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!

Apr 26, 2012

  • U.S. High Court Appears to Back Arizona on Immigration

    By James Vicini and Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    Conservative justices who hold a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared to endorse Arizona's immigration crackdown on Wednesday, rejecting the Obama administration stance that the federal government has sole power over those who illegally enter the United States.

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Apr 25, 2012

  • Romney says ‘Better America Begins Tonight’

    By Dan Balz and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney, whose first campaign for the White House ended in failure and disappointment, claimed the Republican nomination Tuesday night after a five-state sweep and turned his full focus to the general election with a charge that President Obama has been a failure in office and a promise of a better America.

    GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney's victory address in Manchester, NH (CNN)

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  • Victory on Arizona Immigration Law Could Cost Republicans in the Long Run

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    If the Supreme Court rejects the Obama administration’s challenge to the Arizona immigration law, the ruling would be widely viewed as a victory for the Republican Party, whose leadership spearheaded the law in the state and championed its spirit nationwide. But at what cost?

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  • Rob Portman is Likely Veep Pick

    With Major Garrett, National Journal

    National Journal's White House correspondent Major Garrett talks to Charlie Rose and Erica Hill about Mitt Romney's five-state primary sweep and the upcoming presidential race.

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  • Warmth of Campus Spotlight Beckons Obama Back

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    The arenas are rocking, the students are whooping and President Obama is feeling the love. “I love you back, I really do!” he calls out to thousands of young people packed to the rafters. When one shouts, “We believe in you!” he yells back, “I believe in you!” When he emphasizes a point, he calls out, “Can I get an amen?” For a president facing a tough re-election and a stubborn economy, there is no better amen corner, no more invigorating audience, than on campus.

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  • Marco Rubio Is This Election’s Sarah Palin

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Marco Rubio is this year’s Sarah Palin. As a possible vice presidential pick, he is popular with the grassroots. He is an envoy to a key part of the electorate and has crossover political appeal. He has successfully bucked his party establishment, and those who have seen him work say he’s skilled. He’s an easy and talented campaigner, and he’d wow them in Tampa the way Palin did in St. Paul, Minn.* He is also fundamentally at odds with his potential running mate’s message and criteria for his vice president.

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Apr 24, 2012

  • Boehner: 1-in-3 Chance Democrats Could Take House

    By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

    House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) is sending a cautionary message about the danger that the Democrats could retake the House in November, saying there is a one-in-three chance the GOP will lose its majority. “I would say that there is a two-in-three chance that we win control of the House again, but there’s a one-in-three chance that we could lose,” Mr. Boehner told Fox News in an interview to air Tuesday. “We’ve got a big challenge and we’ve got work to do.”

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    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio (CNN, File Photo)

  • Working-Class Concerns Don’t Cause Romney or Obama Pain

    By Lisa Lerer and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Amanda Thomas wanted to share with Mitt Romney her long list of worries: a health-care law that will hurt her husband’s business, the debt that will burden her 2-year-old daughter’s generation, and the financial anxieties of her parents in their golden years. “I’m worried about my baby and I’m worried about my parents,” she told the Republican presidential candidate, sitting at a picnic table in the Pittsburgh suburb of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.

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  • State Attorneys General: New Republican Power

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    In the ornate Chinese Ballroom of Washington's Mayflower Hotel, nine Republican state attorneys general gathered last month at a long, white-cloth covered table for an unusual news conference. One by one, as TV news cameras rolled, they catalogued their many lawsuits against President Barack Obama's administration.

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  • Redistricting Takes Some of the 'Swing' out of House Fights

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    In the next decade, the battle for control of the House of Representatives will hinge on fewer races, incumbents will be tougher to beat, and the polarization that has come to define the institution in recent years is all but certain to continue. The process is wrapping up on 2012 redistricting — the once-a-decade politics-fueled redrawing of district lines because of population shifts — and one result, political analysts say, is the continued reduction of swing districts in which either party has potential to win and make up the battlefield that helps determine a majority.

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  • Review of White House Staff Shows No Misconduct in Colombia

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    The White House said on Monday that it had investigated its own staff members and concluded that none of them were involved in the prostitution scandal in Colombia that has ensnared members of the Secret Service and the military. Kathryn Ruemmler, the president’s counsel, conducted a review of the White House advance team that traveled to Cartagena in advance of President Obama’s trip there this month and “produced no indication of any misconduct,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

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Apr 23, 2012

  • Administration Torn on Secret Service Scandal Response

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    Just before Air Force One begins its descent, a group of agents huddle in a cabin near the back to study a map, a diagram and a step-by-step itinerary detailing the president’s every move once he steps off the plane. It is an old ritual, this last operational run-through for the special agents of the presidential protective division, the most elite of the Secret Service agents and the last barrier between the commander in chief and a host of threats. This ritual is a big reason President Obama has been so reluctant to criticize the Secret Service, as the agency reels from a scandal over suspected misconduct involving prostitutes during a trip to Cartagena, Colombia.


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  • The Great 2012 Debate: Who Broke the Economy?

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Are you less-bad off today than you were four years ago? How about 10 years ago? Those are the questions rising to the top of the 2012 presidential campaign. The general-election contest between President Obama and his presumptive Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is shaping up to be less a debate about how to get Americans back to work than it is a re-litigation of a decade of recent economic history.

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  • Is Romney Having Difficulty Raising Money?

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    CNBC's John Harwood reports on the difficulty President Obama and the Republican candidates are facing raising money in a tough economic environment.

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  • Corzine, Amid Scandal, Is Among Obama's Top Bundlers

    by Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    Jon Corzine -- under federal and congressional investigation following accusations that the securities firm he headed illegally took clients' funds before collapsing -- is among President Obama's top re-election campaign bundlers, raising at least $500,000, according to the campaign’s filing Friday with the Federal Election Commission

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  • Does the Tea Party Have a Second Act?

    With Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal

    Tough challenges to Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Richard Lugar will signal whether tea-party activists and their allies still have the power they wielded in 2010. Naftali Bendavid has details on The News Hub.

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Apr 20, 2012

  • At Least He Didn’t Call Him Moneybags

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Yesterday President Obama said he "wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth." This line was widely interpreted as a not-so-subtle dig at Mitt Romney, the wealthy son of a wealthy father. At first glance, that seemed plausible, though perhaps too subtle. The president's campaign would like you to think Romney was born with silver tea, soup, demitasse, grapefruit, and runcible spoons—not to mention that funny silver ladle we use just on Thanksgiving—in his mouth. But upon second look, the president wasn't talking about his Republican challenger. He was just talking.
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  • Work in Progress

    By Greg Ip, The Economist

    When Paul Ryan released his proposed federal budget a year ago, Mitt Romney greeted it coolly. He congratulated the House Budget Committee chairman for “setting the right tone”, but pointedly declined to endorse any of its details. The coolness was understandable. Mr Ryan’s budget was political dynamite. It proposed to slash income-tax rates, especially for the rich and businesses, and replace traditional Medicare with vouchers for the elderly to buy health insurance.
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  • Secret Service Scandal: Ousted Agent 'Checked Out' Palin

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    An agent involved in a sex scandal joked about the former governor on Facebook.

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  • Rubio: Arizona Immigration Law Is Not a Model for the Nation

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday that he does not view Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration as a “model,’’ distancing himself from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has embraced the legislation. The Cuban-American senator, who spoke at the University of Phoenix/National Journal's Next America forum in Washington, is viewed as a top name on Romney’s vice presidential shortlist.
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    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (CNN)