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.
For the latest political news:
CNN Poll: Romney at top of the GOP field
Hours before a major showdown in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination, a new national poll indicates that nearly one in four Republicans say they would most likely support Mitt Romney as their party's nominee. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, the former Massachusetts governor, who's making his second bid for his party's presidential nomination, grabbed the support of 24 percent of Republicans and independent voters who lean toward the GOP, with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin at 20 percent, ahead of the rest of the field.
CNN: The seven GOP contenders in CNN's Monday debate
NN will hold the first Republican presidential debate in the critical early voting state of New Hampshire at 8 p.m. ET on Monday. With the 2012 election a little less than a year and a half away, there are still prominent Republicans who have yet to make a decision on whether they'll make a run for the White House but other contenders have been running for months. Here's a look at the seven people who will share the stage at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.
CNN: Pawlenty takes a swing at 'Obamneycare'
Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty stepped up his attacks on Mitt Romney Sunday, labeling the current health care law "Obamneycare" for its similarities to the plan instituted in Massachusetts while Romney was governor. …The former Minnesota governor previously tiptoed around criticism of Romney's health care plan and the new attack line is the most direct shot at his rival. The two will meet for the first time on a debate stage Monday in New Hampshire.
CNN: Party bosses battle over Weiner scandal
In a heated debate on NBC's "Meet the Press," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that "for the first 10 days" of the scandal, "the only job (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi was interested in saving was Anthony Weiner's." Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz fired back that Priebus' argument failed "the straight-face test." The debate came the same day that TMZ published photos of Weiner, in various states of undress, which he apparently took of himself in a locker room.
Los Angeles Times: Missing Iraq money may have been stolen, auditors say
After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the George W. Bush administration flooded the conquered country with so much cash to pay for reconstruction and other projects in the first year that a new unit of measurement was born. Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time. …For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error.
For the latest national news:
CNN: As Arizona wildfire rages, officials allow some to return home
Firefighters made inroads into the massive wildfire in eastern Arizona Sunday, as authorities said the threat of spreading flames had decreased enough to allow thousands of residents in some of the hardest-hit areas to return home. "After consulting with fire officials, it has been determined that the fire risk has diminished enough that it will no longer be a threat to the citizens of the towns," said Cmdr. Webb Hogle of the Apache County Sheriff's Office.
New York Times: F.B.I. Agents Get Leeway to Push Privacy Bounds
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention. The F.B.I. soon plans to issue a new edition of its manual, called the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, according to an official who has worked on the draft document and several others who have been briefed on its contents.
Sports Illustrated: LeBron, Heat's failure something Dirk, Mavericks know all too well
What was the difference between the world's most talented player and the champion? There is nothing [LeBron] James cannot do on a basketball court. And yet there was nothing he could do to prevent [Dirk] Nowitzki's Mavericks from coming back to win Games 2 and 4 on their way to winning the final three games of the season.
CNN: Yucca Mountain report defends and slams NRC chairman
A House subcommittee on Tuesday will hold a hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko's handling of the administration's decision to kill Yucca Mountain. At issue: Did Jaczko, an opponent of the Yucca Mountain plan, give the administration an assist, unilaterally and improperly ending the NRC's consideration of the Yucca Mountain proposal, further sealing its fate? Prior to his appointment to the NRC, Jaczko was a top aide to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Reid had vowed that Yucca Mountain would never open.
For the latest international news:
CNN: New post says Syrian 'Gay Girl' blogger is a hoax
A new post on the "A Gay Girl in Damascus" blog that has been reported to belong to a Syrian-American woman claimed Sunday that her dramatic story is, in fact, a hoax. …All previous posts, which began appearing in February, had been attributed either to "Amina Abdallah," the outspoken Syrian-American woman, or her cousin, "Rania Ismail." Abdallah was reported on the blog to have been abducted last week and her alleged disappearance prompted online campaigns demanding her release.
CNN: Jordan's King Abdullah II announces sweeping reforms
Jordan's King Abdullah II announced sweeping reforms in a nationally televised address Sunday, promising to establish a parliamentary majority government - a key demand of protesters calling for changes to the regime. …The king also announced economic reforms, including changes to the country's tax system in order to "raise the level of competitiveness, enhance the atmosphere for investment, secure work opportunities for youth and maintain the state's active, observatory role in an open market economy."
Washington Post: Militants linked to al-Qaeda emboldened in Yemen
Islamist extremists, many suspected of links to al-Qaeda, are engaged in an intensifying struggle against government forces for control of southern Yemen, taking advantage of a growing power vacuum to create a stronghold near vital oil-shipping lanes, said residents and Yemeni and U.S. officials. Over the past few weeks, the militants have swiftly taken over two towns, including Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, and surrounding areas and appear to be pushing farther south, said Yemeni security officials and residents.
Bloomberg: Christine Lagarde Leads Agustin Carstens in IMF Race as Nominations Close
Christine Lagarde, who has taken her campaign to head the International Monetary Fund to India and China while keeping her fans posted on Twitter, may be poised to defeat her main rival, Agustin Carstens. With hours before the deadline to submit nominees, the French finance minister has the backing of European Union countries, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has voiced his support. Carstens, Mexico’s central bank governor, says he’s backed by 12 Latin American nations while he hasn’t garnered endorsements from Argentina and Brazil.
For the latest business news:
CNNMoney: Stocks: Losing streak meets economic reports
Wall Street faces a data-heavy schedule this week that is expected to bring more volatility to a market full of investors weary from six consecutive weeks of losses. The government will release its closely watched May retail sales report on Tuesday and consumer inflation data on Wednesday. That's only two of the dozen or so reports investors will have to work through.
Wall Street Journal: Citi Defends Delay in Disclosing Hacking
Citigroup Inc. waited as long as three weeks to notify credit-card customers of a hacking attack because it was conducting an investigation and producing replacement cards, according to a person familiar with the situation. The internal investigation took 10 to 12 days and began within 24 hours of the discovery by Citigroup officials in early May that the New York bank's systems had been breached, this person said. In some cases, Citigroup took action to protect accounts considered vulnerable to fraud.
Financial Times: Online sales tax battle looms in US
Amazon and Ebay, two of the biggest names in online retail, have staked out contrary positions in a debate over the taxation of US internet shopping, which enables many buyers to escape paying sales tax. The US does not have a federal tax law on internet commerce, but since 2008 seven states have changed their laws in an effort to make Amazon and others collect sales tax from customers.
In Case You Missed It…
CNN's Lisa Sylvester reports on the new photos of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the progress she has made.