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: Ousted Secret Service agent posted pictures of Sarah Palin on Facebook
As officials warn of more Secret Service resignations as soon as Friday stemming from a prostitute scandal in Columbia, one of the former agents allegedly involved joked on Facebook that he checked out former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin while on assignment during the 2008 campaign.
CNN: CNN Poll of Polls: All tied up between Obama and Romney
It's basically all knotted up between President Barack Obama and all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, according to an average of the six national surveys conducted entirely after former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania suspended his campaign on April 10.
CNN: Romney to meet privately with RNC members
Mitt Romney will meet privately with members of the Republican National Committee at their meeting in Scottsdale on Friday, CNN has learned. Romney is also slated to address a committee luncheon later on Friday afternoon.
CNN: Biden says Democrats have chance in Arizona
Arizona has voted for only one Democratic presidential candidate in 60 years, but Vice President Joe Biden sounded a confident note in the state Thursday, telling a crowd at a fundraising event in Phoenix there was a chance to turn the state blue in November.
CNN: 2 Secret Service supervisors ousted in prostitute scandal identified
Two Secret Service supervisors who have lost their jobs in a prostitute scandal during a recent trip to Colombia are David Chaney and Greg Stokes, a source familiar with the investigation told CNN National Security Contributor Fran Townsend on Thursday.
CNN: George Zimmerman's attorney to ask for bond
An attorney will ask a Florida judge on Friday to allow George Zimmerman to post bond despite ongoing concerns about his safety amid a national uproar over his role in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
CNN: Feds continue search for Etan Patz
Police and federal agents were expected Friday to continue searching in a Lower Manhattan basement for clues in the more than 30-year disappearance of six-year-old Etan Patz, the boy who became the face of missing children in America.
CNN: Task force to consider 'stand your ground' after Trayvon Martin death
Florida authorities have picked 17 people to tackle a heated question brought on by the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin: whether the state's "stand your ground law" should be changed. The task force, whose membership was announced Thursday, will hear impassioned arguments and testimony from residents at public meetings across the state. Its first meeting is set for May 1 in Tallahassee.
CNN: Sudan president vows to 'punish' South Sudan
The Sudanese president has vowed to "never give up" a disputed oil-rich region that has escalated tensions with South Sudan and sparked fears of the two neighbors' return to war.Clashes between the two nations soared in the past week after South Sudan declared the disputed Heglig region is under its control.
CNN: North Korea concludes investigation into failed rocket launch
North Korea says its scientists have concluded their investigation into the failure of the country's long-range rocket launch last week, but it declined to divulge why the flight ended in a trail of debris strewn across the sea.
CNN: Libya has 'great evidence' against Gadhafi's son, ICC prosecutor says
Libyan prosecutors have gathered "great evidence" against the son of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Thursday, reopening the controversial question of where Saif al-Islam Gadhafi will be tried.
CNN: Truck raises questions about China's role in North Korea's missile program
After weeks of military analysts examining the latest North Korean rocket before and after its failed launch, the focus now has turned to a truck. It's not just any truck. It's known as a "transporter, erector, launcher," TEL for short, and is designed to move a long-range missile into place, stand it upright and launch it from just about anywhere in North Korea. The United Nations is investigating if the TEL came from China in violation of U.N. resolutions, a U.S. official tells CNN.
CNN Money: Investors to ECB: 1 trillion euros is not enough
The European Central Bank pulled out all the stops to prevent a credit crunch by providing banks with €1 trillion in ultra-low cost financing. The move helped ease pressure on eurozone nations as some banks used the money to buy government bonds. But the potency of the ECB's two long-term refinancing operations appears to be fading as yields on Spanish and Italian bonds have shot higher in recent weeks.
CNN: House passes GOP small business tax cut
The GOP-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday passed a $46 billion small business tax cut bill - an election year measure that has virtually no chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate or surviving a presidential veto.
CNN Money: Short sales expected to surge this year
Short sales are rising sharply, offering many struggling homeowners a better alternative to foreclosure in many of the nation's hardest hit states. In short sale deals, the sale price of the home is less than what the seller owes. Often, the bank that holds the mortgage takes so long to approve the sale that the deal falls through. But in recent months, the pace of short sales has increased, a trend that should gain momentum, according to RealtyTrac.
In case you missed it…
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says there are hundreds of incidents where U.S. soldiers have helped Afghanistan.
Today's Hot Topic:
Why are there still voters who incorrectly believe the GOBP handles economic issues better than the Dems?
This coming election, America has 1 choice! Most will say say, well the recovery wasn't fast enough, so let us give mitten a chance for the next 4 years. I will say! Its a thousand ways to get things wrong, but only a fee ways to get it right. Mitten said he has experience in business and Obama is just a neighborhood organizing Guy, Now stop for a komement and think, is America a business or is it a neighborhood. Business is all about getting stuff for the few by sucking sucking the majority, neighborhood organizer, is about looking after everyone and making sure every one do their fare share to keep things going. Do you see any similarity in these two guys character? I do! Lesson this country have never been an aristocrat country, it was always about helping each other out so that Evert one look goodx and businesses and people will break their necks to come to our shores because they'd see us of the land where everyone has an opportunity. When folks sees that only the rich has an opportunity and the poor is shifted to the side, our America wont seem attractive anymore.
CNN: House passes GOP small business tax cut
A textbook example of bad conservative fiscal policy. They argue it creates jobs. I say prove it, because the past decade proves that the policy does not create jobs and may in fact destroy jobs. Demand creates jobs, not wealth alone.
For example, I sell handmade widgets. One person can make roughly 25 widgets per month. I sell 80-90 widgets per month, and so I have 4 employees to handcraft them for me. I receive this 20% tax cut proposed in this bill. I now take home a little more money. I am pleased. But, I have no reason to hire another employee. None. There is no demand for it.
With all the noise the media is making about Romney's wealth, I don't recall such bluster and hand-wringing over the Kennedy fortune.
Or, for that matter, John Kerry.
Or the fact that John Kerry gave virtually nothing to charity while Romneys gave something on the order of $4 million...in addition to his entire inheritance from his father.
Oh. Wait. I just remembered.
Romney is Republican.
Kerry and the Kennedys are Democrats.
Also, Romney worked for his money.
Kennedy inherited his.
And Kerry married it.
Never mind. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.
CNN Poll: Mood of nation edging up
"The recession ended in June 2009, according to the body charged with dating when economic downturns begin and end."
I am coming to the conclusion that their measurements reflect the economy for the 1%, not the 99%. The recession officially began in December 2007, but most of the 99% didn't really first feel it until late 2008 or early 2009. The middle class recession was still in the beginning stages in June 2009. We need to figure out a way to measure economic downturns for the 99%, and not just the 1%.