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: Romney defends 'culture' remark, which drew Palestinian ire
In an opinion piece published online Tuesday, Mitt Romney defended a comment he made in Israel that drew the ire of Palestinians. On Monday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee pointed to a wealth disparity between Israelis and Palestinians and referenced a book which argued that "culture makes all the difference."
CNN: Leaders of Congress reach deal to fund government, avoid shutdown showdown
Congressional leaders announced a deal Tuesday on a six-month bill to fund the federal government, thereby removing the possibility of a government shutdown - and the political spectacle that would go with it - before the election. "It will provide stability for the coming months," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters. "It will be free of riders. This is very good because we can resolve these critical issues that directly affect the country as soon as the election is over and move on to do good things."
CNN: Cruz claims victory in Texas runoff for US Senate nomination
National conservatives and tea party-allied organizations congratulated Texas Republican Ted Cruz on Tuesday for winning his party's nomination for a U.S. Senate seat. "Wow," Cruz, a former state solicitor general making his first run for office, told supporters Tuesday evening. "We did it."
CNN: Fundraising spike follows Bachmann's controversial charges against Clinton aide
Rep. Michele Bachmann's controversial charges against a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have paid off in the form of money flowing into her re-election campaign. According to her campaign, the Minnesota Republican raised over one million dollars in a 25 day period in July – the same time that controversy brewed over a letter she sent with four other GOP Members to the State Department Inspector General, requesting an investigation into Huma Abedin's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
CNN: High court asked to accept appeal over California same-sex marriage ban
Supporters of California's voter-approved ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in the state asked the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday to allow it go back into effect. At issue is whether the Constitution's 14th Amendment guarantee of "equal protection" prevents states from defining marriage as only between one man and one woman.
CNN: Young immigrants prepare for new U.S. deportation policy
Daniel Guadalupe stared at the passport application in front of him, dumbfounded. His problem was not the questions asked, but the language they were written in. "I don't speak Spanish very well," he said as he struggled to fill out the Mexican government form. "I'll have to call my mom." The 18-year-old is one of more than a million people that U.S. officials estimate could benefit from the Obama administration's deferred deportation program aimed at illegal immigrants younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16.
CNN: Michael Phelps cements legacy as one of all-time Olympic greats
He was only a kid, a 15-year-old with braces, when he first dove into the Olympic spotlight. He didn't win any medal at the Sydney Olympics, but he gave fans a tiny glimpse of what was to come when he swam the last 50 meters of the 200-meter butterfly faster than anyone else in the pool. He moved from eighth to fifth and moved from side note to talking point just like that. On Tuesday, Phelps won his 19th Olympic medal, more than many countries have ever won.
CNN: Gore Vidal, chronicler of American life and politics, dies
Gore Vidal, an eclectic author who faithfully chronicled the major shifts and upheavals in the United States in books, essays and plays, has died. He was 86. Vidal died at his Los Angeles home Tuesday evening of complications from pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers said. The author had also been suffering from heart ailments.
CNN: Dark India: Ominous sign for BRIC economies?
India suffered widespread power outages that plunged half the nation in darkness Tuesday, the second massive power failure in as many days. As many as 600 million people were hit by the blackout, disrupting transportation and business before power returned. The breakdown of the nation's power grid points to another global concern: The slowdown of developing economies.
CNN: Panetta visits Israel amid Iran nuclear tensions
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta arrives in Israel on Wednesday just days after presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney visited Jerusalem and pledged to support "any and all measures" to keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Continuing his weeklong trip to the Middle East and North Africa, Panetta will meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres.
CNN: Syrian rebels hold pro-government prisoners in former school
In what has been one of the hottest summers many Syrians can remember, the classrooms of an elementary school in the north of the country are packed full - not with schoolchildren, but with pro-government prisoners captured by rebels. In one classroom this week, at least 40 adult men sat barefoot on cushions on the crowded floor in front of the teacher's chalkboard. Their heads were shaved. Most of them hid their faces as armed men showed visiting journalists the room.
CNN: Car bombs kill at least 17 in Baghdad
At least 17 people died Tuesday when two car bombs exploded in central Baghdad, police in the Iraqi capital said. One of the blasts occurred near the emergency police department headquarters in al-Andalus Square, and seven police officers were among the dead. Another blast occurred minutes later outside an Iraqi passport office two kilometers (slightly more than a mile) away.
CNNMoney: Central banks take center stage
As central bankers in Europe and the United States gather this week, investors around the world are wondering what the monetary authorities will do to support the global economy. First up is the Federal Reserve, which kicked off a two-day meeting Tuesday. The European Central Bank's governing council will hold its monthly policy discussion Thursday.
CNNMoney: Postal Service on the verge of default
Without help from Congress, the U.S. Postal Service is likely to default on a big bill due Wednesday to the federal government - $5.5 billion to prepay health care benefits for retirees. Postal officials have said they're bracing for default on the payment. They also don't have the money to make a $5.6 billion payment due Sept. 30.
CNNMoney: Fannie, Freddie regulator says no to reducing mortgage principal
The verdict is in. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not lower the amount struggling homeowners owe on their mortgages, their regulator declared Tuesday after a months-long delay. The Federal Housing Finance Agency said its analysis found that principal reduction does not prevent foreclosures while saving taxpayers money.
In case you missed it…
CNN's Joe Johns talks to Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis about their new movie, "The Campaign."