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!

Jun 25, 2014

  • Doubting Putin, Obama Prepares to Add Pressure

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    The Obama administration has drawn up plans to escalate sanctions against Russia by targeting its financial, energy and defense industries, but faces resistance from European allies hoping to avoid a broader economic clash with Moscow that would hurt their own businesses.

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  • Wendy Davis' Texas-sized battle

    With Gloria Borger, CNN

    One year after her filibuster against an anti-abortion bill and a meteoric rise to the national stage, Wendy Davis is fighting her most recent battle, an uphill fight to be Texas' next governor. CNN's Gloria Borger profiles the rising Democratic star.

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  • Congrats, America. You have less economic opportunity than you did in 1970

    By Jim Tankersley and Jeff Guo, The Washington Post

    Americans today have more social and educational opportunity than they did 40 years ago -- but they have less economic opportunity, thanks to a bruising recession and the alarming economic trends that preceded it.

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Jun 24, 2014

  • Cochran-McDaniel runoff race turns even nastier on the final day

    By Ed O'Keefe,

    The closing hours of the closely watched Mississippi Republican Senate primary promise to be as nasty and personal as the last several weeks, with the focus Monday partly on a Facebook message from the incumbent's daughter and the response from her father's opponent.

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  • What a primary runoff could tell us about the future of the GOP

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    Tuesday's U.S. Senate runoff in Mississippi provides an important new test of strength between the current leaders of the Republican Party and those who want to pull it further to the right.

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  • Diplomatic Note Promises Immunity From Iraqi Law for U.S. Advisory Troops

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    The Obama administration said on Monday that it has accepted from the Iraqi government the same sort of immunity agreement for newly dispatched Special Operations troops that it refused to accept in 2011, when it opted to withdraw all American troops from Iraq rather than keep a residual force behind.

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  • Terrorists Team Up in Syria to Build Next Generation of Bombs

    By Mike Levine, Pierre Thomas, and Jack Date, ABC News

    An alliance has been building inside war-ravaged Syria, with al Qaeda-linked terrorists there now working alongside hardened operatives from the prolific al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen to develop a new generation of bombs that could be smuggled aboard commercial planes, ABC News has learned.

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  • Day after Kerry praised Egyptian leader, court gives 7 years to jailed journalists

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo, where he voiced strong support for the Egyptian government, saying he believed Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi would bring about democratic reforms.

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  • Crying Poor

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    On Monday morning, at a White House summit on policies to help working families, Vice President Joe Biden reflected on his wealth. He said that while he wore a “mildly expensive suit” and was vice president of the United States of America, he didn’t own a stock or a bond, and as a senator, was the poorest member of the club. This bit is a longstanding part of Biden’s shtick, but was interpreted—most loudly by the Republican National Committee—as a dig at possible presidential rival Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state has been having trouble talking about her considerable wealth, ever since she described herself as “dead broke” upon leaving the White House.

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Jun 23, 2014

  • Key Supreme Court Decisions in 2014

    By The New York Times

    The Supreme Court on Monday released a decision allowing, with limits, the E.P.A. to curb power-plant gases. Below, how the justices have decided other major cases this term and the implications of their decisions.

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  • Relief Over U.S. Exit From Iraq Fades as Reality Overtakes Hope

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Standing in Al Faw palace in Baghdad, surrounded by an artificial lake and the ragged remnants of eight years of war, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. felt a surge of emotion on that day in December 2011.

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  • War lite -- Obama's limited Iraq goals

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    The United States is stepping into its third Iraq war in 24 years. But if President Obama has his way, this one will be fought under different rules.

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  • Mississippi’s Cochran, facing tea party threat in runoff, defends his Senate seat like a hawk

    In this college town’s leafy square on Saturday, Sen. Thad Cochran, fighting for his political life, talked up his hawkish view of foreign policy.

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  • GOP Infighting Shows No Sign of Easing Up

    By Patrick O'Connor and Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

    The battles that played out in Republican primaries this spring have done little to resolve the party's divisions, with differences over both tactics and policy still stark.

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  • Another Senate dispute puts spending bills in jeopardy

    By Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    A fresh fight between Democrats and Republicans over rules regarding amendments broke out in the Senate last week, possibly upending carefully orchestrated plans to approve a new spending agreement and avoid another government shutdown this fall.

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  • A Day in the Life of a Journalist in Baghdad

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Dispatched to cover the crisis in Iraq, ABC News’ Chief Global Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz - who is on her 23rd trip to Iraq - with the help of ABC News producers Cindy Smith and Bartley Price, chronicled a day working and reporting in Baghdad on June 19, 2014.

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  • Chris Christie's New Compassionate Conservatism

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Republicans have an image problem. “Only 16 percent of Americans believe the Republican Party is compassionate,” Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, told a roomful of Christian conservatives on Friday, citing a recent poll. Voters, he said, see Republicans as fighting against things and Democrats as fighting for people—and, framed in those terms, it's no surprise people tend to prefer the latter.

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Jun 20, 2014

  • U.S. to Send Up to 300 Military Advisers to Iraq, Obama Says

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama has ordered “up to” 300 American military and other specialists into Iraq to “train, advise and equip” the Iraqi military to battle Sunni jihadists who have seized control of Iraqi towns as part of a religious-based sectarian clash.

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  • Understanding Iraq's Disappearing Security Forces

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    The Iraqi security forces were always America's ticket out of Iraq, so after many early disappointments, U.S. military leaders built the forces in their own image.

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  • House Republicans elect Kevin McCarthy as majority leader, Steve Scalise as majority whip

    By Paul Kane and Matea Gold, The Washington Post

    House Republicans on Thursday overwhelmingly elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be majority leader and Rep. Steve Scalise to be majority whip, elevating a pair of lawmakers who promised a more open and conservative approach to running the chamber.

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