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!

Mar 17, 2014

  • Russia Facing Escalating Sanctions as EU Foreign Ministers Meet

    By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan and Ian Wishart, Bloomberg News

    European and U.S. officials will probably hold their most punitive sanctions on Russia in reserve as they wait for President Vladimir Putin to show his hand on whether he plans to push his forces deeper into Ukraine.

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  • Global Crises Put Obama’s Strategy of Caution to the Test

    By David E. Sannger, The New York Times

    For five years, President Obama has consciously recast how America engages with the world’s toughest customers. But with Russia poised to annex Crimea after Sunday’s referendum, with a mounting threat to the rest of Ukraine and with the carnage in Syria accelerating, Mr. Obama’s strategy is now under greater stress than at any time in his presidency.

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  • As viewing habits change, political campaigns must change their habits, as well

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    For half a century, television ads have been the staple of political campaigns, the preferred, if costly, vehicle for communicating a candidate’s message to the voters. What happens when people stop watching live television?

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  • Joe Scarborough for President? Sure, Why Not?

    In the end, Joe Scarborough's name wasn't on the ballot for the presidential straw poll of the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference.

    The organizers of this small, regional GOP meeting had planned to include him after his appearance on the event's schedule caused a minor outbreak of Beltway buzz, chiefly a mention in Politico's daily Playbook newsletter. (Scarborough says he had nothing to do with it.) But MSNBC, the network that airs his show, Morning Joe, grew uneasy and prevailed on the organizers to get his name removed.

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  • Are the Democrats doomed?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    This year was always going to be a difficult one for Democrats, as they battle to keep their five-seat majority in the Senate. But in recent months, the political landscape has grown bleaker.

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Mar 14, 2014

  • Kerry to Press Lavrov on Ukraine as Crimea Vote Nears

    By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Jake Rudnitsky and Sangwon Yoon, Bloomberg News

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in London to press his Russian counterpart to halt a takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula after clashes killed one person and injured dozens in the country’s east.

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  • Ukraine aid package stalls in Congress amid Republican infighting and partisan bickering

    By Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    A proposed U.S. aid package for Ukraine’s fledgling pro-Western government stalled Thursday amid festering Republican Party feuds over foreign policy.

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  • Prerogatives" Cited as WH Keeps Documents From Senate

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    To protect “executive branch confidentiality,” President Obama is withholding from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence 9,400 CIA-related documents created during the Bush administration, the White House and Senate sources confirmed Thursday.

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  • Senators announce deal on jobless aid

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    A bipartisan group of senators announced a tentative deal Thursday to extend through May jobless benefits for two million of America's long-term unemployed.

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  • Fighting the Last War

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    When discussing Hillary Clinton and her perceived position as a “shoe-in" for the Democratic nomination, someone will invariably chime in "yeah, well she looked like a sure thing in 2008 too, and look what happened there." Even the most fervent supporters of the former Secretary of State are anxious about her prospects, worried that they will once again get their hearts broken.

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Mar 13, 2014

  • Obama Makes Push for Political Solution to Crisis in Ukraine

    By Peter Baker and Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times

    President Obama and Ukraine’s interim prime minister opened the door on Wednesday to a political solution that could lead to more autonomy for Crimea if Russian troops withdraw, as the United States embarked on a last-ditch diplomatic effort to defuse a crisis that reignited tensions between East and West.

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  • Obama, Ukraine PM Warn Putin of Invasion "Cost"

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Ukraine’s prime minister, visiting President Obama in the Oval Office on Wednesday, accused Russia of seeking to invade all of Ukraine after a threatened annexation of the Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula.

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  • U.S. General Warns of Perils in Leaving Afghanistan

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    The top American commander in Afghanistan said on Wednesday that Al Qaeda would regroup and stage another attack on the West from Afghanistan if international troops completely withdrew from the country at the end of 2014.

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  • Obama to expand overtime pay

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • Florida’s special election, beyond the talking points about what it means for the midterms

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Republicans and Democrats had their talking points ready when the results of the special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District rolled in Tuesday night. Republicans hailed David Jolly’s victory over Democrat Alex Sink as a sign of a big year ahead. Democrats said they were well pleased, despite the loss.

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Mar 12, 2014

  • The Senate and the CIA at War

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    How do you spy on a spy? In the case of Senate investigators, you do it by adopting some of their methods. During the five year investigation into the CIA interrogation and detention program, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, working in a windowless room at the spy agency’s headquarters, suspected that key documents had been removed from their computer network. Luckily, they had a hard copy. To keep it from being destroyed, Senate sleuths spirited the document from the CIA and put it in a safe in the Hart Senate Office Building. The move set off a chain of events that broke open on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the intelligence committee, accused the CIA of spying on her investigators. CIA Director John Brennan insists the CIA isn’t trying to thwart her investigations. The Justice Department is now conducting two inquiries: one looking into whether the CIA illegally snooped on congressional investigators and another looking into whether those investigators broke the law. The accusations include lying to Congress and to the Justice Department, and spying on congressional investigators to hide what the CIA was doing. Frank Underwood will no doubt be weighing in soon.

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  • Ukraine’s Interim Leader Seeks Aid in Washington

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    The interim prime minister of beleaguered Ukraine planned to make the rounds here on Wednesday as he seeks help bolstering his fragile government and even more fragile economy while somehow reversing Russia’s occupation of the Crimean Peninsula.

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  • Feinstein: CIA searched Intelligence Committee computers

    By Greg Miller, Ed O’Keefe and Adam Goldman, The Washington Post

    A behind-the-scenes battle between the CIA and Congress erupted in public Tuesday as the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the agency of breaking laws and breaching constitutional principles in an alleged effort to undermine the panel’s multi-year investigation of a controversial interrogation program.

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  • Obamacare Enrollment Inches Up to 4 Million

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    More than 4 million people have signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act and “millions more” will sign up by the end of this month, administration officials said Tuesday.

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  • WSJ Poll: Voters Choose Bill Clinton as Endorser-in-Chief

    By Beth Reinhard and Rebecca Ballhaus, Wall Street Journal

    He’s been out of office for more than 13 years, but Bill Clinton is the still the endorser-in-chief.

    A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found 37% of registered voters more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the former president, compared to 22% more likely to favor someone backed by President Barack Obama or 25% by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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