The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
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CNN: White House Dispatch: Bush Cabinet official to visit Oval Office
President Obama has been known to occasionally criticize the Bush administration, but he's rolling out the red carpet for a member of the former President's Cabinet. On Friday, Mr. Obama is scheduled to sit down in the Oval Office with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. A White House official said the President and Rice have a "cordial relationship." As for what's on the agenda, the official added that "they'll talk about a range of foreign policy issues" during the meeting.
Las Vegas Sun: Harry Reid, Sharron Angle continue attacks at debate
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sharron Angle have been lobbing verbal stink bombs at each other over the airwaves for weeks, and in the hour they faced off at the Vegas PBS studios, they kept up the pattern. Angle pledged in her opening statement to highlight “the contrast” between her and Reid — and to that end, she took several direct shots at Reid, turning to him to say things like: “That’s nuts,” “You need to apologize” and perhaps the best of the night, “Man up, Harry Reid.” Reid chose instead to keep his face to the camera, even when defending himself against Angle’s attacks. He frequently called his “opponent” (he never uttered her name) a liar, and “extreme.” But for the most part, he tried to stick to substance, a move that makes sense for the candidate that’s the sitting senator.
CNN: White House Dispatch: Delaware matters
The Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate is leading by double digits in Delaware, but that isn't stopping President Obama and Vice President Biden from stumping for Chris Coons on Friday. Delaware's senatorial battle has gained national attention, and a debate between Coons and the Republican challenger Christine O'Donnell was broadcast live on CNN Wednesday night.
CNN: Obama faces tough questions from students
President Barack Obama heard young people speaking their minds Thursday at a respectful but challenging town hall-style event where he was asked tough questions by students who support and oppose him. "Oh, no!" Obama responded when told one of the more than 15,000 tweets submitted to the event said the greatest fear was his re-election. Other topics challenged him on the lack of bipartisanship in Washington since he came to power, illegal immigrants, high unemployment and racism.
CNN: Obama: Homosexuality is not a choice
President Barack Obama said Thursday that he believes homosexuality is not a choice, but the result of people being born with "a certain make-up." Asked directly if gay or transgender people have a choice or are born that way, Obama told a town-hall style event with students that he was no expert, then added: "I don't think it's a choice. I think people are born with a certain make-up."
New York Times: Tea Party Set to Win Enough Races for Wide Influence
Enough Tea Party-supported candidates are running strongly in competitive and Republican-leaning Congressional races that the movement stands a good chance of establishing a sizeable caucus to push its agenda in the House and the Senate, according to a New York Times analysis. With a little more than two weeks till Election Day, 33 Tea Party-backed candidates are in tossup races or running in House districts that are solidly or leaning Republican, and 8 stand a good or better chance of winning Senate seats.
CNN: Several House Democrats in tough races boast about breaking with Pelosi
Several House Democrats facing tough re-election contests are openly boasting about how little they agree with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Mississippi Congressman Travis Childers says in his latest campaign commercial, "The leaders of both parties in Washington are out of touch and I'm independent. I voted against Nancy Pelosi's agenda 267 times." Pennsylvania Democrat Mark Critz insists he's more in line with House Republican Leader John Boehner than Pelosi.
CNN: RGA breaks fundraising record
The Republican Governors Association reports that it raised $31 million over the past three months, bringing the amount of money it has brought in this year to $59 million. The RGA's haul is three times the amount that the Democratic Governors Association says it fundraised in the third quarter of this year. The RGA says that prior to 2010, it never raised more than $30 million in a single year. The RGA says it had $31.5 million cash on hand as of the end of September.
CNN: DCCC announces September fundraising boon
The National Democratic Campaign Committee is trumpeting its latest fundraising totals, announcing Wednesday that it raised $15.9 million last month, making September one of its strongest fundraising months in history, the group said. The DCCC said it plans to spend $60 million on campaigning and voter outreach in the final days of midterm elections.
Wall Street Journal: Democratic Funding Fades
A late effort by Democrats to match record fund raising by conservative organizations has come up short, leaving the party more reliant than usual on the campaign efforts of labor unions. A key pro-Democratic group, recently created by top party insiders to build a "firewall" around the Democrats' majority in the House, said Thursday it hoped to raise $10 million. That's a fraction of the $50 million that an alliance of GOP groups said Tuesday they would spend to help Republicans in dozens of House races.
CNN: NRSC to give another $1.8 million to Fiorina
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is committing an additional $1.8 million to Carly Fiorina's bid to unseat Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer, according to two Republican sources. This will bring the committee to $4.8 million invested which is the total amount allowed by federal election law in a coordinated campaign. The money is being shifted from Florida, where Republican candidate Marco Rubio seems to have solidified a strong lead.
Anchorage Daily News: Murkowski foes attack corporate donations
Both of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's opponents have attacked the money being spent by an independent coalition of Alaska Native regional corporations backing her write-in bid for U.S. Senate. Several regional corporations have contributed as much as $140,000 each for a total of $805,000 to Alaskans Standing Together, a new political action committee independent of Murkowski's campaign but established with the sole purpose of supporting her candidacy. The coalition also includes the Alaska Professional Fire Fighters Association and the National Education Association Alaska. It so far has spent $595,000 on television ads backing Murkowski.
CNN: Gutierrez says no to Chicago mayoral run
Cross a big name off the list of possible candidates in the Chicago mayor's race. Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) has decided not to throw his hat into the ring. In a speech at the University of Illinois-Chicago on Thursday, Gutierrez said he would not seek the city's top office.
CNN: Belief Blog: Nearly half of evangelical leaders have met their lawmakers
Nearly half of the nation's top evangelical Protestant leaders have met with their current senator or representative personally, according to a poll released Thursday by the National Association of Evangelicals. Some 48 percent of the group's board of directors have done so, while others have met congressional staffers or phoned or written to their elected officials, the survey found.
CNN: Obama's cybersecurity initiative mired in 'shortfalls,' audit says
More than a year after President Obama called for improved national cybersecurity, only two of his recommendations have been fully implemented and the remaining 22 have been only partially implemented, a federal audit said Thursday. Delays stem from federal agencies "moving slowly because they have not been assigned roles and responsibilities," the Government Accountability Office report said. Also, the position of a new cybersecurity policy official was vacant for seven months, auditors said.
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CNN: Judge rejects motion to dismiss 20 states' lawsuit against health care law
A federal judge in Florida on Thursday rejected a motion by the government to dismiss some counts of a multistate challenge to the sweeping health care reform signed into law by President Barack Obama earlier this year. The ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson means the lawsuit filed by attorneys general from Florida and 19 other states can proceed on questions of whether the health care law is constitutional in requiring citizens to obtain health care coverage or face financial penalties, as well as forcing states to expand Medicaid.
CNN: Justice department seeks stay of judge's 'don't-ask-don't-tell' ruling
The Justice Department requested an emergency stay Thursday of a federal judge's injunction stopping enforcement of the military's policy that bars gay men and lesbians from serving openly. Justice Department lawyers say they want the federal court in California to grant a stay of the injunction, which would remain in effect throughout the appeals process.
CNN: 2 found guilty of hate crimes related to death of immigrant
Two men on trial in a Pennsylvania federal court in connection with the beating death of an undocumented Mexican immigrant have been found guilty on all counts, including hate crimes. Derrick M. Donchak, 20, of Shenandoah, and Brandon J. Piekarsky, 18, of Shenandoah Heights, had previously been acquitted of murder charges in state court and convicted of simple assault.
Baltimore Sun: Baltimore teachers reject proposed contract
Baltimore teachers rejected a contract Thursday that would have provided six-figure salaries for an elite corps but would have tied the pay of all educators to how they perform in the classroom, a vague provision that caused discomfort for many union members. More than 2,000 educators represented by the Baltimore Teachers Union voted on the tentative agreement, which had been hailed as the most innovative in the nation since its details emerged two weeks ago. However, it proved to be one of the most contentious ever in Baltimore, with its overhaul of how teachers are compensated, promoted and evaluated.
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CNN: After a final day together, miners begin to disband
After a final day together, in the relative comfort of the regional hospital here, three of the 33 miners who lived trapped together for more than two months were discharged Thursday night, CNN Chile reported. CNN's sister network identified them as Juan Illanes, Edison Pena and Carlos Mamani. It aired video of several men and what appeared to be their families inside a red van departing the hospital grounds.
CNN: Another foreign troop dies in Afghanistan
Yet another coalition servicemember has been killed in Afghanistan, this time in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan. Friday's fatality brings to 15 the number of foreign troops who have died in Afghanistan in the last three days, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said.
New York Times: U.S. Uses Attacks to Nudge Taliban Toward a Deal
Airstrikes on Taliban insurgents have risen sharply here over the past four months, the latest piece in what appears to be a coordinated effort by American commanders to bleed the insurgency and pressure its leaders to negotiate an end to the war. American pilots pounded the Taliban with 2,100 bombs or missiles from June through September, with 700 in September alone, Air Force officers here said Thursday. That is an increase of nearly 50 percent over the same period last year, the records show.
CNN: Ahmadinejad, near Israel's border, slams the Jewish state
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traveled Thursday to the always tense Lebanese border with Israel, showered praise on Lebanon's unity and cranked up his trademark fiery rhetoric against his nemesis - the Jewish state. Ahmadinejad, making his first state visit to Lebanon, delivered a speech to the people of Bint Jbeil, a Hezbollah stronghold that endured much violence during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon.
CNN: The man who could be China's next president
When the Communist Party's elite meet in Beijing this weekend for the Central Committee's 5th plenary session, all eyes will be on China's Vice President Xi Jinping. Xi, 57, is expected to assume the presidency when Hu Jintao steps down after his second and final term in 2012. But whether Xi is on track to succeed Hu will depend on whether the plenum elects him vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, a powerful group that oversees the 2 million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA).
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CNN Money: CVS to pay $77.6 million in meth case
CVS Pharmacy Inc. has agreed to pay $77.6 million in fines and returned profits in a case alleging improper control in the sale of an ingredient used to make methamphetamine, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles said CVS, the largest operator of retail pharmacies, repeatedly failed to properly monitor sales of pseudophedrine, which is contained in some cold medicines and is also used to make meth.
In Case You Missed It
CNN's Anderson Cooper talks to a panel about the Nevada Senate race, which remains too close to call.
Rep. Mike Castle talks to CNN's John King about the Delaware Senate race and whether moderates have a place in the GOP.
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