The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click the headlines for more.
CNN: Defiant Obama challenges Congress on sticky issues
President Barack Obama launches a three-day swing through key election states Wednesday after declaring in what could be his final State of the Union address that the nation was strengthening but must confront the defining issue of preserving the American dream.
CNN: Giffords gets ovation, president's embrace on eve of resignation
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords took a few steps into the House chamber and absorbed a 90-second standing ovation before the State of the Union address Tuesday night, the eve of her resignation to focus on recovering from her shooting last year.
CNN: New Freddie Mac contract prohibits ‘lobbying activities’
Newt Gingrich was specifically prevented from lobbying Congress on behalf of the mortgage giant Freddie Mac in 1999 and the early 2000s, according to a contract released Tuesday by the firm he founded.
CNN: GOP candidates criticize Obama, each other
As President Barack Obama was about to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, his prospective Republican challengers were busy laying the groundwork for their efforts to challenge the incumbent.
CNN: Headhurting: Giants boast of targeting punt returner, raise questions about concussions
It’s a reality of sport, and not just football: If your opponents know you have an injury, they’re going to target it.
CNN: Tornado recovery work begins in Alabama
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday toured communities hit by a tornado that destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and killed two people.
CNN: Graces misidentified at VA cemeteries
More than 120 graves in military cemeteries across the country are misidentified, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday.
CNN: Hollywood arson suspect pleads not guilty to 100 counts
A German national accused of setting one of the worst arson sprees in the history of Los Angeles entered a plea of not guilty during an arraignment hearing Tuesday.
CNN: In Syria, many caught 'in the middle'
Just one day of covering pro- and anti-government rallies convinced me of how polarized the country has become. People are metaphorically retreating to their confessional bunkers.
CNN: Thousands gather in Cairo on anniversary of Egyptian revolution
Thousands of people gathered under rainy skies in Cairo's Tahrir Square early Wednesday, exactly one year after the start of the revolution that ousted longtime Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak but, many say, accomplished little else.
CNN: Nigerians arrest Islamist militant suspects, sources say
A joint military task force in Nigeria arrested 158 suspected members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, security sources told CNN Tuesday, three days after a spate of bombings and shootings left more than 200 people dead in Nigeria's second-largest city.
CNN: Aid workers kidnapped in Somalia are rescued
Two foreign aid workers kidnapped in Somalia last year were rescued during an operation early Wednesday, a Danish aid group said.
CNN Money: Obama focuses State of the Union on income inequality
President Obama delivered a State of the Union address Tuesday that was deeply saturated with the message of income inequality, a populist idea that the White House hopes will resonate on the campaign trail.
CNN Money: Energy plays key role in Obama's State of the Union
For the third year in a row energy played a central role in President Obama's State of the Union address, with the president leaning hard this year on the twin themes of increased domestic oil and gas production and the need to invest more in renewable sources.
CNN Money: Stocks stumble on Greek debt fears, earnings
U.S. stocks ended mostly in the red Tuesday as investors awaited progress on Greek debt talks and waded through another batch of corporate results.
In Case You Missed It…
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels gave the Republican response to the State of the Union address.