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!

Nov 17, 2011

  • Deserters Attack Syrian Air Force Base, Symbol of Assad and Torture

    By Martha Raddatz and Rym Momtaz, ABC News

    The Syrian government reeled from two blows today, as the members of the Arab League voted to suspend the country, and as defectors from the Syrian military mounted an assault on a military base associated with torture and with the Assad family's long hold on power.

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Nov 16, 2011

  • Hoyer Slams Perry’s Proposal for Part-Time Congress

    By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

    Rep. Steny Hoyer (D., Md.), the second-ranking Democrat in the House, reacted angrily Tuesday to the suggestion by Texas Gov. Rick Perry that Congress become a part-time institution.

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  • Eying China, U.S. Expands Military Ties to Australia

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia announced plans on Wednesday for the first sustained American military presence in Australia, a relatively small deployment that is still a major symbol of American intentions to use regional alliances to counterbalance a rising China.

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  • DC Shooting Suspect Could Be Threat to Obama, Police Say

    By Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    ABC News has learned authorities are increasingly concerned that a man sought in connection with a bizarre shooting incident on the Washington Mall last week may pose a threat to President Obama.

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  • Is he ready? Cain's comments raise some questions

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Many Republican voters are drawn to Herman Cain's forceful campaign style. But an examination of his comments and proposals raises questions about his grasp of issues he would face if elected president.

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  • Swings of Fortune Continue as G.O.P. Candidates Return to the Trail

    By Jeff Zeleny and Trip Gabriel, New York Times

    A Republican presidential race that has been dominated by debate appearances and television interviews took a turn back to the rigors of retail politicking on Tuesday, with candidates making their cases directly to voters who are struggling to find clarity in an unusual boom-to-bust primary campaign.

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  • Kruegar on Concerns About Manufacturing Jobs

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Alan Kruegar, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, addresses concerns about manufacturing jobs, in a conversation with WSJ's David Wessel at the CEO Council.

    Watch
  • Super Committee, Super Lie

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    When I left the White House beat to cover Congress, I told people what the biggest difference was between the two beats. People in the White House and Congress lie to you, I would say; the difference is that on the Hill it’s not the same lie told by the same seven people. That was true until the super committee was created. Now, instead of politicians lying to their constituents and reporters, they are lying to themselves. Not rationalizing, or trimming the truth, or speaking in euphemisms. Lying. Bald. Faced. Lying.

    Read more from National Journal

Nov 15, 2011

  • U.S. Consumer Confidence Less Vulnerable to Super-Committee Failure

    By Catherine Hollander and Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Washington is focused on the super committee, but the rest of the country is paying far less attention to the special panel charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings by Nov. 23. And that's good news, or at least not bad news, for the economy. The super committee's inability to forge a consensus won't trigger anything close to the confidence slide set off by the summer's debt-ceiling debate because the public just isn't paying attention, economists and a National Journal data analysis suggest.

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  • Justices' review of health care law adds to election tumult

    By Joan Biskupic, USA Today

    The Supreme Court's announcement Monday that it will hear challenges to the Obama-sponsored health care law opens the most important chapter in the legal battle over the law, amid the tumult of election-year politics.

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  • Costume Shot Unnecessary, Obama Says

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    Is the “silly shirts” photo of Asia-Pacific leaders now history? To the chagrin of White House photographers but the relief of the 21 leaders at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that took place over the weekend, President Obama, as the host this year, packed away for good the two-decade tradition of having the group pose for a “family photo” in some garb representative of the host country.

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  • Sweet and Sour Newt

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Newt Gingrich, who may be on his way to becoming the Republican front-runner  is going to find this piece stupid. Fundamentally stupid, frankly. It might be the biggest abomination since Chamberlain's appeasement. That's the way the former speaker sees most things. Talk of tax increases is "maniacally stupid," he said in Iowa today, where he also called the deficit supercommittee “one of the dumbest things” he’s ever seen in Washington.

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  • Waterboarding Produces Another Romney Flip-Flop?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Front-running Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney never got a chance in Saturday's debate to weigh in on whether he views waterboarding as torture. (Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain said no, Ron Paul and John Huntsman said yes.) Romney's campaign spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, said on Twitter during the debate: "He wasn't asked but it's not torture.''

    Read more in the National Journal
  • Romney's team prepares for Obama, too

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

    As Mitt Romney prepares for Republican contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond, his aides have been traveling the country filming stories for the battle they hope will follow against President Obama, spotlighting unemployed Americans who have given up on hope and change.

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  • Romney campaign: Obama has "Mitt-obsession"

    By Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    Mitt Romney can’t exactly say himself that his path to the Republican nomination seems inevitable. So his campaign is phrasing it another way: Obama and the Democrats are singularly focused, to the point of obsession, on Mitt Romney, to the absolute exclusion of every other candidate in the race.

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  • U.S. Consumer Confidence Less Vulnerable to Super-Committee Failure

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    Washington is focused on the super committee, but the rest of the country is paying far less attention to the special panel charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings by Nov. 23. And that's good news, or at least not bad news, for the economy.

    Read more in the National Journal
  • War savings and debt reduction, take two

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    The congressional “supercommittee” is looking to count as budget savings as much as $700 billion that the nation no longer plans to spend on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade, an accounting gimmick that has drawn fire from both Democrats and Republicans.

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  • Deficit Deal a Moving Target

    By Naftali Bendavid and Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal

    With time running out for Congress's special deficit-reduction committee, the two sides Monday were grappling for ways to inch closer on the crucial issue of taxes.   The parties are looking for ways to include smaller tax increases than Democrats had previously sought but more than Republicans want. In addition, Democrats last week proposed keeping upper-income tax rates at 35%, the level set in the Bush-era tax cuts.

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  • Justices' review of health care law adds to election tumult

    By Joan Biskupic, USA Today

    The Supreme Court's announcement Monday that it will hear challenges to the Obama-sponsored health care law opens the most important chapter in the legal battle over the law, amid the tumult of election-year politics.

    Read more
  • Supreme Court to review Obama's health care law

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    Can Americans be forced to buy health insurance?  That's the question the Supreme Court will decide next year as it takes on a challenge to the Obama administration's health care law. 

    Watch the report