The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
Compiled by Dan Merica
CNN: Romney steps up defense of business record
GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney on Thursday aggressively defended his tenure as head of Bain Capital, asserting again that his private-equity career resulted in the net creation of over 100,000 jobs while also calling any job losses an unfortunate fact of life in the private sector.
CNN: Obama formally seeks debt ceiling increase
President Obama formally asked Congress Thursday to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, stating the country’s debts have fallen within $100 billion of the current debt limit and an increase is needed to meet “existing commitments.”
CNN: Justice Dept.: Obama recess appointments valid
The Justice Department Thursday made public its legal opinion that President Barack Obama's controversial recess appointments last week are constitutional.
CNN: Colbert for president (again)
Faux-news host and comedian Stephen Colbert announced Thursday night he was launching his second run for president in South Carolina.
CNN: Attorney general: Mississippi may order nationwide manhunt
Mississippi's attorney general said Thursday that the state may have to issue a nationwide manhunt after four pardoned murderers left jail and "hit the road running."
CNN: Military investigating officer recommends court-martial for Bradley Manning
A U.S. Army soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks came one step closer to a court-martial on Thursday. An investigating officer assigned to Pfc. Bradley Manning's case recommended he face a just such a military court for trial, the Army announced.
CNN: Natalee Holloway declared legally dead
An Alabama judge signed an order Thursday declaring Natalee Holloway legally dead, attorneys for her family said.
CNN: Homeless teen finds success, sees future in science
For two and a half years, Samantha Garvey has immersed herself in New York's Long Island salt marshes - prodding, examining and questioning, all in the name of science. But after a hard day's work, at school or in the field, the high school senior hasn't been able to head home at night. That's because she doesn't have a home.
CNN: Marines ID two of the men in urination video
Two of the four Marines shown in a video urinating on dead bodies sprawled out on the ground have been identified by the Marine Corps, a Marine Corps official told CNN Thursday.
CNN: ICRC suspends aid distribution in Somalia
Distribution of food, seed and medical relief intended for drought victims in Somalia has been suspended, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced Thursday.
CNN: Two years on, Haiti still reeling from quake
Fabiola Leocal's story ought to be uncommon, but in post-earthquake Haiti, it's not.
CNN: Ahmadinejad defends nuclear program on last leg of Latin America trip
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended his country's nuclear program Thursday, criticizing the United States for imposing sanctions.
CNN Money: Iran's 'distressed' oil to keep flowing – at deep discount
Despite tightening sanctions on Iran's oil industry, experts say the country's crude should still flow - but perhaps at a deep discount. In fact, the bargaining has already begun, two analysts said.
CNN Money: Big business to Gingrich, Perry: Zip it
Republicans attacking Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital got a stern rebuke Thursday from the Chamber of Commerce.
CNN Money: Democrats step up income inequality battle
In yet another push to define the Democrats as defenders of the middle class, a top economic adviser for the Obama administration outlined Thursday the massive growth in income inequality and its ramifications on the nation.
In Case You Missed It…
For years it was the Mexican murder capital, but things in Juarez are changing for the better. Rafael Romo reports.