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: Three presidents gather for Bush portrait unveiling
There were smiles, laughter and tears - but little politics - when former Presidents George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush, joined current President Barack Obama at the White House for the unveiling Thursday of the younger Bush's official portrait.
CNN: Candidates squabble over ads, spending in Wisconsin debate
A Democratic Milwaukee mayor who will face an incumbent governor in Wisconsin's recall election engaged his rival in a heated debate Thursday over a campaign ad about homicide records in the city. Mayor Tom Barrett and Gov. Scott Walker were participating in their second debate before the June 5 gubernatorial recall vote.
CNN: Romneys meet with Nancy Reagan, who offers endorsement
Nancy Reagan, wife of former President Ronald Reagan, wrote in a statement Thursday she had endorsed GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney. "Mitt and Ann Romney joined me at my home this afternoon for some lemonade and cookies and I offered my firm endorsement of his campaign for President," Reagan wrote. Romney was in California Thursday to attend campaign fund-raising events.
CNN: Political fight over student loans heats up
The political battle over legislation to reduce the costs of student loans ramped up Thursday. Democrats accused Republicans of walking away from an issue critical to middle-class Americans just as Republicans proposed several specific options to offset the billions of dollars needed to extend lower interest rates for another year.
CNN: Trial bookmarks John Edwards' fall from grace
The acquittal and mistrial in John Edwards' campaign finance fraud trial completes a fall from grace that transformed the man who might have been president into one of the most vilified and lampooned political figures in the country.
CNN: Catholic child abuse coverup case heads to jurors
Jury deliberations could start Friday in the landmark trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking cleric charged with endangering children by allegedly helping cover up sexual abuse. Lynn, a defendant with another Philadelphia priest, is accused of knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children.
CNN: New York City seeks to ban big sodas from restaurants, food carts
New York City officials are proposing banning the sale of large-size sodas and other sugary beverages at restaurants and food carts. "More than half of NYC adults (58%) are overweight or obese," Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted Thursday. "We're doing something about it."
CNN: San Diego 8th grader wins Scripps National Spelling Bee
Snigdha Nandipati, 14, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night by spelling "guetapens," which means an ambush, snare or trap. "This is a miracle," the eighth-grader from San Diego, California, told ESPN, which aired the contest. Asked what it had taken for her to reach the pinnacle of spelling prowess, she said, "A lot."
CNN: Syria says regime not to blame for massacre; Rice says 'another blatant lie'
A U.S. official ridiculed as "another blatant lie" a Syrian government report Thursday asserting that terrorists - not security forces - massacred civilians in Houla. Last weekend's massacre, which left more than 100 people dead, sparked outrage across the globe and prompted calls for action against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
CNN: Report: Poor conditions continue at Apple's China suppliers
The biggest manufacturer of iconic Apple products including the iPhone and the iPad has again come under fire for the alleged treatment of its workers - this time by a Hong Kong-based rights group. Workers at Foxconn's giant plants in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhengzhou are subjected to long, punishing shifts for low pay, regular humiliation and harassment by management, and harsh living conditions in cramped factory dormitories, according to a report released Thursday by Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior.
CNN: Egypt kidnap victims released
Two American tourists who were kidnapped early Thursday in Egypt's Sinai region have been released unharmed, a U.S. State Department spokesman said, citing Egyptian officials. The U.S. Embassy has contacted the victims' relatives and is providing consular assistance, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said.
CNN: Aung San Suu Kyi: Peaceful freedom fighter
The election of Aung San Suu Kyi to Myanmar's parliament capped a remarkable turnaround for the pro-democracy campaigner, who was kept under house arrest for a total of 15 years by the country's military junta. Suu Kyi was born in 1945, the daughter of Myanmar independence hero General Aung San - a man almost universally respected in the country, including the top ranks of the omnipresent military.
CNN Money: May jobs report: More weak hiring expected
Don't expect to see a jobs comeback on Friday. The economy was expected to have added 150,000 jobs last month, according to economists surveyed by CNNMoney. They project that the jobs report for May will show the private sector expanded payrolls by 162,000 jobs, but the government shed 12,000 positions.
CNN Money: Dow, Nasdaq: Worst month in two years
U.S. stocks finished in the red Thursday, ending a wretched month on a weak note. "May is always a difficult month for the market, and this month has lived up to that reputation," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson, noting that the market has suffered declines in May for three out of the last four years.
CNN Money: Morgan Stanley CEO: No apologies on Facebook IPO
The way Morgan Stanley's CEO sees it, the Facebook IPO debacle has spawned a whole lot of Monday morning quarterbacks. And he doesn't like it one bit. James Gorman appeared on CNBC with reporter Maria Bartiromo on Thursday to defend Morgan Stanley's role as lead underwriter in Facebook's initial public offering on May 18.
In case you missed it…
Former president George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush bring humor to the unveiling of their official White House portraits.