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: Gingrich lays off staff, refocuses campaign
Newt Gingrich has replaced his campaign manager and is laying off one-third of his staff, but has vowed to continue his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, a spokesman confirms to CNN. "The campaign is being redesigned to make it convention ready," spokesman R.C. Hammond said. "Speaker Gingrich is committed to going all the way to Tampa."
CNN: Carville: A Supreme Court loss will help Democrats
While the Obama administration fights to protect the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic strategist and CNN contributor James Carville said a Supreme Court overruling may not be such a bad thing for the president, politically. "I think this will be the best thing that has ever happened to the Democratic Party," Carville said Tuesday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." He added: "You know, what the Democrats are going to say, and it is completely justified, 'We tried, we did something, go see a 5-4 Supreme Court majority'."
CNN: Group sought wedge between blacks, gays to fight same-sex marriage
A national group opposed to same-sex marriage aimed to fight it by driving "a wedge between gays and blacks" and identifying "glamorous" Latino artists and athletes to advocate traditional marriage, according to newly released confidential memos. The strategies were among several pursued by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which has actively campaigned against same-sex marriage efforts.
CNN: Fight over transportation bills threatens highway projects
With just four days left before the federal money runs out for highway construction projects across the country, House Republicans abruptly postponed a vote on a two-month extension Tuesday, throwing into question how a standoff between Senate Democrats and House Republicans over the transportation bill will get resolved.
CNN: Day 3 of Supreme Court's health care hearings take on new urgency
The Supreme Court wraps up its last day of hearings Wednesday over the future of health care reform with renewed focus on an issue once dismissed by many legal and political analysts as trivial. This follows Tuesday's fascinating, monumental court discussion about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's key provision: the individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance or face a financial penalty. The mandate's future appeared to be in trouble, based on questioning from the court's conservative majority.
CNN: JetBlue flight diverted after captain's 'erratic' behavior
A JetBlue flight bound for Las Vegas made an emergency landing in Texas on Tuesday after the captain acted strangely, was locked out of the cockpit by his co-pilot and was wrestled to the ground by passengers, witnesses and authorities said.
CNN: Panetta: Polls won't change Afghan strategy
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Tuesday polls would not change the strategy in Afghanistan, underscoring the fact that he realizes the American people have tired of war. "We cannot fight wars by polls," Panetta said in Ottawa, where he was attending a trilateral defense meeting with Canadian and Mexican officials.
CNN: New Orleans police officer resigns after post on Trayvon Martin
A New Orleans police officer who posted an offensive comment online about slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin resigned on Tuesday. Superintendent Ronal Serpas accepted his resignation.
CNN: Suicide vests found in Afghan Defense Ministry, official says
Several Afghan soldiers have been arrested after authorities found a number of suicide vests inside the country's Defense Ministry, a senior Afghan defense official said Tuesday. The discovery triggered a lockdown of the ministry, which has since been lifted, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak to reporters.
CNN: Nations watching Syria after it accepts peace plan
Key diplomats, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said Tuesday that the Syrian government's acceptance of a plan to forge peace and end violence must be more than lip service. "Given (President Bashar) al-Assad's history of overpromising and underdelivering, that commitment must now be matched by immediate actions," Clinton said. "We will judge Assad's sincerity and seriousness by what he does, not what he says."
CNN: Chinese scandal drama: Businessman dead, Communist leader shamed
Neil Heywood was found dead last November in his hotel room in the sprawling southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing. According to media reports, local authorities quickly ruled his cause of death as "excessive alcohol use." An autopsy was not performed, media reports said, and his body was cremated. Slowly, however, media reports are raising more uncomfortable questions about Heywood's death.
CNN: Fidel Castro asks for 'modest and simple' meeting with pope
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says he has asked for a "modest and simple" meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Havana on Wednesday. "I will gladly meet tomorrow morning His Excellency, the Pope, as I did when John Paul II visited," Castro wrote Tuesday in the official Cubadebate website.
CNN Money: Taking the fall at MF Global
Nearly five months after some $1.6 billion in customer money went missing at bankrupt brokerage MF Global, the question remains: Will anyone be held responsible? A congressional subcommittee will take up the issue on Wednesday in the latest hearing on Capitol Hill to focus on the firm's collapse.
CNN Money: U.S. corporate tax rate: No. 1 in the world
On Sunday, the United States gets a distinction no nation wants - the world's highest corporate tax rate. Japan, which currently has the highest rate in the world - a 39.8% rate on business income between national and local taxes - cuts its rate to 36.8% as of April 1. The U.S. rate stands at 39.2% when both federal and state rates are included.
CNN Money: Small biz bill goes to Obama after House OK
The House on Tuesday passed a bill making it easier for more companies to become publicly traded by bypassing audits and disclosures now required for investors. The House voted 380-to-41 to pass the bill, which the Senate passed last week. The passage sends the bill to President Obama, who has indicated support.
In case you missed it…
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says Supreme Court justices were at odds during debate over the health care law.