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: Comment on Romney's wife keeps campaign focus on women
A Democratic strategist apologized Thursday for a comment questioning Ann Romney's qualifications to advise her husband on women's economic issues, while the Romney campaign sought to exploit the controversy to help fix a gender gap problem in the race against President Barack Obama.
CNN: Republican strategist slams Democrats’ response to Hilary Rosen
A Republican strategist is defending Hilary Rosen following her controversial comment that Ann Romney has "never worked a day in her life." About 24 hours after Rosen made the comment, drawing the rebuke of Democrats and Republicans alike, Bay Buchanan has come to her rescue. Rosen has since apologized for the comment.
CNN: Romney criticizes Obama handling of North Korea
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney condemned the launch of a long-range rocket by North Korea, saying it puts the region at risk and highlights the “incompetence” of the Obama administration.
CNN: Dispute erupts over GSA spending scandal price tag
House Republicans released new documentation Thursday designed to undercut administration claims that the cost of past General Services Administration conferences increased at a far greater rate under President George W. Bush than under President Barack Obama.
CNN: Newark mayor rushes into burning home to save neighbor
Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker ran into a burning home Thursday night to try and rescue a trapped woman, an act of heroism that sent him to the hospital. Booker talked about the incident on Twitter. "Thanks 2 all who are concerned. Just suffering smoke inhalation," Booker tweeted. "We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok."
CNN: Affidavit says Zimmerman 'profiled' Martin
An affidavit of probable cause in Florida's case against George Zimmerman for the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old says that the neighborhood watch volunteer "profiled" the victim, Trayvon Martin, and disregarded a police dispatcher's request that he await the arrival of police.
CNN: Reports: Indiana State Fair stage where seven died was inadequate
Scaffolding that collapsed during a storm and killed seven people during the Indiana State Fair last year was not up to standard, and the fair's commission did not have adequate emergency planning in place, according to two investigative reports presented Thursday.
CNN: New Hampshire woman to face 2nd trial in Rwanda genocide
A New Hampshire woman accused of lying her way into the United States after allegedly participating in the 1994 Rwanda genocide was released from federal custody and put under house arrest Thursday following a mistrial, attorneys from both sides said.
CNN: Asian neighbors react to North Korean rocket launch
The North Korean rocket launch that threw its neighbors in the Asian region into high alert was greeted with relief on Friday as previously jittery stock markets gained ground and bans on activities in its projected flight path were relaxed.
CNN: Colombia steps up security for summit
A recent hostage rescue simulation - which used live ammunition and high-tech weapons - was part of more than a year of training to prepare for the Summit of the Americas, which will draw 33 heads of state and government from across the Western Hemisphere to Cartagena, Colombia, this weekend.
CNN: Egyptian lawmakers vote to bar Mubarak officials' presidential bids
Egypt's Parliament unanimously passed a bill Thursday that aims to ban former members of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak's regime from running for president for 10 years. If approved, the measure would mean that one of the most controversial contenders in the nation's upcoming presidential election would be ineligible.
CNN: Disaster looms for people of Mali as country is split by revolt
Mali is threatened with partition as a rebellion flares in the north and political uncertainty grips the capital, Bamako. Mali's neighbors and western governments are looking on anxiously as drug traffickers and Islamist groups affiliated with al Qaeda take advantage of the vacuum - in a region already blighted by hunger, poverty and weak government.
CNN Money: Chinese economy loses momentum
China's economic growth lost more momentum at the beginning of the year, but experts aren't too worried that the slowdown will continue for long. The Chinese economy grew at an annual pace of 8.1% in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday, marking a deceleration from an 8.9% growth rate in the prior quarter.
CNN Money: IMF's Lagarde calls for swift action on financial risks
The director of the International Monetary Fund urged policymakers Thursday to remain vigilant in the face of a still fragile global economy. Christine Lagarde said world leaders should "seize the moment" by taking advantage of improved conditions to push ahead with policies that will boost growth and strengthen the international financial system.
CNN Money: Mortgage rates tumble back into record territory
Mortgage rates fell this week, with the 15-year fixed rate hitting yet another record low, amid news of weak job growth during the month of March. Borrowers seeking 15-year mortgages, a popular choice for those looking to refinance, were rewarded with an average interest rate of just 3.11% this week, down from last week's 3.21% and more than one percentage point lower than a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac's weekly mortgage rate survey.
In case you missed it…
After apologizing to Ann Romney, Hilary Rosen maintains her criticism of Mitt Romney's policies toward women.
These repubs are using a mispoke and exploding it. Rosen was receding to Ann Romney claim to knows what working women wants, and she instinctually said that Ann didn't have any experience in that field. Her words should have been more carefully chosen, but the fact of the matter is the Romney/Ryan plan will murder professional women, it would even be twice as harsh on stay at home moms. The repubs and their word spins are getting out of hand. Women are way smarter than these repubs think they are. If you take the weapons from the warriors of the economy, and give it to the generals, who are the rich, then tell them to go fight the battle, what you think will happen. Repubs give done this twice before, and it brought in the great depression and the great recession, your trickle down policies does not work.
Perhaps I should thank Rosen for keeping women a hot topic in politics! Stay at home moms even! Yes, we work hard and are deeply committed to homemaking! Derogatory comments from women in positions of power to speak, such as Rosen, are not only hurtful to moms, but damaging to families. I am sure Mrs. Romeny has worked very hard keeping a home, being mother and wife, and has also volunteered for charitable work. I think our first ladies and potential first ladies could run government better than their husbands!
Mayor Cory Booker is so not the usual suspect in government! Now a hero! That is the kind of leadership this country needs!
Republican personhood nominee, Mittens, not only will have to put a government agent in women's bedrooms, but since sperm creates life, he also will have to have government agents follow teenage boys with Sports Illustrated Calendars and Victoria Secret ads, as they can potentially eliminate life in a single act.
CNN: Republican strategist slams Democrats’ response to Hilary Rosen
Democrats allowed the Republicans to do a thorough job of drowning out the remarks by Rep. West.
As a single mother who worked a full time job AND raised her children, please let me point out that I did not have many of the same advantages as Mrs. Romney. I still cleaned my own home, cooked all the meals, did my own grocery shopping, maintained a vehicle, and was my own financial advisor. When Mrs. Romney can tell me how to do extreme couponing, what car mechanics won't rip off women, who can babysit in a pinch, and where to get the best recipes for hamburger to feed 5, THEN I'll believe she understands the issues that interest American women.
Once again the Republicans are "outraged" that a Democrat has dared to bring up the fact Mrs. R "never worked a day in her life". Hell, I`m a man and I understood what she meant. ----Many women can`t afford the luxury of having a CHOICE– they have to do BOTH, raise their children AND work OUTSIDE the home.