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: Romney, Santorum argue over English as requirement for Puerto Rican statehood
Rick Santorum's contention that in order for Puerto Rico to become a state English must be its principal language drew criticism Thursday from the U.S. territory's sole representative in Congress. "Santorum's view is narrow and a limiting view of what America is all about," said Pedro Pierluisi, a Democrat, on CNN's "Starting Point." "English is the predominant language in the U.S. and will continue to be so, whether Puerto Rico becomes a state or not."
CNN: Biden speech leads campaign fight for Obama
Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday assumed the role of top campaign surrogate for President Barack Obama, harshly criticizing the economic policies of Republican presidential contenders Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as a threat to the American middle class.
CNN: Obama beats back GOP over gas prices
Confronted with recent polling suggesting rising gas prices may already be damaging President Obama's political standing ahead of the summer driving season, the president on Thursday reiterated the case that neither he, nor any other politician, has the power to bring down prices in the short term.
CNN: John Edwards' ex-mistress expected to be prosecution witness in his trial
The former mistress of 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is expected to be a prosecution witness in his federal criminal trial next month, a federal judge said in court Thursday. At issue in the approaching North Carolina trial is whether money given to support Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, by the then-candidate's benefactors should have been considered donations toward his presidential campaign.
CNN: Court-appointed counsel issues report harshly critical of Stevens prosecutors
A blistering new report reveals details about the intentional mishandling of evidence and other missteps by Justice Department attorneys in the flawed prosecution of then-Sen. Ted Stevens.
CNN: FBI on guard against terrorist cyber attacks
FBI Director Robert Mueller said Thursday he is concerned about the potential for terrorists mounting cyber attacks and that the bureau is working "to stay ahead of these threats, both at home and abroad."
CNN: Mississippi lawmakers pass controversial immigration bill
Another controversial immigration bill is on the horizon in the South, a regional battleground that has seen a number of states pass reforms on illegal immigration. Mississippi's Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted 70-47 Thursday to pass the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act."
CNN: Feds allow 60-day extension on pool-lift compliance
Your hotel, health club and neighborhood pool can remain open this weekend without fear of violating the law. The Justice Department said Thursday it is delaying for 60 days a new law that requires all public pools to install "lifts" or provide other means to make pools accessible to disabled individuals.
CNN: North Korea says it plans satellite launch in April
North Korea plans to launch an "earth observation" satellite using a carrier rocket in April, the country's official news agency said Friday, a move that would potentially violate U.N. Security Council demands.
CNN: Shopping amid a massacre: Leaked e-mails from Syria's regime
A cache of e-mails leaked to CNN is giving extraordinary insight into the life of Syria's first family during the regime's move to crush a now-year-long civilian uprising. The e-mails were obtained by CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" from a source in the region after the e-mail accounts were hacked. They appear to shed light on a family often occupied with YouTube videos and shopping while the brutal crackdown continued, and they also apparently reveal some of Iran's influence over Syria's president.
CNN: Afghan killing probe to look at suspect's mental health, aggravating factors
Neither his name is known nor a motive for the grisly crime he allegedly committed. But what is clear is that the U.S. soldier, a staff sergeant in his 30s, faces grave accusations unlike others faced by Americans in Afghanistan so far. He is alleged to have killed 16 villagers, nine of them children, in the sanctuary of their homes deep into the night.
CNN: Karzai to meet with families of 16 civilians allegedly killed by U.S. soldier
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is set to meet Friday with the families of 16 civilians allegedly killed by a U.S. soldier during a house-to-house rampage. Karzai's meeting at the presidential palace in Kabul follows news that he received a report from an investigative team prior to talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
CNN: New iPads hit stores Friday
The latest version of Apple's iPad, the genre-defining tablet computer that has outperformed virtually everyone's expectations since first released in 2010, goes on sale Friday starting at 8 a.m. local time. As such, thousands of Apple diehards were already lining up Thursday to be among the first to get their hands on a gadget that was already earning raves from reviewers.
CNN Money: Ready, set, free trade with South Korea!
When a company in Illinois shipped 800 tons of green, stringy, wood fibers to South Korea on Tuesday, its foreign distributor was slammed with the usual $2,100 tariff. Starting Thursday, that amount is now zero. That's because of the long-awaited free-trade agreement between the United States and South Korea which went into effect Thursday.
CNN Money: Is the bond bubble finally bursting?
Despite this year's solid move in stocks, investors had mostly been staying in Treasuries, considered one of the safest bets during times of economic uncertainty. Until this week, that is. Investors finally appear secure enough about the economy to leave that safe haven, pushing yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note briefly above 2.3% Thursday - its highest level since October. Yields had been hovering below 2% for most of the last seven months.
In case you missed it…
Obama 2012 communications director David Axelrod tells Erin Burnett the auto bailout was "well worth it."
The presidential election boils down to reelecting the one who has brought us out of a Bush/republican near depression, ended the war in Iraq, destroyed most of the al Qaida leadership, saved the American automobile industry, lowered taxes, stood up for 160 million workers, stood up for women's rights, increased domestic oil drilling, increased America's favorability in the world, and will look out for the middle class and the poor. Obama is running against a man of privilege who wants a war with Iran, tax cuts for the wealthy, a job destroyer, a corporate raider, a money launderer, a person who took a government bailout to save the winter olympics, a man who is against workers, and is a puppet of the rich and will protect the upper .001% and their wealth. Republicans are excited about having a candidate who may be white.
The repubs are setting to throw out their austerity budget. They want to give tax cuts to the rich and tax the working class spenders. Big businesses will flee to China as soon as consumer spending goes south. Does these repubs understand that we live in an economy which 75 percent is consumer spending. Why do they think picking a war with spenders will do our economy any good. We need to tax the rich and have the money come back into the economy, and not do what mitten does and hide the money over seas, and starving the economy of needed revenue.
CNN: Obama beats back GOP over gas prices
What is most amazing about conservatives blaming a President over gas prices is the fact that fiscal conservatives are always the first one to tell you that government should not tamper with the markets. They are always so quick to assert that market forces should be allowed to work without outside interference from government.
Yet, here we are. These same financial conservatives are criticizing a President for not interferring with the oil and gas markets and exacting some infuence on prices.
Vice President Biden, great job it's about time we love you. " OBAMA BIDEN 2012"