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: Rubio endorses Romney, argues GOP should 'come together'
Marco Rubio, a senator whose name was floated first as a possible presidential, then vice presidential candidate, on Wednesday made an endorsement in the presidential race, saying, "It's evidently and increasingly clear that Mitt Romney is going to become the Republican nominee." Former President George H.W. Bush is also scheduled to formally endorse Romney on Thursday.
CNN: Amid new focus, Gingrich's ire remains the same
Newt Gingrich may have a new political focus, but the focus of his ire appears to be the same. At various times during a roughly 50-minute appearance at Georgetown University on Wednesday, the Republican presidential candidate re-stated familiar attacks on the news media, President Obama and critics. It was Gingrich's first public appearance since news broke that he had dramatically scaled back his presidential campaign.
CNN: Democratic Rep. tells personal story of rape, hits GOP war against women
It is not something you expect to hear on the floor of the House of Representatives – a lawmaker recounting a remarkably personal story of being raped. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin, brought it up as part of an effort by female lawmakers to keep alive a central Democratic message against the GOP – what they call the Republican "war on women."
CNN: Lawmaker wearing hoodie removed from House floor
A congressman was removed from the House floor Wednesday after giving a speech about Trayvon Martin while wearing a hoodie. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, told House members, "racial profiling has to stop." Rush, a former Black Panther who was active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, then took off his suit jacket, pulled a gray hoodie on over his head and put on sunglasses. "Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum," he said.
CNN: Lawyer for notorious Russian arms dealer is fighting to overturn conviction
With his client due in federal court next week for sentencing, the defense attorney for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is asking the judge to set aside Bout's guilty verdict. Bout's lawyer, Albert Dayan, in a letter filed Wednesday in federal court in New York, is now asking Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, who presided over the trial and will set Bout's sentence, not to "become an unwilling party" in what Dayan calls a "wrongful prosecution" for "purely political reasons."
CNN: Zimmerman's father says Trayvon Martin threatened to kill his son
The father of George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting and killing and unarmed black teen, says the teen threatened to kill Zimmerman and then beat him so badly that it forced Zimmerman to shoot the teen. "Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of you're going to die now or you're going to die tonight, something to that effect," Robert Zimmerman told Orlando TV station WOFL. "He continued to beat George. At some point, George pulled his pistol. Did what he did."
CNN: JetBlue pilot charged with interfering with flight crew
A JetBlue pilot has been charged with interfering with a flight crew after his midair behavioral meltdown led to an emergency landing. The federal criminal complaint reveals details of the incident in which Clayton Osbon, 49, displayed what passengers and fellow crew members described as erratic, bizarre and disturbing behavior. Osbon has been suspended pending an investigation and is receiving medical treatment, the airline said Wednesday.
CNN: Forest Service apologizes for Colorado wildfire blamed on 'controlled' burn
The Colorado Forest Service apologized Wednesday for a wildfire attributed to a "controlled" burn that got out of control, killing at least two people, and the governor announced a suspension of such burns. "This is heartbreaking and we're sorry," State Forester Joe Duda told reporters about the Lower North Fork Fire, which has scorched thousands of acres in Jefferson County, destroying or damaging 27 houses and leaving a woman missing in addition to the two fatalities.
CNN: U.S. and Pakistani generals meet for first time since fatal airstrikes
Top U.S. and Pakistani military officials held face-to-face meetings in Islamabad on Wednesday in the first high-level talks since NATO airstrikes killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in November.
CNN: Pope calls for greater freedoms in Cuba as he ends two-country tour
Greeted by throngs of Catholic worshipers from across the region, Pope Benedict XVI ended his two-country tour in Havana's Revolution Plaza with a reference to what he described as a need for "authentic freedom."
CNN: Afghan females imprisoned for 'moral crimes,' Human Rights Watch says
A person allowed to enter a juvenile detention center for girls in Afghanistan would find one strikingly sad story after another, according to Human Rights Watch. Nearly all of the girls imprisoned in Afghanistan are behind bars for "moral crimes," as are about half of adult women, a new report from the international watchdog group says.
CNN: Nigerian World Bank hopeful promises change
The Nigerian contender to head the World Bank, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said Wednesday she is ready to lead from day one and would make it a nimbler, more responsive organization. Okonjo-Iweala told CNN's Richard Quest she was the best candidate for the job because of her 25 years working at the bank and her time as Nigerian finance minister.
CNN Money: Energy prices seen rising if speculation is limited
One of the most influential consultants in the oil industry said Wednesday that limiting speculation in oil markets will lead to less energy production, fewer jobs and increased prices for consumers.
CNN Money: JPMorgan: MF Global claimed transfer was legal
JPMorgan says it received "multiple clear oral assurances from senior MF Global officials" that a $175 million transfer from the firm to cover an overdraft did not include customer money. The claim comes in testimony prepared for a Congressional hearing Wednesday on MF Global's collapse by Diane Genova, JPMorgan's deputy general counsel.
CNN Money: Nike sues Reebok over Tebow apparel
Nike is suing rival Reebok for selling New York Jets uniforms and other Jets apparel with the name of its new quarterback Tim Tebow on them. Nike says it is the only company authorized and licensed to use Tim Tebow's name on clothing.
In case you missed it…
The attorney for Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians, says it will be a tough case to prove.