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!

Jul 02, 2014

  • Benghazi suspect organized attack out of ideological fervor, prosecutors say

    By Sari Horwitz, The Washington Post

    Ahmed Abu Khattala, one of the suspected ringleaders of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, voiced opposition to the presence of a U.S. facility there in the days before the assault and organized the attacks out of a sense of ideological fervor, according to government prosecutors.

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  • Hobby Lobby Ruling Reignites Calls for Repeal by Possible GOP Candidates

    By John Parkinson and Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

    Several high-profile Republicans possibly eyeing a presidential bid in 2016 praised the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby as a victory for religious liberty while also sharply attacking the Obama administration for executive overreach through his signature legislative achievement.

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Jul 01, 2014

  • 480 U.S. troops now in Baghdad as officials move to secure access to airport

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    The United States has deployed 300 more troops to Baghdad in the last two days, with some of them assigned to secure Baghdad’s international airport, the Obama administration announced Monday.

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  • SCOTUS Contraceptive Coverage Ruling Comes With Caveats

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    The U.S. Supreme Court handed a big victory to Hobby Lobby, a nationwide chain of craft stores – but the ruling is very limited.

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  • Fault lines re-emerge in U.S. Supreme Court at end of term

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    Sometimes there is no middle ground.

    Through much of the U.S. Supreme Court's term, the nine justices found common if narrow ground to bridge their differences. Many of their high-profile decisions avoided the polarization that defines Washington today. That all changed on Monday, the last day of the nine-month term, with the re-emergence of a familiar 5-4 fault line in a dispute over a U.S. law requiring employers to provide insurance for contraceptives.

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  • Obama to Take Unilateral Steps on Immigration

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    There was a time last year when President Obama thought politics would propel immigration reform through Congress to his desk. On Monday, he announced that politics had strangled it instead.

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  • Remembering Freedom Summer

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    ABC News' Martha Raddatz sits down with filmmaker Stanley Nelson on his new PBS documentary "Freedom Summer."

    ABC US News | ABC Sports News

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Jun 30, 2014

  • It may be too difficult for Hillary Clinton to reinvent herself

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post


    Hillary Rodham Clinton has a sparkling résumé but she is also captive to that biography. Experience is her greatest asset but she is constrained by her longevity in the public arena. She knows plenty — but perhaps too much to become an aspirational presidential candidate offering unlimited possibilities. She can evoke realism but can she seize the future?

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  • Where Did the GOP’s Foreign Policy Wise Men Go?

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    With the world in chaos and voters losing faith in President Obama’s leadership, the Republican Party has an opportunity to reclaim its place in the foreign policy conversation. First, though, the party has to figure out what it wants to say. Its leaders have the basic gist: Obama bad. It’s the delivery and the details where things get a little fuzzy. Right now there are at least three competing GOP visions to Obama’s world view.

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  • Goodlatte: No Immigration Reform This Year

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Proposed immigration reforms will not clear Congress this year -- and may be politically untenable as long as President Obama is in office.

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  • On eve of court ruling, Americans oppose contraceptive ban: Reuters/Ipsos poll

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    A majority of Americans oppose letting employers, based on their religious views, exclude certain contraceptives from workers’ insurance coverage, says a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected on Monday.

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Jun 27, 2014

  • Obama Requests Money to Train ‘Appropriately Vetted’ Syrian Rebels

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    President Obama requested $500 million from Congress on Thursday to train and equip what the White House is calling “appropriately vetted” members of the Syrian opposition, reflecting increased worry about the spillover of the Syrian conflict into Iraq.

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  • U.S. intervention in Libya now seen as cautionary tale

    By Paul Richter and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    A group of U.S. diplomats arrived in Libya three years ago to a memorable reception: a throng of cheering men and women who pressed in on the startled group "just to touch us and thank us," recalled Susan Rice, President Obama's national security advisor.

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  • Abortion Clinic Protest Ruling to Impact Several States

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Republicans cheer Supreme Court decision on recess appointments

    By Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    Republican lawmakers on Thursday cheered the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous ruling that President Obama lacked constitutional authority to make high-level government appointments when he declared the Senate in recess and unable to act on the nominations.

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  • How immigration reform died

    By Seung Min Kim and Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico

    President Barack Obama paused for what felt like an eternity to the immigration reform activists seated around the Roosevelt Room.

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Jun 26, 2014

  • Supreme Court Narrows President's Recess Appointment Power

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    The US Supreme Court today limited a president's power to make recess appointments when the White House and the Senate are controlled by opposite parties, scaling back a presidential authority as old as the republic.

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  • How the Fate of One Holy Site Could Plunge Iraq Back into Civil War

    By Michael Crowley, TIME Magazine

    When Secretary of State John Kerry visited Baghdad on Monday, he arrived in a city bracing for war with the brutal fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who have taken control of Iraq’s north and west.

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  • Use of Drones for Killings Risks a War Without End, Panel Concludes in Report

    By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

    The Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killings using armed drones risks putting the United States on a “slippery slope” into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for lethal operations that other countries might adopt in the future, according to a report by a bipartisan panel that includes several former senior intelligence and military officials.

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  • Obama Hitting the Road on Female-Voter Empathy Tour

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama has something on his mind -- a message he plans to deliver in Minneapolis Thursday and Friday.

    It’s similar to an idea President George H.W. Bush shared in Pease, N.H., in January 1992. During a town-hall session -- akin to the one Obama will hold in Minnesota this week -- Bush said his White House mail helped him understand the worries of hardworking, everyday Americans.

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