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: Palin kicks off book tour amid fresh speculation of a White House bid
A political rock star welcome and adoring chants of "Go Sarah" greeted Sarah Palin at a Phoenix bookstore as the former Alaska governor kicked off her latest book tour that, to some, also looks like a much hyped, early bid for the White House. Palin's book, "America by Heart," went on sale Tuesday. The former 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee appeared at a Barnes & Noble Bookstore shaking hands, chatting up supporters and signing books. At one point, Palin was even seen doing what's become essentially customary for any presidential hopeful: cooing over a baby.
Boston Globe: N.H. still not showing up on Palin’s radar
Sarah Palin seems to be everywhere these days. She stars on her reality TV series, pontificates on the Fox News Channel, tours the country making speeches and endorsements, and conspicuously cheers her daughter’s appearances on “Dancing with the Stars.’’ But as Palin launched a book tour this week in what is widely seen as a test run for a presidential bid, one stop is notably missing: the first-primary state of New Hampshire. Palin’s decision to bypass the Granite State — as she did during this year’s elections and on a book tour last year — has surprised those who monitor prospective candidates for telltale clues of presidential intentions. And many possible contenders are already making multiple stops in New Hampshire.
CNN: Senator pushes bill to allow states to opt out of health care law
A leading advocate of states' ability to opt out of federal health care mandates told CNN's "Parker Spitzer" show on Tuesday that a recent bill he co-authored would foster bipartisanship and "encourage innovation [in health-care] right out of the gate." Democrat Senator Ron Wyden joined Republican Scott Brown in introducing the "Empower States to Innovate Act" last week. It would alter the current health bill to allow states to opt-out of federal mandates by 2014 if they are able to satisfy the level of services and coverage provided under existing federal law.
CNN: GOP gains 63 in House
Incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei has conceded the race for his House seat in New York's 25th Congressional district to Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle. Buerkle's win gives Republicans a net gain of 63 seats in the House. It also makes New York the state with the most GOP House pickups– six districts changed sides in the 2010 midterms. Republicans picked up five seats in Ohio and Pennsylvania respectively. New York still has one Congressional race undecided– the 1st District race between Democratic incumbent Timothy Bishop and Republican Randy Altschuler. Two other House races remain unresolved in California's 20th and 11th districts.
CNN: Tea Party roadmap to hit shelves
Senator-elect Rand Paul is coming to a bookstore near you with a Tea Party roadmap. "The Tea Party Goes to Washington" is scheduled to hit shelves in February and outline the future Republican Kentucky senator's plan for the Tea Party. The release will coincide with the new session of Congress. "This latest victory for Rand is also a major victory for the Tea Party, and in his new book, Rand will literally take the Tea Party to Washington," Center Street publishers said in a statement.
CNN: Recount in Minnesota Gov. race
For the second straight time in a statewide election, there will be a recount in a major race in Minnesota. The State Canvassing Board Tuesday formally cleared the way for a recount in the razor-thin Governor's race between Democratic Farmer Labor Party candidate Mark Dayton and Republican state lawmaker Tom Emmer. Just 8,770 votes separate the two, with Dayton leading by less than one-half of one percent.
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CNN: Security protest could bring nationwide delays at airports
One of the busiest travel days of the year could become even more frenzied Wednesday as protests are planned at airports all over the nation. Protesters are calling the day before Thanksgiving "National Opt-Out Day," and are urging travelers who are selected for the full body scan using advanced imaging technology to refuse the procedure. If a large number of people refuse the full body scans, they will have to take a more time-consuming "enhanced" pat down procedure. A mass opt-out could cause more delays at the already backed up airports Wednesday.
CNN: Pistole explains 8-month delay in responding to underwear bomb threat
If the threat of underwear bombs became known last Christmas, why did airport screeners only recently begin aggressively checking for them? The answer is two-fold, Transportation Security Administration Director John Pistole told reporters Tuesday. First, the lack of a permanent leader at the TSA hindered change, he said. Secondly, the agency needed time to train screeners on the new pat-down protocols. The threat of hidden bombs became instantly clear on December 25, 2009, Pistole said, when authorities arrested Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, a Nigerian man, after his failed attempt to ignite his hidden explosive on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan.
Detroit News: State agencies scramble to fill retirement openings
Key state agencies are scrambling to fill openings after nearly 4,800 state employees — 40 percent more than anticipated — opted for early retirement at the end of this year. In the Department of Human Services, record welfare loads had workers juggling 700 to 1,000 cases each before the retirements. .. The higher-than-expected retirements mean the cash-strapped state will probably save more than the $60 million officials anticipated when they offered the incentives to address chronic budget deficits. But they could also mean short-term pain for residents and incoming Gov. Rick Snyder as the state tries to hire and train replacements.
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CNN: After North Korean strike, South Korean leader threatens 'retaliation'
Hours after North Korea's deadly artillery attacks Tuesday, South Korea's president said "enormous retaliation" is needed to stop Pyongyang's incitement, but international diplomats urgently appealed for restraint. "The provocation this time can be regarded as an invasion of South Korean territory," President Lee Myung-bak said at the headquarters of the Joint Chiefs of Staff here, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency. The incident - in which two South Korean marines died - is "the first direct artillery attack on South Korean territory since the Korean War ended in an armistice" in 1953, Yonhap reported.
CNN: U.S. drills with S. Korea to follow N. Korean shelling
The United States said Wednesday that it will dispatch an aircraft carrier to hold exercises with South Korea starting this weekend, but it stressed that the drills were planned well before North Korea shelled South Korea on Tuesday. "The USS George Washington carrier strike group will join Republic of Korea naval forces in the waters west of the Korean peninsula from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 to conduct the next exercise in the series announced at the 2+2 meetings in July," U.S. Forces Korea said. "This exercise is defensive in nature. While planned well before yesterday's unprovoked artillery attack, it demonstrates the strength of the ROK-U.S. alliance and our commitment to regional stability through deterrence. It is also designed to improve our military interoperability."
CNN: 29 miners confirmed dead after New Zealand mine explosion
All 29 miners trapped underground in a New Zealand mine are dead, the official in charge of a the rescue attempt said Wednesday. Gary Knowles, superintendent of Tasman Police Command, announced the deaths to the families. During the rescue attempt, air released from drilling into the mine contained high levels of carbon monoxide and methane but little oxygen, according to police officials.
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CNN Money: Fed predicts weak recovery for several years
The Federal Reserve slashed its outlook for the U.S. economy for this year and 2011 and projected that it could take several years for the economy to return to health. According to minutes from the Fed's November 3 meeting released Tuesday, more than half of the central bank's policymakers thought it would take about five or six years for unemployment, growth and inflation to return to more normal levels. Other Fed members warned the full recovery could take even longer than that.
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