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: Blue Dog Democrats urge the deficit panel to think big
Calls for a special congressional committee to work out a comprehensive deficit reduction deal increased Wednesday, with a group of fiscally conservative House Democrats sending the panel a letter encouraging its members to "go big."
CNN: NY, NV special elections: A big victory or no big deal?
Are the GOP victories in the House contests in Nevada's 2nd District and New York's 9th District a sign of things to come in next year's elections, or were they local contests dominated by local issues that don't really serve as a barometer for 2012?
New York Times: Seeing Ripple in Jewish Vote
Sensing trouble, the Obama campaign and Democratic Party leaders have mobilized to solidify the president’s standing with Jewish voters. The Democratic National Committee has established a Jewish outreach program. The campaign is singling out Jewish groups, donors and other supporters with calls and e-mails to counter the Republican narrative that Mr. Obama is hostile to Israel.
CNN: White House role questioned in stimulus loan for failed solar company
Federal analysts looking at a proposed loan to a solar energy company in 2009 warned then of possible problems, as well as pressure from the White House to speed up a decision, according to a memorandum released Wednesday by a House committee.
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CNN: Marine to receive Medal of Honor at White House
Two years ago, Dakota Meyer repeatedly ran through enemy fire to recover the bodies of fellow American troops during a firefight in Afghanistan. On Thursday, the Marine will receive the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama at the White House. Meyer will be the first living Marine to be recognized for actions in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Washington Post: SAT reading scores drop to lowest point in decades
SAT reading scores for graduating high school seniors this year reached the lowest point in nearly four decades, reflecting a steady decline in performance in that subject on the college admissions test, the College Board reported Wednesday.
Wall Street Journal: Oil Drilling Rebounds in Gulf After Spill
The Gulf of Mexico has staged a comeback as a source of oil for big energy companies, little more than a year after the Obama administration largely shut down drilling in the wake of the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. …Drilling has returned to near-normal levels in the Gulf.
CNN: The five things you need to know about the HPV debate
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested that parents have their middle-school-aged daughters vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease closely linked to cervical cancer. …So, why is there such a debate swirling around the issue? Well, politics.
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CNN: What do Kabul attacks signal in the fight for Afghanistan's future?
Analysts are now questioning whether this attack, alongside another on units of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Wardak province over the weekend and a deadly assault on the British Council last month, signals a shift in strategy by the Taliban and what the significance of that might be.
CNN: Residents flee Gadhafi stronghold ahead of anticipated showdown
Libya's interim leaders gave residents in Bani Walid a 48-hour notice to leave as it dispatched hundreds of fighters to reinforce troops struggling to take the loyalist stronghold.
CNN: Iran court says it is considering bail for American hikers
The Iranian judiciary said Wednesday it is considering a request for setting bail in the case of two American hikers convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison. …The statement, posted on the judiciary's website, seems to contradict accounts previously given by the hikers' attorney and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
CNN: Heavy rains, floods kill 233, affect 5.5 million in Pakistan
Heavy rains and flooding have killed at least 233 people in Pakistan, a disaster agency spokesman said Wednesday, as a weather forecast calls for more rain over deluged parts of the country.
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CNNMoney: Stocks rally on hopes for Greece
Stocks ended sharply higher Wednesday following a choppy start, after key European leaders calmed jittery investors by insisting that Greece would remain a eurozone member and would achieve its fiscal targets.
Detroit Free Press: No new contracts: Chrysler, UAW extend agreement; GM to continue talks in morning
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne rebuked UAW President Bob King late Wednesday, blaming the need to continue Chrysler’s current contract for another week on the UAW leader’s absence from the automaker’s last-minute negotiations.
Financial Times: Facebook puts off IPO until late 2012
Facebook is preparing to launch its blockbuster initial public offering in the US towards the end of next year, a later public debut by the social networking site than had been widely anticipated, say people familiar with the company.
In Case You Missed It…
Former Gov. Bill Richardson talks to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about his trip to Cuba to negotiate the release of American contractor Alan Gross.