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.
Compiled by Dan Merica
CNN: Iowa caucuses: Pulling the weeds from Republican field
After a year when the Republican presidential race became defined by debates and cable news chatter instead of retail politics and town hall meetings, Iowa seems primed, in the end, to reward the candidates who did things the old-fashioned way.
CNN: Why do Iowa’s evangelicals wield so much political clout?
Inside Mitt Romney’s Iowa headquarters – a former Blockbuster store on a commercial strip outside downtown – Romney and his wife, Ann, are introduced by former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and his wife, Mary. Experts on religion and politics say the message to one particular subculture – evangelical Iowans – is clear: Mitt Romney may be Mormon, but he shares evangelical Christian values, including a rock-solid commitment to family, and counts high-profile evangelicals like the Pawlentys as friends and supporters.
CNN: Romney goes on offense
After days of cautious stump speeches on patriotism and economic renewal, Mitt Romney went sharply on the offensive Sunday, making oblique jabs at his rivals and attacking President Barack Obama for his Iran policy.
CNN: Gingrich: I was ‘Romney-boated’
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said he feels "Romney-boated" by the barrage of negative ads run against the former House speaker by a super PAC that supports rival candidate Mitt Romney.
CNN: Two more states allow same-sex civil unions
Several same-sex couples came together in the first minutes of New Year's Day in Honolulu to become the first in the state's history to enter into civil unions.
CNN: Manhunt launched at Mount Rainier after park ranger killed
Authorities scoured the national park around Washington's Mount Rainier on Sunday for a man they say fatally shot a park ranger and fled into the woods, a park spokeswoman said.
CNN: Police: West Florida boy critically wounded by celebratory gunfire
A west Florida boy is in critical condition after a bullet apparently fired skyward during a New Year's celebration went into his head, authorities said Sunday.
CNN: 68 Occupy demonstrators arrested in New York
New York police arrested 68 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators on New Year's Eve after a flare-up at and march from their longtime base, a police official said.
CNN: South Korea ready for 'new era' of relations with North, president says
The South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, offered Monday to cooperate with North Korea to begin a "new era" of relations between the two countries, a day after Pyongyang had said it would defend its new leader, Kim Jong Un, to the death.
CNN: Egypt's generals move up next round of elections
Egypt's ruling military council has moved up the scheduled elections for the upper house of parliament by nearly three weeks, with voting now scheduled to start in late January, the state news agency MENA reported Sunday.
CNN: Advisory group head calls for withdrawal of observers from Syria
The head of an advisory board to the Arab League called Sunday for the withdrawal of observers from Syria, claiming the mission has allowed Syrian officials to continue a brutal crackdown on protesters.
CNN: Israeli, Palestinian officials to meet in Jordan
Israeli and Palestinian representatives will meet in Amman, Jordan, on Tuesday in an effort to relaunch negotiations between the two sides after more than a year of deadlock, Jordanian state media reported Sunday.
CNN Money: Stocks: Volatility sign flashing red
Investors may be saying good riddance to a choppy year, but they'd better buckle up. The first quarter of 2012 is going to be a roller coaster ride, with Europe front and center.
CNN Money: China: Manufacturing expands slightly
China's official reading of manufacturing sentiment showed mild expansion in December, an improvement from the slight contraction the month before, a government agency said Sunday.
CNN Money: College football gets richer
Penn State likely will be playing before more empty seats than full ones when it takes the field for its bowl game on Monday - just one sign of tougher financial times ahead for one of the nation's richest teams.
In Case You Missed It…
CNN's Jim Acosta takes a look at the final push from the Republican presidential candidates ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
Gingrich was Romney boated, but also Rove boated, Koch boated and Paul boated. Not surprising, as rats and sharks have been known to eat their own.
►CNN: Iowa caucuses: Pulling the weeds from Republican field
That’s right – get out the sticks and come up with a decent yield
But there is a problem with that – All of the candidates are “whack”
And in the end, President Obama is apt to beat all of that!!
►NN: Why do Iowa’s evangelicals wield so much political clout?
Maybe yesteryear but lately, it’s difficult to determine what they’re about
They most likely will do better in 2016 – when you have both parties running
Because now it really seems as if they are LOST and don’t know if they’re going or coming
►CNN: Romney goes on offense
Well, the game is a three-way tie and he can fumble the ball – does not make sense
And what will make him fumble is when he “smacks his lips” thinking he’s got this
That’s when the ball will be taken away – the other side will score and Romney will be left to the pundits to dis’
Eww!! Please Romney, STOP smacking your lips when you speak – it’s “annoying!!”
►CNN: Gingrich: I was ‘Romney-boated’
And ginGRINCH cries like a baby and look bloated
He pouts and looks RED – like a spoiled brat
No one wants a president who acts like that!!!
OMG – Back to Work – What a vacation and it’s not over – HAVE A NICE DAY!!! :-)