POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, March 19, 2012
March 19th, 2012
04:28 AM ET
2 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, March 19, 2012

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.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL:

CNN: Romney wins Puerto Rico GOP primary handily
Mitt Romney heads in to Illinois's presidential primary this week with a handy win in Puerto Rico, pocketing the territory's 20 GOP delegates in a bruising race that has become a numbers game for the Republican nomination.

CNN: 2012 GOP race is 'nastiest' campaign yet, McCain says
Sen. John McCain knows his way around rough politics, but the veteran politician from Arizona – first elected to the Senate in 1986 – said Sunday that the current Republican presidential campaign is the most brutal race he has seen, fueled in part by super PACs that have rivaled campaigns in spending on this election.

CNN: Romney hits Obama, Santorum in Illinois
Mitt Romney made a pitch to struggling Illinois voters this weekend that he was the "economic heavyweight" who could turn around the economy if elected president in November. The former Massachusetts governor also ramped up his criticism of President Barack Obama's handling of gas prices, using personal terms to tell an American Legion pancake breakfast in Moline that he knew how high fuel costs affected a family's bottom line.

CNN: Santorum: America doesn't need Romney as CEO
While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney touts his business experience as one of his strongest credentials, rival Rick Santorum blasted it on Sunday as a drawback. “If Governor Romney thinks that he is the CEO of America and can run and manage the economy, he doesn’t understand what conservatives believe in,” Santorum said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

NATIONAL:

CNN: Afghan shooting suspect showed different side in Iraq
The man identified Friday by sources as the U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians betrayed no animosity toward civilians in a different war zone, according to an account posted on the U.S. Army's website that describes a firefight in Iraq in January 2007. "I've never been more proud to be a part of this unit than that day, for the simple fact that we discriminated between the bad guys and the noncombatants and then afterward we ended up helping the people that three or four hours before were trying to kill us," says Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who was then a team leader in 1st Platoon, C Company.

CNN: Dozens arrested as 'Occupy Wall Street' marks 6 months
New York police arrested dozens of people in lower Manhattan as the Occupy Wall Street movement marked six months of protests, authorities said Sunday. Protesters attempted to re-occupy Zuccotti Park, the downtown plaza where demonstrators were encamped in the first two months of the movement, on Saturday. Police made 74 arrests as they forced them out of the park, the Manhattan district attorney's office told CNN.

CNN: More questions than answers in account of American's abduction in Iraq
The murky abduction account of an American - who no one appeared to even know had gone missing in Iraq until he resurfaced - is raising questions about everything from his name to the circumstances surrounding his reported kidnapping.

CNN Money: Gas prices up for 9th straight day
The national average price for a gallon of gasoline rose for the ninth straight day on Sunday to $3.838. That is now only about 6.7% below the record high of $4.11 from July 2008. The average price rose by three-tenths of a penny, according to the survey of gas stations conducted for the motorist group AAA. Gas prices are now up more than 17% this year.

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: Taliban demands Afghan trial for alleged shooter
A Taliban commander expressed skepticism that one soldier carried out a massacre last week that left 16 Afghan civilians dead, and anger that the suspect subsequently was flown out of Afghanistan. "We don't think that one American was involved," the Taliban official told CNN, refusing to give his name or be otherwise identified. "The foreigners and the puppet regime (in Afghanistan) are blind to the truth of what happened here.

CNN: Iraq wants alternative routes to ship oil amid Iran tensions
Iraq may reactivate long-idle pipelines to get its oil to world markets if tensions over neighboring Iran result in the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, a government spokesman said Sunday.

CNN: WikiLeaks: Founder Julian Assange to run for Australian Senate
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has decided to run for a seat in the Australian Senate, WikiLeaks announced on its Twitter page Saturday. The group, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, said it discovered it is possible for Assange to run while living in England under house arrest. Assange was born in Australia and grew up there.

CNN: Pakistan debates future U.S. engagement
A joint session of Pakistan's parliament will meet Tuesday to discuss new terms of engagement with the United States, a spokesman for the country's prime minister told CNN on Saturday. The parliament will debate the recommendations of a special commission and will vote whether to accept them or not, spokesman Akram Shaheedi said.

BUSINESS:

CNN Money: Stocks: Will housing continue to fuel rally?
Housing will take center stage this week as several economic reports on housing prices, sales and construction are due out. Any signs that the real estate market is rebounding could keep the stock market rally going.

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Made Profit on Mortgage Debt
In the latest sign of the government's gradual retreat from financial-crisis-related programs, the Treasury Department is expected to announce Monday that taxpayers reaped a $25 billion profit on mortgage bonds purchased at the height of the meltdown.

CNN Money: Obama's budget would add $6.4 trillion to debt – CBO
Lawmakers on Friday were handed the official score card on President Obama's proposed budget for 2013. The Congressional Budget Office concluded that the president's budget would add less to the country's debt than if lawmakers simply extend a number of favored policies, such as the Bush-era tax cuts. It would also shrink annual deficits to the point where they no longer are growing faster than the economy.

In case you missed it…
Afghanistan's ambassador to the U.S. Eklil Hakimi discusses Afghan-U.S. relations.


Filed under: Political Hot Topics
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. julien vergara

    I taught we are fighting against terrorist. So why are we talking to taliban.

    March 19, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  2. king

    Obama you need to push your attorney general, to seek prosecution of wall street speculators. you do it quickly, because this is the time most voters make their minds up to vote for the president in November. We cannot afford another fake economy, when the repubs unleash corporations to do as they please with the American people. You also need to open the oil reserve even though this might nit gain much.

    March 19, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    CNN Money: Gas prices up for 9th straight day
    ------------
    The price of a gallon of gas is disproportionately higher, compared to a the price of a barrel of oil, than what it was in 2008. Could this have anything to do with the fact that lower US demand for gasoline has prompted at least one major oil company to stop production at two gasoline refineries, thus lowering the gasoline supply and raising prices?

    March 19, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |