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!

Nov 01, 2013

  • In Pelosi, Obama Sees Vital Ally for Securing Legacy

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama has worked alongside Nancy Pelosi for five years, but his appreciation for her has gone from polite blandishments to something akin to rediscovery.

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  • Tension Between Tea Party, Establishment Causes Struggle

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    A year after losing a presidential race many Republicans thought was winnable, their party arguably is in worse shape than before. The GOP is struggling to control tensions between its tea party and establishment wings and watching approval ratings sink to record lows.

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  • The Cheneys Will Stop at Nothing to Get Liz Elected to the Senate

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    When Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president, decided to run against a sitting Republican senator in Wyoming, her target, Mike Enzi, pleaded, “I thought we were friends.”

    But if Enzi thought his long relationship with the Cheneys might ensure a gentle, collegial contest of ideas, it’s increasingly clear he thought wrong. The Cheney clan has undertaken a scorched-earth campaign against the well-liked, low-key conservative and his allies, demonstrating a seemingly limitless appetite for conflict—and leaving innocent bystanders as stunned casualties in their wake.

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Oct 31, 2013

  • Obama’s Health-Care Promise That People Can Keep Their Insurance Comes Back to Haunt him

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    It is a catchy sound bite that has turned around to bite the hand that fed it to the country: If you like the health insurance you have, you can keep it.

    President Obama’s credibility has taken a hit over that line, which he tossed off in various versions during countless campaign stops and policy speeches.

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  • Obamacare, Shutdown Hurt Obama's Standing: NBC News/WSJ Poll

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    The troubled rollout of the new health-care law and recent government shutdown have exacted a major toll on President Barack Obama's standing, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has found.

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  • Tap on Merkel Provides Peek at Vast Spy Net

    By Mark Mazzetti and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

    It was not obvious to the National Security Agency a dozen years ago that Angela Merkel, a rising star as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, was a future chancellor of Germany.

    But that did not matter.

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  • Budget Talks Set Low Expectations For A Deal

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Lawmakers tasked with finding a budget agreement to head off the next fiscal confrontation set low expectations at their first public meeting on Wednesday.

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  • As Talks Open, Democrats Show Signs of Division

    By Jackie Calmes and Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times

    President Obama and congressional Democrats, astonishingly united through recent fiscal fights with Republicans, were showing some divisions as budget negotiations opened on Wednesday between the House and Senate to avert another crisis in coming months.

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  • Three Republicans Back Democratic Immigration Bill In House

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    A Democratic bill in the House to overhaul the nation's immigration laws is picking up Republican support, though well short of the votes needed to pass the measure.

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Oct 30, 2013

  • Intelligence Officials Defend Spying On Allies

    With Tom Gjelten, NPR

    U.S. intelligence officials are defending their surveillance operations carried out in allied countries. Testifying on Capitol Hill, they said reports that the NSA intercepted phone calls of European citizens are "completely false" and based on a misreading of the leaked documents on which the reports were based. They did not deny monitoring the communications of European leaders, saying such intelligence-gathering is normal.

  • Obamacare's 'Whole Truth'

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • Where the Buck Stops, Some See a Bystander

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama finds himself under fire on two disparate fronts these days, both for the botched rollout of his signature health care program and for the secret spying on allied heads of state. In both instances, his explanation roughly boils down to this: I didn’t know.

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  • It Gets Better

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    During the public debate over health care in 2009 and 2010, no matter how tightly you may have shut your door, there was one piece of information it was impossible to avoid: the president's promise that if you liked your doctor and your health care plan you would be able to keep it. So it was a surprise to many people to get a letter like the one Independence Blue Cross sent its customers weeks ago. It said that as a result of the Affordable Care Act, "your current plan will be discontinued effective January 1, 2014, and you will need to select a new plan by the end of December to avoid any interruption in coverage."

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  • Should Congress yield control of the debt limit?

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    In the wake of the latest confrontation that pushed the nation to the brink of financial default, lawmakers are posing a management question: Can we continue to trust Congress with raising the nation's debt ceiling?

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  • Does Obama Still Have Faith in Government?

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    Irony is a part of life, the cliché goes. And right now, President Barack Obama is living the part, in a big way: He's the civil libertarian defending an activist drone program. He's the liberal with a spy agency caught eavesdropping on the private conversations of friendly leaders. And he's the high-tech health care reformer whose website got stuck at Go.

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Oct 29, 2013

  • The NSA Spying Uproar: An RCP Primer

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Spying by the National Security Agency on heads of state, including in countries that consider themselves U.S. partners, has European capitals in tizzies -- and demanding explanations from Washington.

    President Obama and his team argued Monday that whatever the United States has been doing with its secret data-gathering, it’s aimed at safeguarding a dangerous world. According to spokesmen, Obama assured German Chancellor Angela Merkel that her phone communications are not and will not be collected going forward (sidestepping comments about past practices). The Wall Street Journal reported Obama was in the dark until recently about U.S. spying on the communications of other heads of state, but ended the practice when he found out.emanding explanations from Washington.

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  • Obama May Ban Spying on Heads of Allied States

    By Mark Landler and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

    President Obama is poised to order the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the leaders of American allies, administration and congressional officials said Monday, responding to a deepening diplomatic crisis over reports that the agency had for years targeted the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

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  • At the Source of the Shutdown, the Economy Falters — and Anger at Barack Obama Runs High

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    Tom Hackett’s life in the meat business was nearly gone by 4 p.m. on Thursday. What remained behind yards and yards of polished glass were a few scattered remnants of his final inventory — a couple of flank steaks, some shrimp, a lonely half a pound of bologna.

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  • Judge Blocks Parts of Texas Abortion Law

    By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

    A federal judge in Texas blocked two key parts of the state’s controversial abortion law Monday, ruling that one part is unconstitutional while another provision imposes an undue burden on women in some instances.

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  • Senate to Vote on Gay Rights Bill by Thanksgiving

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The U.S. Senate will take up a gay rights bill before Thanksgiving, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday.

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