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.
CNN: Political dispute creates GOP split between House and Senate
At the end of another long and confusing day of political wrangling over extending the payroll tax cut, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked a question on everybody's mind.
CNN: What's behind Obama's rising poll numbers?
The gridlock and partisanship that threatens to ruin Christmas in Washington could be an election year gift for President Barack Obama's campaign.
CNN Belief: Split GOP presidential endorsement reflect fractured evangelical base
When Newt Gingrich’s campaign announced Tuesday morning that it had won an endorsement from Don Wildmon, president of the evangelical American Family Association, it seemed like one more bit of evidence that the former House speaker has become the unlikely favorite of conservative Christian activists.
CNN: Iowa faith leader asked Bachmann to consider dropping out, campaign says
Prominent Iowa faith leader Bob Vander Plaats asked Michele Bachmann to dramatically alter her White House plans, according to the Bachmann campaign, including the possibility of dropping her presidential bid altogether.
CNN: Blizzard tapers off for West, Midwest
A blizzard that roared through much of the southern Rockies and central Plains tapered off Wednesday but still several states were expected to deal with heavy snow.
CNN: Administration to draw down National Guard troops on Southwest border
A year and a half after deploying National Guard troops to counter illegal immigration on the Southwest border, the Department of Homeland Security and Pentagon told Congress Tuesday they are cutting the number of troops and changing their mission.
CNN: Former hacker testifies in Manning hearing
A convicted computer hacker from California testified Tuesday in Pfc. Bradley Manning's preliminary hearing about six days of chats he conducted with someone who claimed to have leaked classified information and was "looking to brag about what they had done."
CNN: Plane crashes on N.J. interstate; 5 killed
A small plane headed from New Jersey to suburban Atlanta crashed onto an interstate shortly after takeoff Tuesday, killing five people, authorities said.
CNN: Women march in Cairo to protest violence; military promises to listen
Egypt's ruling military council Tuesday expressed "great regret" to Egyptian women over recent attacks on female demonstrators by military police and vowed to hold accountable those responsible.
CNN: Captive Iranian-American's family says he's no spy
The family of an Iranian-American man held in Iran on spying charges says he was there to visit relatives and called the purported confession aired by Tehran "forced."
CNN: A nation ruled through anguish and terror
While North Korea's recently departed leader Kim Jong Il will probably be most remembered for his pompadour, jumpsuits and relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons, the world must never forget the legacy of anguish and terror he left for millions of his people.
CNN: More die in Syria after deadliest known day
Dozens more people were reported killed by government troops and police in Syria on Tuesday, a day after what opposition activists said was the single deadliest known day of anti-government protests.
CNN Money: Dow jumps 337 points
U.S. stocks surged Tuesday as concerns about the European debt crisis eased and investors welcomed signs of strength in the U.S. housing market.
CNN Money: Playing payroll tax roulette
It's a little ridiculous to have to be writing this story. Congress, it seems, is back at Square One in its debate over extending the payroll tax cut. With less than two weeks remaining until a potential tax increase, lawmakers have left 160 million Americans wondering about the size of their paychecks in January.
CNN Money: Payroll tax deadlock could hobble economy
If Congress fails to pass an extension of the payroll tax holiday, it would put a serious dent into economic growth in 2012 and could even help tip the U.S. back into a recession, according to economists.
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