigh Aggressive Tactic on Immigration

    By Laura Meckler and Kristina Peterson, Wall Street Journal

    Last week, the “New Democrat” coalition of centrist lawmakers sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner demanding that he bring an immigration bill to the House floor by the end of September. If he doesn’t, they said, they will introduce their own bill.

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  • Campaign Aide: 'Holding my Nose' to Work for McConnell

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Jesse Benton, campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is under fire after a conservative activist released an audio recording of a conversation with Benton in which he expresses personal distaste for running the Kentucky Republican's re-election effort.

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  • The War ON Women Vs. The War FOR Women

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    National Republicans have launched the latest salvo in the gender gap wars. Using the Anthony Weiner/Bob Filner scandals as ammunition, Republican groups have been carpet-bombing my email box daily.

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Aug 08, 2013

  • Ties Fraying, Obama Drops Putin Meeting

    By Peter Baker and Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times

    President Obama on Wednesday canceled next month’s Moscow summit meeting, ending for now his signature effort to transform Russian-American relations and potentially dooming his aspirations for further nuclear arms cuts before leaving office.

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  • Snowden Saga Sparks Low for U.S.-Russia Relations

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman reports on the impact of Edward Snowden on U.S.-Russia relations and differences beyond his asylum causing a rift between the two nations. She speaks on Bloomberg Television's “In The Loop.”

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  • Obama, Before a Military Audience, Vows to End Across-the-Board Cuts

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    President Obama stood at this desert base on Wednesday before nearly 3,000 Marines, sailors and their families — and a captive audience of two Republican adversaries from Congress — and vowed that he would fight to end across-the-board budget cuts that have shaken the military.

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  • Luis Gutierrez: Immigration reform activist and Spanish TV star

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    All summer long, Rep. Luis Gutierrez has been drawing sizable and enthusiastic crowds at immigration rallies nationwide. From California to Nevada to Florida, the congressman from Chicago is received like a rock star: People cheer when he enters the room; they pump their fists and stomp their feet. And when he’s finished speaking, they press forward to get close to him, tugging at his shirt and refusing to leave until he agrees to have his photo taken with them.

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Aug 07, 2013

  • Obama Tells Leno Closure of Embassies Is No Overreaction

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    For a late-night comic Jay Leno certainly covered some serious ground with President Obama on Tuesday evening.

    Mr. Obama, making his 6th appearance on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” and his fourth as president, told his host that the government is not overreacting in locking down nearly 20 diplomatic posts and issuing a worldwide travel warning after intercepted electronic conversations raised concerns of terrorist attacks abroad.

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  • In Arizona, Obama Touts Housing Rebound

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    In a state stomped by the 2008 financial crisis, President Obama sounded upbeat Tuesday when he announced that "our housing market is beginning to heal."

    The White House billed the president’s speech this week at a Phoenix high school as another in a series of economic addresses aimed at the middle class. The timing took advantage of Congress’ month-long August recess and anticipated a partisan collision this fall with the Republican-controlled House over the budget, the nation’s soon-to-expire borrowing authority, and the uncertain fate of the president’s legislative wish list, including immigration reform.

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  • New York Mayor Bloomberg: Detroit is Warning to Every U.S. City

    By David Shepardson, Detroit News

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said every U.S. city needs to heed the lesson of Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing and urged cities to diversify their economies.

    “Avoiding the hard choices is how Detroit went bankrupt. And it’s the road to ruin for any city,” Bloomberg said in a speech Tuesday in New York. “I believe that the Detroit experience holds lessons for every American city — and that we have an obligation to protect our future by examining those lessons.”

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  • FBI Says Economic Data is Vulnerable

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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