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!

Sep 12, 2014

  • Congressional leaders back Obama plan to arm rebels against Islamic State

    By Ed O'Keefe and Robert Costa, The Washington Post

    House Republican leaders moved quickly Thursday to broadly support President Obama’s plan for an open-ended campaign to combat the Islamic State — but the mechanics of how they will do so won’t be determined for several days.

    Read more
  • For US, finding right allies in Syria will be tough

    By Hannah Allam, McClatchy News

    In an effort to map out the ideological spectrum of Syria’s various rebel groups, Turkish and American officials used a color-coded scheme: green for trusted friends, red for clear-cut enemies and yellow for those in the middle.

    Read more
  • Return of the Security Mom?

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    Back in the 2002 and 2004 elections, we heard a lot about so-called "Security Moms." Once focused almost exclusively on domestic issues like education, crime, and the economy, the priorities of these "Soccer Moms" shifted in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Instead of pocketbook issues, they were focused on peace of mind. They wanted a president who could keep the country (and their kids) safe. Over ten years later, and in the wake of two gruesome beheadings, we are seeing the early signs of a resurgence of a security-focused voter, and it could have a real impact on the midterm elections.

    Read more

Sep 11, 2014

  • Martha Raddatz: 'We Are at War with ISIS'

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    ABC News' chief global affairs correspondent says defeating ISIS will take a very long time.

    Watch more
  • A President in Prime-Time Command After 2 Years of Frustration

    By Michael Scherer, TIME

    The central message of Wednesday night’s prime-time reveal of a new U.S. war in the Middle East came a few minutes in. President Barack Obama squared to the camera, slowed his delivery and filled each syllable with all the gravity he had. “I know many Americans are concerned about these threats,” he said, pausing briefly between sentences. “Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve.”

    Read more
  • New Military Campaign Extends a Legacy of War

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    In ordering a sustained military campaign against Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, President Obama on Wednesday night effectively set a new course for the remainder of his presidency and may have ensured that he would pass his successor a volatile and incomplete war, much as his predecessor left one for him.

    Read more
  • The Midterm Electorate Is Anxious and Unsettled

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Less than two months before the midterm elections, American voters are frightened and unsettled by conditions in the U.S. and around the world. They crave stability, distrust politicians, and have little faith that changing control of Congress would accomplish anything. And while few are pleased with President Obama's leadership, they don't see the November elections primarily as a referendum on it.

    Read more
  • Obama announces ‘broad coalition’ to fight Islamic State extremist group

    By Ed O'Keefe and Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

    President Obama on Wednesday night outlined an open-ended campaign to combat the threat posed by the Islamic State, significantly expanding the counter­terrorism strategy that has been a hallmark of his presidency.

    Read more

Sep 10, 2014

  • Obama's ISIL Strategy to Emphasize Coalition Effort

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    On the eve of another 9/11 anniversary, Barack Obama will tell Americans in a prime time address Wednesday that the United States is back in the business of battling Islamic extremists in Iraq.

    Read more
  • Obama’s Islamic State strategy relies on allies with own reputations for brutality

    By Hannah Alam, McClatchy News

    Whatever strategy President Barack Obama lays out Wednesday to combat the Islamic State is sure to rely heavily on buy-in from rival Muslim powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Iran – one a Sunni Muslim kingdom with its own grim penchant for beheadings and the other a Shiite pariah state that’s executed thousands of dissidents.

    Read more
  • House bill would fund government through mid-December

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The U.S. House will vote this week on a stopgap funding bill to keep the government running until Dec. 11.

    Read more
  • Who’s the boss?

    By Greg Ip, The Economist

    FEDEX, Walmart and McDonald’s are among America’s largest employers. Yet many of the people who drive FedEx’s delivery trucks, staff Walmart’s warehouses and serve McDonald’s hamburgers are not their employees. Instead, they work for subcontractors, franchisees or themselves.

    Read more
  • Ted Cruz accuses Harry Reid of ‘slander campaign’ against Koch brothers

    By Matea Gold, The Washington Post

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) on Tuesday called the repeated Democratic attacks on the Koch brothers “an embarrassment to this institution,” lashing out at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid during a heated speech on the Senate floor.

    Read more

Sep 09, 2014

  • Obama unlikely to seek formal authorization for military strike against Islamic State in Syria, congressional aides say

    By Ed O'Keefe and Robert Costa, The Washington Post

    The White House has not made any official moves that would indicate that President Obama will be seeking congressional authorization for military strikes against the Islamic State, leading top Capitol Hill leaders to believe that he will not be asking them for approval to take formal action in Syria, according to senior House and Senate aides in both parties familiar with ongoing talks between Congress and the administration.

    Read more
  • Turkey Is Courted by U.S. to Help Fight ISIS

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    The Obama administration on Monday began the work of trying to determine exactly what roles the members of its fledgling coalition of countries to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will play, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel huddled with the leaders of the one country the administration has called “absolutely indispensable” to the fight: Turkey.

    Read more
  • A President Whose Assurances Have Come Back to Haunt Him

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    When President Obama addresses the nation on Wednesday to explain his plan to defeat Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria, it is a fair bet he will not call them the “JV team.”

    Read more
  • Does Obama propose to destroy the Islamic State, or merely defeat it?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Exactly what is President Obama’s goal as he escalates the U.S. fight against the Islamic State, the extremist group that has seized a swath of territory in northern Syria and Iraq?

    Read more
  • Obama's Long Immigration Betrayal

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Why does it matter that President Obama has decided to delay action on immigration until after the November elections? What difference does a couple of extra months make?

    Read more
  • Hot inside the Beltway — but not beyond: Why immigration isn’t gaining midterm traction

    By Reid Wilson, The Washington Post

    Rep. Mike Coffman (R) spends most of his days campaigning furiously across his suburban Denver district, which both Democrats and Republicans view as one of the most competitive House races in the country. But on Saturday nights, from 7 to 9 p.m., the retired Marine and former Secretary of State first elected to Congress in 2008 takes a break from campaigning to learn Spanish. His goal is to be fluent, or nearly fluent, by the time he sits down with his opponent, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D), for a debate on Univision on Oct. 30.

    Read more

Sep 08, 2014

  • Obama's evolving ISIS strategy

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood discusses President Obama's position on immigration and strategy on ISIS.

    Watch more