December 2nd, 2009
04:38 AM ET
8 months ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: December 2, 2009

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: Obama Afghanistan strategy: More troops in quickly, drawdown in 2011
President Obama said Tuesday that the deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan is part of a strategy to reverse the Taliban's momentum and stabilize the country's government.

New York Times: Between the Lines, an Expansion in Pakistan
President Obama focused his speech on Afghanistan. He left much unsaid about Pakistan, where the main terrorists he is targeting are located, but where he can send no troops. …Yet quietly, Mr. Obama has authorized an expansion of the war in Pakistan as well — if only he can get a weak, divided, suspicious Pakistani government to agree to the terms.

CNN: Obama ally breaks with him on Afghanistan
Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky was one of President Obama's earliest and most ardent supporters. She served in the Illinois state legislature with him, and she supported his run for the U.S. Senate. But on the issue of Afghanistan, the president can't bank on the support of his longtime political ally.

Washington Post: District approves same-sex marriage
The D.C. Council voted overwhelming Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage in the District, a key step in a process that could enable gay couples to marry in the nation's capital by the spring.

The State: Sanford's aircraft use defended
Gov. Mark Sanford's attorneys argued the two-term Republican only used state aircraft for official business, adding lawmakers were "splitting hairs" over ethical violations – proof Sanford had done nothing to warrant his removal from office. Sanford's attorneys laid out their defense during a three-hour hearing examining the governor's use of state aircraft, the second of four scheduled House impeachment hearings.

New York Times: Senators Pitch to Women and Elderly on Health Bill
In a day of desultory debate on sweeping health care legislation, senators appealed to two potent political constituencies on Tuesday, with Democrats seeking additional medical benefits for women and Republicans vowing to preserve and protect Medicare for older Americans.

The Hill: New public option plan to be unveiled
A new measure on the public option will be unveiled next week, which Senate Democratic leaders hope will break the logjam on healthcare reform.

New York Times: American Indians Stand to Gain in Health Overhaul
The health care overhaul now being debated in Congress appears poised to bring the most significant improvements to the Indian health system in decades. After months of negotiations, provisions under consideration could, over time, direct streams of money to the Indian health care system and give Indians more treatment options.

Los Angeles Times: Prop. 8 foes seek initiative sponsors' internal records
Lawyers for two gay couples told a federal appeals court Tuesday that they need access to internal communications from last year's Proposition 8 campaign to show that the measure banning same-sex marriage was designed to sow "discriminatory animus" toward gays and lesbians.

Anchorage Daily News: New fight develops over rights of fetuses
A ballot initiative that sponsors hope will outlaw abortion in Alaska by declaring fetuses to be "legal persons" appears headed for a court fight.

Albany Times Union: Vote due on deficit reduction plan
Lawmakers are expected to pass a $2.8 billion deficit reduction package today after spending most of Tuesday fighting with the governor over procedure to pass the bills.

Washington Post: A new field of inquiry: Salahis' polo cup
Tareq and Michaele Salahi's signature social event, the annual Land Rover America's Polo Cup, bills itself as the "world's most prestigious and largest . . . charity polo event," benefiting the Salahi-run charity Journey for the Cure. Its next U.S. gala is scheduled for June on the Mall.

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

Seattle Times: E-mails show Washington state battled to keep Clemmons in custody
Documents released Tuesday show that a wide variety of state and local officials viewed Maurice Clemmons as a dangerous man, and wanted desperately to keep him in custody. But Washington officials encountered resistance from an unlikely source — their correctional colleagues in Arkansas.

Miami Herald: Rothstein `fraud' funded campaign donations
A month after the Scott Rothstein scandal broke, prosecutors charged him with masterminding South Florida's biggest financial fraud in memory. More than $2 million of the stolen money was donated to politicians and parties.

Boston Globe: Philanthropist got $1b in fake profit, Madoff trustee says
The trustee in the Madoff case has identified 2,568 investors who could be forced to return money, with Boston philanthropist Carl Shapiro one of the biggest among them.

Houston Chronicle: Some toy drives check immigration status
They don't claim to know who's been naughty or nice, but some Houston charities are asking whether children are in the country legally before giving them toys.

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

The Guardian: Iran releases British sailors
The five British sailors being held in Iran have been freed after an interrogation by authorities found they had entered Iranian waters by mistake, according to Iran's official IRNA news agency.

New York Times: Iran’s Plan to Phase Out Subsidies Brings Frenzied Debate
The outside world may be focused on Iran’s intensifying confrontation with the West over its nuclear program. But at home, Iranians are more concerned with an ambitious and risky new effort to overhaul the country’s troubled economy.

BBC news: Australian Senate rejects Kevin Rudd's climate plan
Australia's Senate has rejected a bill on the government's flagship climate change policy for a second time. … Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had hoped to have the legislation passed by next week's Copenhagen summit on climate change.

NPR: South Africa's Zuma: We Shall Not Submit To AIDS
South Africa will treat all HIV-positive babies and expand AIDS testing, the president announced Tuesday, a dramatic and eagerly awaited shift in a country that has more people living with HIV than any other.

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

CNNMoney: GM chief Fritz Henderson resigns
In a surprise move, General Motors chief executive Fritz Henderson resigned Tuesday, giving the battered government-owned automaker its third boss in less than a year.

Bloomberg: Estate Trust Strategy May Save Taxes for Wealthy on Asset Gains
Wealthy individuals who would rather give money to their children than the government may have a limited opportunity to put some assets in trusts that let them transfer wealth tax-free.

Wall Street Journal: Google to Let Publishers Set Limits
Google Inc. said Tuesday it will let publishers set a daily limit on the number of articles readers can view for free through the Internet giant's search engine. The change, which will let publishers limit readers to five free articles per day, comes as news executives step up their war of words against Google, which they claim is pocketing advertising profits on the back of their free content.

Bloomberg: AIG’s ‘Tainted Brand’ in U.K. Damages Life Unit Before Sale
American International Group Inc. suffered an 87 percent quarterly sales decline at its European life business as U.K. clients abandoned the firm, draining value from operations the insurer is selling to repay a U.S. bailout.

Wall Street Journal: SEC Steps Up Insider-Trading Probes
The Securities and Exchange Commission has sent at least three dozen subpoenas to hedge funds and brokerages within the past month in an expanding sweep of potential insider-trading violations, according to people familiar with the matter.

In Case You Missed It

Obama's Afghanistan plan
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2009/12/01/obama.afghan.speech.cnn

Argentina gay marriage blocked
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2009/12/01/byrnes.argentina.gay.marriage.cnn

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