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 05, 2012

  • Who Offshored My Lemons?

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    There are two really important things to understand about the latest back-and-forth between President Obama and Mitt Romney over Bain Capital’s role in outsourcing U.S. jobs. First, the Romney camp’s defense in this case amounts to a distinction without a difference for displaced American workers who don’t much care if a company ships jobs overseas directly or just invests in people who show companies how to do the job-shipping.

    Read more from National Journal
  • China's Central Bank Cuts Interest Rates

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Jeannette Neumann and David Wessel discuss Chinese and European central banks cutting their interest rates, and Joel Schectman looks at NBC and Google's preparations to keep cyberattacks at bay during the Summer Olympics.

    Read more

Jul 03, 2012

  • At July lull, presidential race is close as ever

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The presidential race is entering the sultry summer, a final lull before the sprint to Election Day, with President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney neck and neck and no sign that either can break away. As both candidates take a breather this week — Romney at his lakeside compound in New Hampshire and Obama at the Camp David presidential retreat — each sees problems he'd like to cure before Labor Day.

    Read more
  • You Say Tax, I Say Penalty

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    Things have gotten so bad for Chief Justice John Roberts that Mitt Romney would rather agree with Barack Obama. In the wake of the Affordable Care Act ruling, the Obama administration and the Mitt Romney campaign have agreed to define the same taxlike object not as a tax but as a penalty. This rare act of bipartisan agreement likely denies Romney a potent tax argument against the president, but that may be wise since the argument can be used against Romney, too.

    Read more
  • U.S. Adds Forces in Persian Gulf, a Signal to Iran

    By David Sanger, Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

    The United States has quietly moved significant military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to deter the Iranian military from any possible attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz and to increase the number of fighter jets capable of striking deep into Iran if the standoff over its nuclear program escalates.

    Read more
  • Can Sanctions Force Iran To Change Its Policies?

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    Whether economic sanctions can force a government to change course is far from clear, but Iran should be a good test case. A European Union embargo on Iranian oil took full effect this week, complementing U.S. measures that have grown much more severe in recent weeks. Other Western sanctions now in place target Iranian banks, foreign companies that provide shipping insurance for Iranian oil tankers, and foreign firms that invest in the Iranian oil industry.

    Read more
  • Romney camp sides with Obama that health insurance mandate is not tax

    By Karen Tumulty and N.C. Aizenman, The Washington Post

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign on Monday rejected a Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, repudiating a contention made in last week’s Supreme Court decision that the law’s requirement that individuals carry medical coverage amounts to a tax.

    Read more

Jul 02, 2012

  • Dems Argue Health Mandate Is Penalty, Not Tax

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg

    Julianna Goldman reports on President Barack Obama's visit to two key battleground states, the impact of the health-care ruling on his campaign and republican politics.

    Watch and Read more
  • European Leaders Cling To Ideal Of Integration

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    It has taken several years of financial upheaval and nearly 20 summits, but the prospect of Europe's disintegration has apparently frightened leaders into working together. This seems to be the larger message emerging from the European summit in Brussels, Belgium, where EU leaders agreed Friday to a $150 growth plan for the struggling economies across the continent. The deal sent stock markets surging in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.

    Listen and read more
  • Washington Mulls Over Health Care Act

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood reports Congress and the nation have a full week to digest the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act.

    Watch and Read more
  • Obama's victory is now his challenge

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    "In my first term, we passed healthcare reform," President Obama joked this spring. "In my second term, I guess I'll pass it again." Thanks to the Supreme Court, Obama can take that item off his agenda. But Chief JusticeJohn G. Roberts Jr.guaranteed Thursday that healthcare will still be at the center of this year's presidential race.

    Read more
  • Fresh Skirmishes Over ‘Obamacare’

    By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal

    The parties’ back-and-forth continued Monday following the Supreme Court’s health care decision. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which coordinates the Democrats’ House campaigns, is launching automated and live phone calls in the districts of 10 Republicans who support repealing the law, charging them with looking out for insurance companies rather than ordinary people. Repeal would allow insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, “throw some kids of their parents’ insurance,” and take other damaging actions, the calls say.

    Read more

Jun 29, 2012

  • Did Obama Just Get His Mojo Back?

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    President Obama's campaign team can come up from the root cellar. The summer health care tornado did not land. The Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, protecting the president's signature legislative achievement. The decision was authored by conservative darling Chief Justice John Roberts, suggesting that, politically at least, this seal of approval was affixed by Betty Crocker herself. If the law had been struck down in whole or in large parts, it would have endorsed Mitt Romney's claim that President Obama committed a double sin: He wasted the precious start of his presidency on a wrong-headed scheme while ignoring a weak economy. But what now? Just because the Supreme Court upheld the law doesn't mean the legislation is popular. The president avoided a big defeat, but Mitt Romney's conservative base is energized. The net result is that it was a good day politically for the president, but it's a small net.

    Read more
  • Analysis: Why Roberts saved Obama's healthcare law

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    In the end, it all came down to Chief Justice John Roberts, the sphinx in the center chair, who in a stunning decision wove together competing rationales to uphold President Barack Obama's healthcare plan. Roberts' action instantly upended the conventional wisdom that he would vote with his four fellow conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court and undercut the agenda of a Democratic president, who as a senator in 2005 had opposed Roberts' appointment to the bench.

    Read more
  • Health Care Ruling

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    The blockbuster decision was one of the court’s most important rulings in decades. Opponents of the law had said Congress’ power to regulate commerce didn’t extend to people who choose not to buy something, something that the court’s conservatives agreed with. Justice John Roberts did decide, however, that the law was a legitimate use of the congressional power to tax.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    view at
  • Obama's Big Political Win Sets Stage for More Battles

    By Naftali Bendavid and Carol E. Lee, The Wall Street Journal

    President Barack Obama won a monumental legal victory Thursday when the Supreme Court upheld the vast majority of his health-care law, but the fight for public opinion—and votes in November—showed signs of growing more heated. President Barack Obama won a monumental legal victory Thursday when the Supreme Court upheld the vast majority of his health-care law, but the fight for public opinion—and votes in November—showed signs of growing more heated.

    Read more
  • Health-care ruling motivates Romney supporters

    By Karen Tumulty and Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    If conservatives needed any more motivation to unseat President Obama, they got it Thursday from the Supreme Court, which provided fresh political opportunities for Mitt Romney even as it handed the president a legal victory.

    Read more

Jun 27, 2012

  • Senate Leaders Reach Student-Loan Deal

    By Naftali Bendavid and Corey Boles, The Wall Street Journal

    Senate leaders said Tuesday they had reached a tentative deal to keep most student-loan interest rates at 3.4% for another year, preventing the rates from doubling on Sunday and potentially resolving a contentious election-year issue.

    Read more
  • Mitt Romney says he would lead on immigration, he just won’t say how

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Mitt Romney has had a lot to say about immigration over the past few days, but what he has said adds up to a giant question mark. Rarely has a presidential candidate had as many opportunities to clarify or recalibrate his position on a vital issue, and rarely has a candidate passed up those opportunities as consistently as the former governor.

    Read more
  • The immigration ruling: a hint on healthcare?

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    The Supreme Court's decision in the Arizona immigration case on Monday showed a conciliatory streak within a divided court that could emerge again when the justices issue their climactic healthcare decision on Thursday. What the Arizona compromise will augur for the most closely watched case of the term is anyone's guess. Yet the justices' evident search for common ground in the immigration ruling and a few other cases this term could portend a healthcare decision that does not predictably cleave along political lines.

    Read more