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: Clinton calls out ‘disappointing’ Romney ad
Bill Clinton said an attack ad from Mitt Romney misconstrues recent changes pushed by President Barack Obama to the welfare reform law Clinton signed as president. “Governor Romney released an ad today alleging that the Obama administration had weakened the work requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. That is not true,” Clinton said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the Obama administration had taken steps to ensure work requirements for welfare recipients were maintained.
CNN: Voter ID lawsuits could delay election results again
Partisan legal showdowns in battleground states over a spate of new voting laws could turn the 2012 elections into a repeat of the 2000 presidential vote recount saga, political experts say. "Whenever you change the rules by enacting new laws, it triggers a round of litigation. I don't think we'll see an end to this anytime soon," said Dan Tokaji, an Ohio State University law professor. "It could come down to the states counting of absentee ballots. ... We could see a replay of the 2000 election, where we don't have a winner for weeks."
CNN: Presidential campaign gets even dirtier
Hypocritical. Contemptible. Dishonest. "Obamaloney." The rhetoric, charges and counter-charges flew fast and thick Tuesday as the presidential election campaign continued on its sharply negative trajectory. New advertisements by each side prompted caustic responses from the other as name-calling and finger-pointing dominated the debate less than three months before the November vote that pits President Barack Obama against certain Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
CNN: Obama plans Iowa blitz
President Barack Obama is readying for a three-day blitz next week through Iowa, the swing state that ignited his 2008 primary charge against Hillary Clinton and later handed him a 10-point victory over Sen. John McCain. The seven-city tour, lasting next Monday through Wednesday, will include stops in seven separate cities: Council Bluffs, Boone, Oskaloosa, Marshalltown, Waterloo, Dubuque, and Davenport. With seven electoral votes, and an electorate that comes to know presidential candidates better than that of nearly every state, Iowa is being eyed heavily by both campaigns. An NBC News/Marist poll conducted last May found the race dead even between Obama and rival Mitt Romney, each at 44 percent.
CNN: Police: No evidence temple shooter left message indicating plans
As community members sought emotional healing in the wake of the shooting spree at a religious service, police said Tuesday they had not identified a motive or found any telltale writings or note left by the gunman.
Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards also said family members of Wade Michael Page, 40, have not reported observing any warning signs. Page, an Army veteran who neighbors say played in a far-right punk band, was the lone gunman in the Sunday rampage at a Sikh temple, Edwards said. Page was shot to death by police responding to the attack.
CNN: FAA halts certain runway operations after Reagan National Airport mishap
The Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday ordered a nationwide halt to "opposite direction" runway operations, in which planes arrive on runways in one direction and depart in the other, as the result of an investigation into last week's incident at Reagan National Airport involving three planes which came dangerously close. FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta ordered the temporary halt, saying the agency discovered it has "no standard protocol" for switching from a one-way runway traffic pattern to the less common two-way pattern. The lack of a standard protocol likely contributed to the July 31 mishap, he said.
CNN: Loughner pleads guilty to 19 counts in Tucson, Arizona, mass shooting
Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged gunman in last year's mass shooting outside an Arizona supermarket in Tucson that killed six people and wounded then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, pleaded guilty Tuesday to 19 charges in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty. Under the plea deal, Loughner will be sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole, federal prosecutors said. His sentencing is scheduled for November 15, prosecutors said.
CNN: Louisiana school reconsiders policy that can force students to take pregnancy test
A publicly funded school in Louisiana said Tuesday that it may rethink requiring students suspected of being pregnant to be tested medically and, if pregnant, to be home schooled. Under the school's policy, which is posted on its website, "The school reserves the right to require any female student to take a pregnancy test to confirm whether or not the suspected student is in fact pregnant." In cases where a test determines that one of the school's approximately 700 students is pregnant, "the student will not be permitted to attend classes on the campus of Delhi Charter School," it says.
CNN: Gunmen attack checkpoints, cement factory in Egypt
Masked gunmen launched six simultaneous attacks in Egypt's North Sinai early Wednesday, wounding a police officer and a civilian, said Gen. Ahmed Bakr, head of North Sinai security. The targets included five security checkpoints and a military cement factory, he said. Bakr had said earlier that two officers were wounded, but he later said it was one officer and one civilian. The violence comes just days after another attack in Sinai.
CNN: Pakistan to start contempt hearing against new PM
Pakistan's Supreme Court says it will start contempt proceedings against the country's new prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, on August 27. The contempt proceedings are because Ashraf is accused of not pushing Swiss authorities to reopen a corruption investigation against President Asif Ali Zardari. The former prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was ousted by the Supreme Court in June for also refusing to call on Swiss authorities to reopen the old corruption case against Zardari.
CNN: Flooding brings chaos to Philippine capital
Fueled by seasonal monsoon rains and a nearby tropical storm, widespread flooding in the Philippines worsened Tuesday, killing at least 11 people, the national disaster agency reported. A landslide in the Manila suburb of Quezon City buried two houses, leaving nine people dead and four others injured, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center. Three of the dead were children, the state-run Philippines News Agency reported.
CNN: China's Bo Xilai: From rising star to scandal
In a country where the image of Mao Zedong is still revered and taxi drivers hang Mao medallions from their rear-view mirrors almost like lucky talismans, Bo Xilai's 'red culture' revival was always going to have traction. From June 2009, Bo led a law and order drive that resulted in the arrest of thousands of suspected gangsters, but critics claim it also targeted his political adversaries. The crackdown may have thrilled many in Chongqing's massive municipality of 32.8 million people – almost four million of whom are rural migrant workers seeking work in the urban center, but Bo's law-and-order campaign touched on one of China's growing social and political fault lines.
CNNMoney: Calls to scrap ethanol mandate intensify with drought
Current rules stipulate that nearly 10% of the nation's gasoline supply come from corn-based ethanol. To make that ethanol, up to 40% of the country's annual corn production can be required. With corn prices surging - they're up 50% in the last six weeks alone - many say waiving the mandate would help bring those prices down. They say lower corn prices would also help lower prices for certain foods that depend on the crop, like cereal and meat.
CNNMoney: Gas prices climb 30 cents a gallon
Gas prices continued their slow but steady march higher Tuesday, surpassing a nationwide average of $3.63 cents a gallon on the back of refinery problems in the United States and higher crude oil prices globally. Nationwide average gasoline prices are now 30 cents higher than they were just five weeks ago.
CNNMoney: Mortgage closing costs fell 7% for homebuyers
Federal regulations are helping to significantly reduce the amount new homebuyers are paying come closing time. The average cost of closing on a mortgage has fallen by 7.4% over the past year, according to a recent survey by Bankrate.com. At the end of June, a homebuyer looking to close on a $200,000 mortgage with 20% down paid an average of $3,754, $300 less than 12 months earlier.
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