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!

Aug 14, 2014

  • In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagan seeks to ride backlash against state GOP leaders

    By Matea Gold, The Washington Post

    Independent voter Christine Telfer doesn’t have much of an impression of Sen. Kay Hagan, the Democrat whose bid for reelection is dominating the airwaves in this state. But Telfer, 65, a retired travel agent, is emphatic about the Republican seeking to unseat Hagan.

    Read more
  • In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagan seeks to ride backlash against state GOP leaders

    By Matea Gold, The Washington Post

    Independent voter Christine Telfer doesn’t have much of an impression of Sen. Kay Hagan, the Democrat whose bid for reelection is dominating the airwaves in this state. But Telfer, 65, a retired travel agent, is emphatic about the Republican seeking to unseat Hagan.

    Read more

Aug 13, 2014

  • Clinton promises cease-fire on Obama, for now

    By Maggie Haberman and Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico

    A split between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was inevitable. Now that they’ve made peace, keeping it will be the challenge.

    Read more
  • Make no mistake: We're back in an Iraq war

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Every time Barack Obama thinks he has succeeded in establishing restraint as the central doctrine of his foreign policy, a new outburst of chaos in the Middle East draws him back in. In 2011, fears that Libya's Moammar Kadafi would massacre opponents led the United States into an air war. In 2013, Syria's use of chemical weapons against civilians almost drew Obama into another. Now it's Iraq, where the president thought he had disentangled the United States, only to see a new threat arise in the form of the terrorist army of the Islamic State.

    Read more
  • What hand will al-Maliki play in Iraq?

    By Elise Labott, CNN

    While senior U.S. officials say they are now less worried about Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launching a coup to stay in power, they still predict he'll try to obstruct the political process to keep the prime minister-designate, Haider al-Abadi, out of office.

    Read more
  • Will Closed-Door Benghazi Hearings Keep the Circus Away?

    By Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

    Rep. Trey Gowdy was bombarded with requests from fellow Republicans, eager to take part in the latest congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack. But when it became clear that he intended to lead the inquiry behind closed doors, far from the spotlight, the requests soon fell silent.

    Read more
  • Tax reform: You don't care, and neither does DC

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    With new corporate tax inversion deals seeming to be announced every week, observers of politics and business wonder: Why hasn't Washington reformed corporate taxation?

    Read more

Aug 12, 2014

  • Robin Williams' Connection to US Troops

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    ABC's Martha Raddatz reports on how Williams used comedy to help troops escape the cruelties of war.

    Watch more
  • For 2 U.S. Presidents, Iraqi Leader Proved a Source of Frustration

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    One day in the fall of 2007, President George W. Bush joined Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki in a video conference to sign a “declaration of principles” on the future of the Iraqi-American relations. As Mr. Bush scrawled his name, Mr. Maliki in Baghdad just passed his pen over his copy, pretending to sign.

    Read more
  • Obama’s Political Catch 22 in Iraq

    With Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

    Watch more
  • Will ISIS attack the West?

    With Jim Scuitto, CNN

    Watch more
  • Political issues hang over Capitol Hill

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood reports on Hillary Clinton's possible run for president in the 2016 election, and the Obama administration's foreign policy tactics.

Aug 11, 2014

  • Capitalizing on U.S. Bombing, Kurds Retake Iraqi Towns

    By Rod Nordland and Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    With American strikes beginning to show clear effects on the battlefield, Kurdish forces counterattacked Sunni militants in northern Iraq on Sunday, regaining control of two strategic towns with aid from the air.

    Read more
  • Experts Warn of Terrorism Blowback From Iraq Air Strikes

    By Michael Crowley, TIME Magazine

    The American air strikes against a militant group in Iraq could motivate the fighters to retaliate with terrorist attacks against U.S. civilians, experts warn.

    Read more
  • Iraq Timetable Opens Obama to Scrutiny From Allies, Critics

    By Janet Hook and Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal

    President Barack Obama's admonition that airstrikes against Islamist militants likely will be a "long-term project" is fueling anxiety among Democratic allies who view the end of the Iraq war in 2011 as one of the greatest accomplishments of his presidency.

    Read more
  • Unlike previous midterm election years, no dominant theme has emerged for 2014

    By Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Matea Gold, The Washington Post

    Ask voters in North Carolina’s Research Triangle what November’s midterm elections are about and one will tell you drones. A second will say closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Yet another, the middle-class squeeze.

    Read more
  • GOP Ads Go On Attack Over Border

    By Beth Reinhard, Wall Street Journal

    New television ads by Republican Senate candidates in Arkansas and New Hampshire blame the recent surge of illegal immigration on Democratic support for "amnesty."

    And in Maine, Republican Gov. Paul LePage is bashing his Democratic challenger for supporting government welfare for illegal immigrants.

    Read more
  • Why Democrats can't win back the House

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Congressional approval ratings hover at historic lows. The Republican Party's brand has tanked. More people than ever think their own congressman should be sent packing. And the most notable act in one of the most unproductive legislative periods on record was shutting down the government for 16 days.

    Read more

Aug 08, 2014

  • Obama, With Reluctance, Returns to Action in Iraq

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    In sending warplanes back into the skies over Iraq, President Obama on Thursday night found himself exactly where he did not want to be. Hoping to end the war in Iraq, Mr. Obama became the fourth president in a row to order military action in that graveyard of American ambition.

    Read more
  • Why can’t Islamic State be stopped? Analysts say it’s better armed, better organized

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    The Islamic State’s push toward the Kurdish city of Irbil on Thursday came as unwelcome news to those who’d believed that the Kurdish peshmerga militia would be the force most capable of halting the militant Islamists’ momentum.

    Read more