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: Pro-Obama super PAC defends controversial ad
Bill Burton, the co-founder of the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, said Wednesday he "absolutely" stood by an ad tying Mitt Romney to the loss of insurance and eventual death of a laid off steel worker's wife.
CNN: Portman: 'I think I'll end up being' in the Senate
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman threw cold water on the idea of becoming Mitt Romney's running mate on Wednesday, saying he thinks he'll "end up staying" in the Senate.
CNN: Gingrich: 'No proof today' to back claims in Romney ad
Newt Gingrich again defended the Romney campaign's attacks on President Barack Obama's "gutting" of the nation's welfare system on Wednesday. Asked by CNN on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," if he believes the ad, released Tuesday claiming a directive issued by Obama would "gut welfare reform," is misleading, the former House speaker declined, further backing-up his former Republican primary opponent.
CNN: Obama opposes Boy Scouts' ban of gay members
A White House spokesman said Wednesday that President Barack Obama disagrees with a ban on gays in the Boy Scouts, despite serving as that organization's honorary president. In July, the Boy Scouts of America announced it had affirmed its policy of "not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals."
CNN: Justice inspector general promises an ear for whistleblowers
ATF Whistleblowers played a key role in blowing the lid off the controversial Operation Fast and Furious gun trafficking debacle. Wednesday the Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced he will hire a whistleblower ombudsman to his staff, but did not indicate Operation Fast and Furious was a reason for the move.
CNN: Top Komen foundation leaders announce plans to leave posts
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced Wednesday that two of its leaders are leaving their posts, months after the breast cancer advocacy group came under fire over its decision - later reversed - to cut funding for Planned Parenthood projects.
CNN: Federal report: Bag with bomb was at Detroit building guard desk for weeks
A federal review cites poor judgment by a security guard who found a bag outside a government building in Detroit last year and stashed it under a desk where it remained for weeks - with neither the guard nor anyone else in the building aware that it contained a bomb.
CNN: Plea to be entered in killing of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky
A New York hardware clerk accused of abducting, smothering and dismembering an 8-year-old Brooklyn boy in the Hasidic Jewish enclave of Borough Park is scheduled to enter a plea on Thursday. Levi Aron is expected to plead guilty to murder and kidnapping charges, a source said, in a gruesome case that shocked New Yorkers and began when Leiby Kletzky went missing after walking back from summer camp in July 2011.
CNN: Libya's transitional council hands over power
Libya's National Transitional Council handed over power Wednesday to the General National Congress, the national assembly formed by last month's elections. The ceremony in a conference center in Tripoli marked the country's first peaceful government transition since before Moammar Gadhafi seized power in 1969.
CNN: Views differ on status of Salaheddine neighborhood in Syria's Aleppo battle
The Syrian government and rebel groups on Wednesday offered opposing accounts about who controls the volatile neighborhood of Salaheddine in the city of Aleppo. The struggle for Aleppo, Syria's largest city, represents a key fight in the conflict, which has morphed into a civil war in the months since government forces began cracking down on peaceful protesters in March 2011.
CNN: Murder trial at heart of Chinese political scandal begins
The murder trial of Gu Kailai, the wife of a recently deposed top official in the Chinese Communist Party, has begun in the eastern China city of Hefei, local officials said Thursday. Gu and a family aide, Zhang Xiaojun, are accused of poisoning Neil Heywood, a British businessman who was found dead in the southwestern Chinese metropolis of Chongqing in November.
CNN: Rescue plane leaves Antarctica after picking up patient
A dramatic medical evacuation mission played out Thursday as an aircraft picked up a patient from a research station in Antarctica, landing on a ice runway during a narrow window of "twilight" in the continent's dark winter.
CNN Money: Northeast Indiana: Hundreds of factory jobs go unfilled
Northeast Indiana has a peculiar problem. There are hundreds of factory jobs ready for the taking as the area's manufacturing sector has come back to life after the recession. But even with an unemployment rate as high as the national average, companies are struggling to hire workers.
CNN Money: Chinese inflation hits fresh 2-1/2 year low
Prices continued to decline in China last month, clearing the way for the country to ramp up its stimulus efforts. China's annual inflation rate fell to 1.8% in July, the government's National Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday, down from 2.2% in June. That's the lowest inflation rate in two-and-a-half years.
CNN Money: Android races past Apple in smartphone market share
The mobile space has quickly become a two-horse race between Google and Apple - and one of those giants significantly widened its lead last quarter. Google's Android surged to a whopping 68% share of the global smartphone market last quarter. That's four times more than the 17% market share held by Apple according to a Wednesday report from research firm IDC.
In case you missed it…
CNN’s John King explains why Pawlenty would be a logical choice for Romney's VP