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: Bill Clinton chimes in on North Carolina same-sex marriage debate
Former President Bill Clinton voiced his opposition to an upcoming North Carolina ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage, recording a robo call set to go out to half a million voters in the state on Monday. “Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. I'm calling to urge you to vote against Amendment One on Tuesday May 8,” Clinton says in the recording.
CNN: Ayotte: I’m more qualified than Obama
Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, eyed as a possible running-mate pick for Mitt Romney, said on Sunday she was more qualified than Barack Obama was in 2008. “I have, some would say, better experience than Barack Obama had when he was a senator, having been the chief law enforcement officer of my state, (then) to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee,” Ayotte said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
CNN: Rubio defends Romney over U.S. handling of Chinese dissident, Axelrod fights back
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida stood by Mitt Romney in his reaction to the U.S. handling of a Chinese dissident this week, saying the presumptive GOP presidential nominee did not overreact to the situation. "I think this crisis is a reminder of what we are dealing with in China," Rubio told "Fox News Sunday." "And we hope that there are reformers in that government that are pushing for a more open system."
CNN: Biden says he is 'absolutely comfortable' with same-sex marriage
As a ballot initiative to ban same sex-marriage comes to a vote in North Carolina this week, Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday he was "absolutely comfortable" with the idea of same-gender marriage. "I just think that the good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about, it is a simple proposition: Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person who love?" Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
CNN: 9/11 victim's brother to alleged mastermind: 'I came a long way to see you, eye to eye'
Through hours of outbursts and objections in military court, Eddie Bracken said he had one image in his mind: that of a plane smashing into the World Trade Center tower where his sister worked. Anger surged inside him, Bracken told reporters Sunday, a day after he sat among a group of victim family members who watched the arraignment of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. naval base where the men are being tried before a military court.
CNN: U.S. citizen abducted in Pakistan asks Obama to meet Qaeda demands
A 70-year-old U.S. citizen kidnapped in Pakistan last year has made an emotional plea to President Barack Obama to meet al Qaeda's demands in order to save his life, according to a video released on several Islamist websites Sunday. "My life is in your hands, Mr. President," Warren Weinstein said in the video. "If you accept the demands, I live. If you don't accept the demands, then I die."
CNN: Historian guilty of stealing documents worth millions to learn fate
A self-styled historian who claimed to have moved among presidential circles is expected to be sentenced Monday after he pleaded guilty to stealing historical documents worth well over a million dollars. Barry Landau, 63, of New York admitted guilt in a Baltimore federal court in February to charges of conspiracy and theft of historical documents.
CNN: 'The Avengers' smashes domestic box office record for opening weekend
"The Avengers" have conquered America - for one weekend, at least. The superhero smorgasbord featuring Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk brought in $200.3 million its opening weekend in 4,300 U.S. theaters, smashing the previous domestic record for any movie's first three days, Walt Disney Studios said Sunday in a news release.
CNN: Polls open in Syria amid heavy security, scattered violence
Polls opened Monday in Syria with more than 7,000 candidates vying for 250 seats in parliament amid mounting international pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to step aside and end the violence that has seen thousands die. The opposition urged Syrians to boycott the elections, saying a vote for any of the candidates amounted to a vote for al-Assad.
CNN: Netanyahu calls for early elections
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Sunday for early elections. Speaking at a convention of his Likud faction in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu suggested September as his preferred date for Israelis to vote. "It is preferable to hold a short election campaign for four months that would enable us to quickly restore stability of our political system," Netanyahu told supporters. "Political instability always leads to blackmail and populism; I will not allow that to happen."
CNN: Putin returns as Russia's president amid protests
Vladimir Putin, who has dominated Russian politics for more than a decade, returns to the presidency Monday after winning a controversial election in March. The inauguration comes a day after hundreds of people, including opposition leaders and a popular blogger, were arrested in anti-Putin protests.
CNN: Socialist Hollande in, Sarkozy out, as France elects a new president
Francois Hollande defeated French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a presidential runoff Sunday, signaling a shift to the left as the country and Europe fight to dig out of a weak economy. In a victory speech to supporters in Tulle, Hollande declared his win "a great date for our country, and a new start for Europe." The Socialist challenger promised to govern for all of France.
CNN Money: 'Jitters' from Europe
When U.S. investors start trading Monday, they'll have two big bits of global news to chew over: Election outcomes in France and Greece. In France, socialist Francois Hollande defeated president Nicolas Sarkozy, raising questions about the future of austerity throughout Europe. "A change in leadership brings uncertainty because you don't know exactly what you're getting into," said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research.
CNN: Survey: U.S. gasoline prices drop 7 cents
The average price for a gallon of regular U.S. gasoline slipped almost 7 cents over the past two weeks, chasing a drop in crude oil prices, according to a nationwide survey published Sunday. A gallon of regular now costs $3.85 on average, the Lundberg Survey found. In the past month, average prices have fallen more than 12 cents.
CNN Money: Buffett and Munger won't buy Facebook stock
Facebook kicks off its highly anticipated IPO road show Monday, but two men won't be taking the pitch - legendary investor Warren Buffett and his 88-year old co-pilot Charlie Munger. Despite the hype, Buffett and Munger aren't interested in investing in Facebook for Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio or for their own.
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