August 28th, 2009
04:59 AM ET
5 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: August 28, 2009

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The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.

CNN: Ted Kennedy visitation begins at JFK Library
A bell tolled atop Boston's Faneuil Hall on Thursday as the body of Sen. Edward Kennedy passed through the streets, while mourners lined up outside his late brother's presidential library for a chance to say goodbye.

CNN: Analyst: Post-Kennedy health care bill may be more sweeping
For almost 50 years, Sen. Ted Kennedy pushed unsuccessfully for legislation that would reform the health care system and ensure coverage for every American.

CNN: Kennedy takes with him a time and an era
He had a name that rang down through generations. It was a gilded name in politics, but Ted Kennedy's life was an almost impossible kaleidoscope of outstanding public service, astonishing personal failures and the heavy burden of the unfulfilled legacies and promise of three older brothers: Joseph, Jack and Bobby.

CNN: Kennedy was our 'greatest champion,' says gay activist
For writer John Aravosis, Edward "Ted" Kennedy's early support for gay rights was very important to a community that has faced a history steeped in discrimination.

CNN: Reid pushes idea of special appointment for Kennedy seat
As Massachusets politicians ponder whether the Senate seat of Sen. Edward Kennedy will remain vacant until there is a special election, one influential national Democrat is endorsing the idea of an interim appointment.

CNN: Commentary: Obama losing independent voters
Over the course of this summer, President Obama's approval ratings have plummeted among independent voters - the largest and fastest-growing segment of the American electorate.

CNN: Melancon makes Vitter challenge official
In a highly-expected move, Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon said Thursday that he will enter the race to take on Republican Sen. David Vitter in the Louisiana Senate race next year.

CNN: State Dept.: Policy against new Israeli settlements stands
The State Department is sticking with a strict no-new-settlements policy toward Israel, its spokesman said Thursday, but he held out the possibility that Israelis and Palestinians might eventually take a different path.

CNN: Congresswoman apologizes for 'great white hope' comment
A Republican congresswoman apologized Thursday for saying that her party is looking for a "great white hope" to counteract President Obama's political agenda.

CNN: FEC: Club for Growth can reach out to Specter's donors
The Federal Election Commissions said Thursday that the Club for Growth — a group that advocates fiscally conservative policies — may use information in Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's campaign finance reports in order to inform Specter's donors that the longtime senator is no longer a Republican and has switched his party affiliation to Democrat as he seeks to retain his seat in 2010.

CNN: Romney not interested in Kennedy's seat
Responding to speculation that Mitt Romney might be looking at Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, a Romney spokesman said Thursday the former Massachusetts governor isn't interested.

CNN: Sanford blasts investigator for 'selective outrage'
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, taking the offensive for one of the first times since admitting an extramarital affair in June, staged a press conference Thursday across the street from the office of a state senator who is investigating his travel expenses and accused his critic of "selective outrage."

CNN: Democrats hope Bush-bashing works in Virginia race
Trailing in the polls, Democrat Creigh Deeds is hoping a little Bush-bashing will help him gain ground against Republican Bob McDonnell in the Virginia governor's race.

New York Times: Abuse Issue Puts the Justice Dept. and C.I.A. at Odds
With the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate detainee abuses, long-simmering conflicts between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department burst into plain view this week, threatening relations between two critical players on President Obama’s national security team.

New York Times: Some Roman Catholic Bishops Assail Health Plan
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been lobbying for three decades for the federal government to provide universal health insurance, especially for the poor. Now, as President Obama tries to rally Roman Catholics and other religious voters around his proposals to do just that, a growing number of bishops are speaking out against it.

New York Times: Senate Has Changed in Kennedy’s Time
In the spring of 2003, the United States Senate was heading for a meltdown. Democrats were blocking confirmation of federal judges. Republicans were set to retaliate with a “nuclear option”: a new rule stripping senators of their right to filibuster judicial nominations.

New York Times: Warner Holds Out Hope for End-of-Life Proposals
“Before the hubbub,” as Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, put it on Thursday, he was promoting the idea of government incentives intended to help Americans decide on medical care at the end of their lives.

Washington Post: Holder's Decision To Probe CIA Hints At a New Dynamic
About five weeks ago, faced with a crucial decision on how to react to brutal CIA interrogation practices, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. concluded that it would be all but impossible to follow President Obama's mandate to move forward, rather than investigate divisive episodes from the Bush "war on terror."

Washington Post: Late Senator's Staff Became The Other Kennedy Family
Behind each of Edward M. Kennedy's legislative victories was a vast coterie of staffers who became Washington legend.

Washington Post: Banks 'Too Big to Fail' Have Grown Even Bigger
When the credit crisis struck last year, federal regulators pumped tens of billions of dollars into the nation's leading financial institutions because the banks were so big that officials feared their failure would ruin the entire financial system.

Boston Globe: Galvin presents two dates for vote
Massachusetts voters would go to the polls either Jan. 19 or 26 to choose a successor to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, under an electoral calendar that the state’s chief election officer presented to Beacon Hill leaders yesterday.

Anchorage Daily News: SarahPAC taken to task by feds for illegal contributions
Former Gov. Sarah Palin's political action committee gave excessive contributions to two well-known Republicans and also is facing demands from the federal government for more detailed financial information on a number of fronts.

NATIONAL
For the latest national news: www.CNN.com.

CNN: Sheriff: Kidnap victim, children kept in backyard compound
An 11-year-old California girl snatched from the street in front of her house in 1991 had two children with the man accused of taking her and was forced along with the children to live in backyard sheds, police said Thursday.

CNN: Girl grew up locked away in backyard sheds
From the time she was an 11-year-old, blue-eyed, freckle-faced blonde until she was a 29-year-old woman with two children, Jaycee Dugard was kept locked away in a backyard compound of sheds and tarps by a couple police say abducted her.

CNN: Reward offered in killing of Oklahoma pastor
Investigators have offered a $10,000 reward in the killing of a pastor at an Oklahoma church, a crime the local prosecutor described as "horrific."

CNN: Documents: search of Jackson’s bedroom turned up marijuana
The first search of Michael Jackson’s bedroom a day after his death found marijuana, skin-bleaching and hair-growing ointments, anti-insomnia pills and empty bottles of several anti-anxiety drugs, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.

CNN: CNN Hero's work continues in parish devastated by Katrina
This year, the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will hold new meaning for Tina Caserta and her family.

CNN: NTSB calls for new air traffic rules over Hudson River
The rules governing air traffic over New York's Hudson River need to be rewritten to prevent another mishap like this month's fatal collision of a small plane and a sightseeing helicopter, federal safety investigators said Thursday.

New York Times: Seeking Cash, California Turns to a Tag Sale
Ever wanted to buy a used Chevrolet Cavalier signed by a budget-challenged governor? Now’s your chance!

New York Times: After Iowa Flood, Feeling Just a Bit Ignored
It was more than a year ago that the core of this city was submerged to its rooftops, a result of record flooding on the Cedar River that caused an estimated $6 billion in damage — among the most costly natural disasters since Hurricane Katrina.

USA TODAY: Americans are getting serious about swine flu
Americans are taking swine flu more seriously now than they did last spring, when the emerging pandemic began causing widespread illness and shuttering schools in several states, the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.

USA TODAY: Gadhafi's son: 'Why so angry' over release?
The son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says Scotland's release of the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing opens the way for trade deals between Britain and Libya.

INTERNATIONAL
For the latest international news: http://edition.cnn.com/

CNN: Official: Karzai, U.S. envoy have 'sharp exchanges'
Afghan President Hamid Karzai had "sharp exchanges" about the nation's recent election with Richard Holbrooke, America's top diplomat to the region, a senior administration official told CNN.

CNN: Uruguay nears same-sex adoption law
Uruguay drew one step closer to becoming the first country in Latin America to allow same-sex couples to adopt children with the passage of a bill by the lower house of Congress.

CNN: Disgruntled Japanese prepare to vote
The recession's latest victim in Japan may not be corporate earnings but the political careers of the ruling party in the country's parliament.

CNN: Germany warns Iran of sanctions
Iran has limited time to return to international talks on its nuclear program before it faces stiffer sanctions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters.

CNN: Saudi royal survives bomb at palace
A top Saudi official and member of the royal family survived an assassination attempt at his palace in Jeddah, according to the Royal Court.

New York Times: Afghan Youths Seek a New Life in Europe
On the edges of a Salvation Army soup line in Paris, a soft-spoken Afghan boy told the story recently of how he ended up in Europe, alone.

Wall Street Journal: Libya's Oil Boom Is Running Dry
The release of the Lockerbie bomber triggered speculation that British energy companies trying to access Libya's oil wealth could soon hit a bonanza. But in reality, Big Oil is already there, and its interest in Libya is cooling.

Wall Street Journal: New U.K. Army Chief Faces Two Battles: Taliban and Resources
When Gen. Sir David Richards takes over as head of the British army on Friday he inherits two battlefields: the war in Afghanistan, and a battle for resources between the U.K.'s military and government.

Los Angeles Times: Nuclear drive a casualty of Iran's turmoil
Iran's political crisis could prevent the nation from making any swift move to ratchet up its nuclear program, said analysts and officials, giving President Obama and Western allies more time to grapple with the issue.

BUSINESS
For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com.

CNNMoney: Act fast! Homebuyer tax credit ends soon
Use any metaphor you want: the ticking clock, sands running through the hourglass or pages falling away from the calendar. The fact is, time is running out to claim the $8,000 first-time homebuyers tax credit.

CNNMoney: Problem bank list tops 400
The number of institutions on the government's so-called "problem bank" list surpassed 400 in the latest quarter, climbing to its highest level in 15 years, according to a government report published Thursday.

Washington Post: SEC's About-Face Raises Eyebrows
Wall Street's top cop has found itself in an uncomfortable spot: arguing that the bad deed at the heart of one of its biggest cases of the year wasn't that bad.

Bloomberg: Japan’s Jobless Rate Hits Record 5.7% in Blow to Aso
Japan’s unemployment rate rose to a record 5.7 percent in July and deflation worsened, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Taro Aso on the eve of an election that polls indicate his ruling Liberal Democratic Party will lose.

In Case You Missed It
To watch the latest interviews and reporting: http://www.cnn.com/video.

CNN: 'Everyday was a perfect day'
Robert Kennedy Jr. talks about his uncle Teddy and remembers how he affected so many people.

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