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 19, 2013

  • Obama’s Ratings Tumble After Health-Care Flaws

    By Dan Balz and Peyton M. Craighill, Washington Post

    The flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act has pushed President Obama to the lowest point of his presidency, with dwindling faith in his competence and in many of the personal attributes that have buoyed him in the past, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

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  • War Over Health Care

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • Split on Accord on Iran Strains U.S.-Israel Ties

    By David E. Sanger and Jodi Rudore, The New York Times

    To the Israeli government, the preliminary deal with Iran that the Obama administration is trying to seal this week is a giveaway to a government that has spent two decades building a vast nuclear program. It enshrines the status quo — at a time when the Iranians are within reach of the technical capability to build a bomb — and rewards some unproven leaders with cash and sanctions relief.

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  • Are You a Scott Walker Conservative?

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    If you are a Republican and you like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, then you probably already have your candidate for the 2016 presidential campaign. If you do not like Christie, then your candidate for 2016 is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

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Nov 18, 2013

  • Obama Defends Iran Dealmaking Amid Dispute Over Relief

    By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan & Terry Atlas, Bloomberg News

    The Obama administration is on the defensive days before Iran nuclear negotiations are scheduled to resume in Geneva, as critics in Israel and in the U.S. Congress say Iran would concede too little and gain too much from an easing of international economic sanctions.

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  • Obamacare's Threat to Liberalism

    By Todd Purdum, Politico

    From the moment of his improbable emergence as a presidential contender seven years ago, Barack Obama has always positioned himself as something better than a politician. And he has always presented his goals for progressive change as something bigger than the bare minimum a Democrat might hope for in a country that skews center-right.

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  • Kennedycare

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    in the spring of 1962, President John F. Kennedy launched a bold effort to provide health care for the aged—later to be known as Medicare. It culminated in a nationally televised presidential address from Madison Square Garden, carried on the three television networks. It was a flop. The legislation foundered amid charges that it was an attempt to socialize medicine and a threat to individual liberty—the same charges President Obama encountered over the Affordable Care Act five decades later.

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  • JFK, A Presidency on a Pedestal

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Fifty years after the death of John F. Kennedy, there's no mystery about why his brief presidency remains an object of fascination: It was glamorous, photogenic, and cut short by an assassination that still seems an insoluble puzzle. Compared to the full-color images of Kennedy and his wife on our television screens this month, other figures of his era seem gray.

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  • Upcoming Battle Will Showcase Rising Power of Women in Senate

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    In a further sign of the shifting demographics of Congress, the U.S. Senate this week is poised for the first major policy dispute in recent years spearheaded by the chamber’s growing number of women.

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  • U.S. Tech Firms May Be Feeling Bite From NSA Spying Reports

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    Recent disclosures about NSA surveillance have affected U.S. relations with allies and tainted America's image around the world. Now the fallout seems to be creeping into the U.S. tech sector.

    Cisco Systems, which manufactures network equipment, posted disappointing first-quarter numbers this week and warned that revenues for the current quarter could drop as much as 10 percent from a year ago — partly as a consequence of the NSA revelations.

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Nov 15, 2013

  • Analysis: In Texas courtroom, a battle resumes over race

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    Last June the U.S. Supreme Court faced a question it has wrestled with repeatedly for more than a generation: When may universities consider a student's race in making admissions decisions?

    The justices did not provide an answer. Instead they returned the case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, to the lower court that had previously upheld a University of Texas affirmative action program. They instructed it to rule on whether the university had adequately considered other methods that did not use race, such as those more focused on family income, in its efforts to diversify the student body.

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  • Obama's ACA "Fix" Rests With Insurers, Regulators

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama on Thursday turned to the private health insurance industry for a lifeline, and to the mercies of what he hopes will be a forgiving public.

    It was an about-face of humbling proportions, the sort rarely seen from Obama, and an acknowledgement that the administration’s bungled implementation of the Affordable Care Act created political problems severe enough to transform insurers -- once the bad guys in the administration’s teleplay -- into potential rescuers.

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  • Lawmakers Say Health Care Fix Still Needs Legislation

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Congress may still need to act on a legislative fix to address the cancellation of health care policies affected by the Affordable Care Act, leading lawmakers said Thursday, despite President Obama's announcement that the administration can solve the problem.

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  • ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act’ Spells Trouble for Dozens of Democrats

    By Ed O'Keefe and Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post

    Intense focus on the early troubles of the Affordable Care Act already makes this a no good, very bad week for congressional Democrats, who are torn between supporting the signature domestic achievement of the Obama administration, but eager to be seen doing something to address significant concerns with the law.

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  • The Obamacare Fumble

    By Todd S. Purdum, Politico

    It’s the cardinal rule of marketing management: Under-promise and over-deliver. If the sign at “Pirates of the Caribbean” says the wait is 45 minutes, and your kids are floating along on the ride in half that time, Disneyland really is the Happiest Place on Earth.

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  • How Could Obama Not Have Known?

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    As the story of the Obamacare website fiasco unfolds, senior administration aides tell me that the President is "mad, frustrated and angry."

    Mad that his signature legislative achievement is stuck at the gate, frustrated that he's running out of time to fix it and angry that he's got a second-term agenda now going nowhere. He's so furious, in fact, that he stepped out of character to vent to an assembled group of top aides, saying he would have delayed the website if he had known it was a mess.

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  • Chuck Schumer Would Still Put 'Quite a Bit' of Money on Immigration Reform

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    The conventional wisdom for months now has been that immigration reform is dead. Yet hope springs eternal for the large community of activists and interest groups pushing for reform to pass; this group collectively freaked out when, on Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner said House Republicans aren't willing to negotiate with the Senate on the issue.

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Nov 14, 2013

  • Obamacare: Assessing damage from low enrollment numbers

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

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  • Democrats Try to Prevent Defections on Health Care

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The White House is stepping up damage control efforts on Capitol Hill where a growing number of Democrats are seeking distance from the Affordable Care Act as dissatisfaction rises over the bungled roll-out of the health care website.

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  • Democrats Try to Prevent Defections on Health Care

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