The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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CNNMoney: Senate delayed on Wall Street reform
Senate Democrats failed to muster enough votes Monday to take up Wall Street reform, with a key Democrat voting with Republicans against the push to get the debate started. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., voted against a proposal to officially start debating the Wall Street reform legislation before other lawmakers on a Senate Banking panel negotiate a deal. That move made it impossible for Democrats to get 60 votes to push the legislation forward. The official vote was 57-41 in favor of moving forward.
CNN: Durbin hits GOP, says 'filibusters have to end'
Just hours after Senate Republicans succeeded in blocking debate on a Wall Street reform bill Monday, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin slammed the GOP for refusing to act, saying "the filibusters have to end." But even at this late hour, the Illinois Democrat said he is still open to Republican input.
CNN: DeMint defends GOP opposition to current Wall St. bill
A Republican who sits on the Senate Banking Committee defended his party’s lockstep opposition to the current version of the financial regulatory reform bill but said he thinks the GOP and Democrats can ultimately reach agreement on how best to oversee Wall Street. All 41 Senate Republicans voted against a motion Monday that would have started debate on the financial regulatory reform bill.
Investors Business Daily: Election Concerns Spur Dem Leaders To Revamp Agenda
With polls giving Democrats a dire prognosis for their efforts to save their congressional majority, the leadership has responded by performing emergency surgery on the legislative agenda. Democrats are hopeful that the moves will please their base and help individual members reverse their slide in the polls. But the last-minute changes also dim the odds that Congress will get much else done this year. The danger of this approach became apparent Monday. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., joined Republicans in filibustering the Democrats' financial reform bill, blocking movement on the legislation, at least temporarily.
CQ Politics: GOP Treads Lightly in Efforts to Clear Fields
In the past, both parties have had mixed success in their efforts to covertly, or not so covertly, clear crowded primaries for their best prospects in some of the most competitive House races. But with the anti-establishment sentiment among voters inflamed this cycle, both local and national GOP leaders are being forced to tiptoe — if at all — to show some candidates the exit for fear of triggering a backlash from local activists.
Los Angeles Times: Obama to talk recovery efforts in Midwest tour
In a two-day swing through Illinois, Missouri and Iowa that begins Tuesday, President Obama will visit communities hit hard by the recession and tour two biofuel plants as he rolls out a special version of his election-year pitch aimed at rural America. In tow will be Cabinet members and advisors from the Midwest, all armed with a new White House report that touts success in many of the president's initiatives to help the rural economy and that points to the potential effect of proposals still in the works. As part of his so-called White House to Main Street tour, Obama will talk about the security and national economic interests at stake in his efforts to promote the use of biofuels — and about how they would help agricultural areas.
CNN: McCain defends Arizona's immigration law
Sen. John McCain defended his state's controversial immigration law, arguing Monday on the Senate floor that Arizona needed to approve the tough new measure to ensure the safety of its citizens. McCain is locked in tough primary battle, and immigration has become a central issue.
CNN: New immigration law won't hurt economy, Arizona governor says
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday deflected concerns that the state's new immigration law will hurt economic development, saying many businesses have long wanted tougher action. The law, scheduled to go into effect 90 days after the close of the state's legislative session, would require immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times. Critics say the law could foster racial profiling and prompt businesses, conventions and tourists to stay away from the state.
San Francisco Chronicle: San Francisco calling for a boycott of Arizona
San Francisco's supervisors are calling for a sweeping boycott of Arizona in the wake of that state's harsh new rules aimed at illegal immigrants. A resolution that will go before the board Tuesday will call for San Francisco to end any and all contracts with Arizona-based companies and to stop doing business with the state. There's no way to tell yet how a boycott of Arizona would affect San Francisco.
The Hill: Immigration push may help Dems in the West
An aggressive and polarizing push for comprehensive immigration reform could bolster the chances of vulnerable House Democrats who need a high Latino turnout to keep their seats this fall. The move to thrust immigration ahead of climate change legislation on the Senate agenda has been seen as a strategy to boost the imperiled reelection bid of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). But its impact could extend well beyond Nevada to House and Senate races in Western states where Latino voters make up an increasingly large percentage of the electorate.
CQ Politics: If It’s Coats Vs. Ellsworth, Weigh the Baggage
Republican officials in Indiana and Washington expect former Sen. Dan Coats (R) to win a Senate primary next week, setting up an intriguingly competitive November contest with Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth that will pit two candidates with contrasting backgrounds at different stages in their political careers. Though both candidates have major strengths — Coats, 66, is a respected former officeholder and Ellsworth, 51, is a telegenic former sheriff — the election will measure how well they overcome their political liabilities.
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Boyd out as Republican candidate
The Georgia Republican Party has denied Ray Boyd’s attempt to run for governor after the political newcomer refused Monday to sign their loyalty oath. In a polite but tense showdown at the state Capitol, party attorney Anne Lewis told Boyd that since he refused to sign the oath, “we’re unable to qualify you.” Boyd said he will immediately begin preparations to run as an independent. Last week he participated in a Republican candidates’ debate, but meanwhile had already began a dispute with state party leaders over their requirement that he pledge allegiance to the party.
Baltimore Sun: Governor to launch re-election campaign
As Gov. Martin O'Malley kicks off his re-election campaign on Tuesday, his arguments may have a familiar feel. Many of the same issues that he and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown rode to victory four years ago are poised to return. The O'Malley-Brown team faces a challenge from former Calvert County Del. George Owings in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, but that contest is widely expected to be a warm-up for a rematch against former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, in the Nov. 2 general election. Unlike 2006, when O'Malley — then mayor of Baltimore — ousted Ehrlich in a hotly contested battle, the Republican will not be carrying the burden of a deeply unpopular president of his own party.
Dallas Morning News: Perry refuses debate until White releases income tax returns
Gov. Rick Perry is refusing to debate Bill White unless the Democratic challenger releases income tax returns covering his years in public office. White campaign spokeswoman Katy Bacon said the Republican governor just doesn’t want to debate. Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the issue is White opening himself to scrutiny. Perry has been in statewide office since 1991 and has released his returns, although they reveal few specifics because the governor has put his assets in a blind trust.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Rohrer plugging away at Corbett in race for governor
In this famously Republican place, Tom Corbett, the frontrunner for the party's gubernatorial nomination, gave a speech on an all-but-empty porch while Sam Rohrer, his single-digit opponent, packed two halls. To date, no one has predicted a Rohrer breakthrough. Still, his insurgent candidacy has captivated pro-lifers, tea partiers and states-rights advocates in a way that made a pro forma primary a test of what conservative principles the state's generally moderate GOP will embrace and how hard it will hug.
The State: Democratic party seeks to redefine itself
Often, to be a Democrat in South Carolina is to accept defeat. Sometimes, defeat is accepted before the race begins. As S.C. Democrats convened in Columbia Saturday to build enthusiasm for their candidates, some contemplated how the consummate underdog party could turn the tide and create a true two-party state in South Carolina. Such a shift would be better for all South Carolinians, some Democrats argue. What's needed, according to Columbia attorney Dick Harpootlian, who served as chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party from 1998 to 2003, is aggressive fundraising and an even more aggressive approach toward the GOP.
CNN: Poll: Two-thirds support stricter financial regulations
Hours before a showdown in the Senate over the Democrats financial reform legislation, a new national poll indicates that nearly two-thirds of Americans support stricter regulations of banks and Wall Street firms. According to a ABC News/Washington Post survey released Monday morning, 65 percent of the public supports stricter federal regulations on the way banks and other financial institutions conduct their business, with 31 percent opposed. A majority of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted last month also favored greater government regulation of banks and other financial institutions.
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CNN: High court accepts case over violent video games
A free speech dispute over a California law banning sale of violent video games to children will go to the Supreme Court for review. The justices Monday accepted the state's appeal and will decide whether the law is too restrictive in denying access by minors to often-graphic material. Video-game makers say the ban goes too far. They say the existing nationwide, industry-imposed, voluntary ratings system is an adequate screen for parents to judge the appropriateness of computer games.
CNN: Court: Wal-Mart gender pay lawsuit can go to trial
A federal appeals court has certified the largest class-action employment lawsuit in U.S. history, in a long-standing dispute against retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. over alleged gender bias in pay and promotions. The divided 6-5 ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday allows the combined, multiparty litigation to move ahead to trial, where a decision against the company could result in billions in damages. The Arkansas chain of stores has the option of appealing Monday's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court for review.
Arizona Republic: Arizona police officer training to start gearing up
The Arizona agency in charge of providing training guidelines for more than 15,000 Arizona police officers will seek ideas from local police and federal authorities on enforcement training for the nation's toughest state immigration law. The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board will consider suggestions as simple as 5- to 10-minute videos that police supervisors can play for their squad during daily briefings and as complex as additional sensitivity training to curb the potential for racial profiling.
Houston Chronicle: Many potential fire violations found offshore
Even before the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, government investigators had cited myriad potential safety violations involving fires aboard other offshore drilling rigs and platforms that resulted in more than 20 injuries and two deaths since 2007, records and statistics show. Although an official cause of the accident has not been determined, a critical unanswered question is exactly what triggered the fire, including the possibility of worker error, and whether it could have been prevented or contained by any safety or fire fighting measures.
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Washington Post: Mexican officials condemn Arizona's tough new immigration law
President Felipe Calderón on Monday vigorously condemned a tough new immigration law in Arizona that requires police to question anyone who appears to be in the country illegally - a measure Calderón said "opens the door to intolerance and hatred." Mexican officials reacted with swift and near-universal condemnation, warning that the law could harm trade, tourism and bilateral relations. The U.S.-Mexico border is the busiest in the world, with approximately 350 million crossings per year. Daily two-way movement of goods amounts to about $1 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
CNN: Noriega extradited to France
Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was put on a plane to France on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed extradition orders. Clinton signed a surrender warrant, the last step making Noriega's extradition possible, State Department spokesman Charles Luoma-Overstreet said. France has been seeking to prosecute Noriega for allegedly using its banking system to launder drug money.
Bloomberg: Merkel Tells Greece, Euro Region That Bailout Isn’t a Done Deal
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hit the campaign trail with a warning to Greece and the rest of the euro region that a bailout of the debt-stricken nation isn’t a done deal. Greece is paying the price for Merkel’s bid to keep her coalition in control of Germany’s biggest state and ease voters’ anger about having to help fund a $60 billion bailout. Greek bonds plunged yesterday as Germany’s reluctance to guarantee funds stoked concern that a rescue package co-financed by the euro region and the International Monetary Fund could still fall apart.
CNN: Thai PM says he is seeking political resolution to opposition standoff
Thailand's prime minister said Monday that his government is working to achieve normalcy in the country amid massive opposition protests, but warned it will take "time, patience and cooperation" from all parties involved. Thousands of anti-government protesters have brought Thailand's capital to a standstill this month as they seek to unseat Abhisit's government, which they say is illegitimate and undemocratic - accusations that Abhisit on Monday called "unfounded."
New York Times: Election Ruling in Iraq Favors Prime Minister as Crisis Grows
Seven weeks after Iraqis went to the polls, a special elections court disqualified a winning parliamentary candidate, most likely reversing the narrow defeat of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s alliance and possibly allowing him the first chance to form a new coalition government. Iraqi officials now grimly predict that there might not be a new government in place by the [September 2010] deadline, putting the Obama administration in the difficult position of deciding whether to press ahead with its plans despite the political uncertainty here.
CNN: Sudan president wins election, officials say
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir won the country's controversial but historic presidential election with roughly two-thirds of the vote, the National Election Commission said Monday. The elections were the first in 24 years in the oil-rich African nation, which has been riven by fighting in Darfur and a civil war between north and south. The United States and other international observers criticized the elections, saying there were irregularities in many parts of the country.
BBC News: Dead Kaczynski's twin to run for Poland president
The twin brother of Poland's former president, who was killed in a plane crash in Russia this month, says he will run to be elected in his place. Jaroslaw Kaczynski said he would stand in the 20 June presidential election despite his "personal pain", in order to continue his brother's mission.
The Guardian: Nick Clegg: I could work with Labour, just not Gordon Brown
Nick Clegg hurriedly revised the Liberal Democrat post-election negotiating position today by insisting that he had not ruled out a possible deal with Labour in a hung parliament. However, he said that if Labour came third in share of the vote – with polls suggesting that is a distinct possibility – he did not believe that Gordon Brown could remain as prime minister. His clarification marks a shift from the weekend when he appeared to suggest Labour would have forfeited the right to govern if it came third on 6 May. His remarks had alarmed some on the progressive left who argued that he was in danger of reducing the anti-Tory tactical vote.
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CNNMoney: Top 10 mortgage fraud states
Mortgage fraud is still on the rise, according to a report released Monday, despite efforts by law enforcement and policy makers to rein it in. The jump in mortgage fraud is a troubling trend, given that it played a big role in setting the housing crisis in motion, with mortgage professionals doing things like listing false income claims for borrowers, and overstating a home's appraised value.
CNNMoney: Economists: The stimulus didn't help
The recovery is picking up steam as employers boost payrolls, but economists think the government's stimulus package and jobs bill had little to do with the rebound, according to a survey released Monday. In latest quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics, the index that measures employment showed job growth for the first time in two years - but a majority of respondents felt the fiscal stimulus had no impact.
Bloomberg: Stock Volume May Be First Casualty When Tourre Visits Congress
Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive director who predicted in 2007 he would be “standing in the middle” as subprime securities collapsed, will be the center of attention on Wall Street [Tuesday]. Equities volume may suffer as investors tune in for Tourre’s appearance before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations sometime after 10 a.m. in Washington. Tiger Woods’ Feb. 19 press conference on his marital troubles pushed New York Stock Exchange trading to the lowest level of the day. The saga has mesmerized Wall Street since the suit was publicized April 16. Trading volume on all U.S. stock exchanges jumped to 13.9 billion shares that day, the most since May, boosted also by the expiration of options contracts.
USA Today: Obama to Muslim world: A 'new beginning' has started
President Obama said tonight that the U.S. will set up exchange programs with business people throughout the Muslim world as part of the overall outreach program he outlined last year. The exchange programs will include business opportunities in Silicon Valley, technology, telecommunications, health care, education and infrastructure, Obama told the summit that included delegates from the U.S. and Muslim countries.
Wall Street Journal: States Bristle as Investors Make Wagers on Defaults
As U.S. cities and towns wrestle with financial problems, investors are finding a new way to profit on their misery: by buying derivatives that essentially bet municipalities will default. They became available a few years ago for municipal debt, allowing investors to short sell—or bet against—countless cities, towns and bridges, and more than a dozen states, including California, Michigan and New York. The proliferation of the derivatives is angering treasurers around the country, who say the derivatives are sending a negative message and possibly driving up their costs of borrowing at a time when they need all the help they can get. California planned to send out letters as soon as this week to big Wall Street firms that sell its bonds, seeking in-depth information about their roles in selling derivatives.
Washington Post: Presidential commission to address rising national debt
A presidential commission will convene Tuesday at the White House to address what leaders of both parties agree is one of the greatest threats to the country's economic future: the rising national debt. Official forecasts suggest that without sharp changes in federal spending or tax collections, the United States could enter into a downward spiral of indebtedness that by the end of this decade would erode the country's ability to educate its children, care for the elderly or mount a robust national defense. Republicans and Democrats alike say the fiscal challenges have been too long ignored.
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