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!

Jan 09, 2013

  • With a Little Bit of Luck, AIG Will Shun This Lawsuit

    By Deborah Solomon, Bloomberg News

    Imagine, for a moment, if Eliza Doolittle sued Henry Higgins.

    Yes, he transformed the Cockney sprite into the toast of London, but he did nothing for the friends poor Eliza had to leave behind. And darn if the terms of her deal didn't border on abusive, what with all the voice and etiquette lessons required, not to mention making her ditch her sullied clothes.

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  • The GOP Looks Inward

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    No political party enjoys losing an election, but a healthy party reacts to defeat — after a suitable period of grieving — by trying to figure out what went wrong.

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  • Tunisia Frees Lone Suspect in Benghazi Attacks, Another Sign Investigation is in Trouble

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    Tunisian authorities on Tuesday released the only man held so far in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, according to the suspect’s lawyer, reaffirming fears that the Libyan-led investigation into the deaths is foundering.

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  • What I Learned From Richard Ben Cramer

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Having come to political reporting late, I didn't read Richard Ben Cramer's campaign epic What It Takes until last year, when I was deep in the task of covering the 2012 presidential campaign. Reading it in those circumstances was simultaneously intimidating and inspiring. As gallopingly pleasurable a read as it is, it often didn't feel like pleasure reading, so closely did it track my everyday life on the trail.

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Jan 08, 2013

  • Obama Announces Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense

    With Martha Raddatz

    The former Senator and veteran with two Purple Hearts faces scrutiny for past political positions.

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  • CIA Nominee Brennan Has Obama's 'Complete Trust'

    By Tom Gjelten

    President Obama's choice of John Brennan to lead the CIA appears to be less controversial than his decision to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.

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  • Choice to Lead C.I.A. Faces a Changed Agency

    By Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, The New York Times

    President Obama’s nomination on Monday of John O. Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency puts one of his closest and most powerful aides in charge of an agency that has been transformed by more than a decade of secret wars.

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  • US May Hit Debt Ceiling by Mid-February: Report

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    The U.S. government could exhaust its ability to meet all its financial obligations as early as Feb. 15, according to a new analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

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  • Obama's Lobby-Busting Second Term

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Emboldened by reelection and a fiscal-cliff deal, President Obama is picking fights with two of the most powerful special interests in Washington: the pro-gun and pro-Israel lobbies.

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  • Hints of Syrian Chemical Push Set Off Global Effort to Stop It

    By David E. Sanger and Eric Scmitt

    In the last days of November, Israel’s top military commanders called the Pentagon to discuss troubling intelligence that was showing up on satellite imagery: Syrian troops appeared to be mixing chemicals at two storage sites, probably the deadly nerve gas sarin, and filling dozens of 500-pounds bombs that could be loaded on airplanes.

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Jan 07, 2013

  • Obama’s Pick for Defense Is an Ally, and a Lightning Rod

    By David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The New York Times

    When President Obama nominates Chuck Hagel, the maverick Republican and former senator from Nebraska, to be his next secretary of defense, he will be turning to a trusted ally whose willingness to defy party loyalty and conventional wisdom won his admiration both in the Senate and on a 2008 tour of war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  • Chuck Hagel's Nomination as Defense Secretary to Come Monday

    By Christi Parsons and Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama plans to nominate former Republican senator Chuck Hagel on Monday to serve as secretary of Defense, an administration official said Sunday.

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  • Are People Being Unfair to the House Republicans?

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    It's open season on the House Republicans these days, and the incoming fire isn't just coming from the left. Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, blasted House Speaker John Boehner for delaying a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief; the conservative commentator John Podhoretz accused right-wing members of Congress of "literally embracing chaos" with their ill-fated attempt to oust Boehner from the speakership on Thursday.

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  • The Worst Job in Congress

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Spare a little sympathy, if you can, for John A. Boehner of Ohio, speaker of the House of Representatives.

    On paper, he's the most powerful Republican in the land. In practice, he's caught between a cliff and a ceiling as the uneasy chairman of an unhappy and fractious caucus.

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  • Rebound in Construction Hiring Offers Hope for Economy

    By Jim Tankersley and By Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post

    After five years of hemorrhaging jobs, the construction industry has become one of the bright spots of the labor market — a hopeful sign that one of the most damaged sectors of the economy may finally be starting to heal.

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Jan 04, 2013

  • If US Could Only Spend What It Gets In Taxes ...

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • Cliff? What cliff?

    By Greg Ip, Economist

    IT HAS been a month of high drama on America's economic policy front as leaders in Washington grappled with the fiscal cliff. But not many people out in the real world seemed to care, and the economy has done just fine. Non-farm employment advanced 155,000, or 0.1%, in December from November, the federal government reported today.

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  • Boehner Re-Elected as House speaker

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was re-elected to a second two-year term to lead a polarized Congress, which convened for the 113th session on Thursday. Debates on deficit reduction, immigration, and gun laws are on the agenda.

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  • Fiscal-Cliff Law by the Numbers

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    It took a while, but the budget bean-counters are beginning to come up with charts and tables to show the impact of the tax law (formally, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012) that Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed this week.

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  • Paul Ryan vs. Marco Rubio: The Politics of the Cliff Vote

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Lumped together as two of the youngest and brightest Republican stars, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida parted ways on the fiscal cliff, with votes that reflect divergent strategies for building their party and political futures.

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