POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, August 20, 2012
August 20th, 2012
05:05 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, August 20, 2012

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: Missouri Republican claims 'legitimate rape' rarely results in pregnancy
U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, who won Missouri's GOP Senate primary earlier this month and will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November's general election, said Sunday that he misspoke when he claimed "legitimate rape" rarely resulted in pregnancy. Answering a question about whether or not he thought abortion should be legal in the case of rape, Akin explained his opposition by citing unnamed bodily responses he said prevented pregnancy.

CNN: Campaigns both claim advantage on Medicare battle
The political battle over Medicare, brewing since Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate, showed no signs of easing Sunday, with operatives from each campaign claiming their side had an advantage with senior citizens concerned about their government-funded health benefits.

CNN: Giuliani questions Biden's 'balance' as aides defend vice president
Surrogates for President Barack Obama defended Joe Biden on Sunday from critics who say the vice president's comments last week at an event in Virginia show his unsuitability for the office. Rudy Giuliani, the Republican former mayor of New York, questioned Biden's "balance" on CBS, saying he wasn't sure Biden would be able to step into the top role if the situation arose.

CNN: First lady to visit families of Sikh temple shooting victims
First lady Michelle Obama will travel to Wisconsin Thursday to meet with family members of those killed and injured in a Sikh temple shooting earlier this month, White House officials confirmed Sunday. The shooting – which left six people dead and four others injured – occurred August 5 in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The shooter, identified by police as 40-year-old Army veteran Wade Michael Page, was shot to death by police responding to the Sunday morning attack.


CNN: Official: British director Tony Scott dead after jumping from California bridge
Director Tony Scott, best known for the films "Top Gun" and "Beverly Hills Cop II," died in an apparent suicide Sunday when he jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, an official with the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office told CNN.

CNN: 9/11 families appeal court decision
Seventeen family members of people killed in the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks are appealing a court decision that ultimately will decide where unidentified victims' remains will rest. The appeal comes in a New York court decision of a lawsuit brought after the 9/11 Memorial Museum decided to keep the unidentified remains of ground zero victims underground near the museum.

CNN: GM recalls SUVs for fire hazard
General Motors is recalling nearly 250,000 sport utility vehicles because of an electrical problem that can cause fires. The recall pertains to some 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazers, GMC Envoys, Buick Raniers, the SAAB 9-7x, and Isuzu Ascenders, sold in a number of northern states, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

CNN: West Nile blamed in death of Illinois official as U.S. battles virus
An Illinois man died from West Nile complications over the weekend as the United States battles its biggest spike in the virus since 2004. William J. Mueller was hospitalized for two weeks and died Saturday, according to the website for the village of Lombard, a Chicago suburb. This year's U.S. outbreak of West Nile, which is spread through infected mosquitoes, is one of the worst since the virus was first detected in the United States in 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. At least 26 deaths and 693 cases in 32 states have been reported nationwide as of Tuesday evening, the CDC said.


CNN: 'Down syndrome girl' held on Pakistan blasphemy charge
An 11-year-old Christian girl has been arrested and detained on charges of blasphemy for allegedly desecrating pages from the Quran in the Pakistan capital Islamabad. According to a statement released by the President's office on Sunday, the girl, identified as Ramsha, was accused by a local resident of burning pages of the Muslim holy text after she gathered paper as fuel for cooking.

CNN: Court suspends death sentence following murder conviction of Gu Kailai
A Chinese court on Monday suspended the death sentence of Gu Kailai, the wife of a disgraced Communist Party leader, after finding her guilty of murder in the death of a British businessman, a family source said.

CNN: Julian Assange demands U.S. end WikiLeaks 'witch hunt'
Julian Assange demanded that the United States drop its "witch hunt" against WikiLeaks on Sunday as he made his first public appearance after months effectively confined to the Embassy of Ecuador in London. "As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies," the founder of website said to cheers from his supporters outside the embassy.

CNN: Myanmar sets up commission to probe clashes between Buddhists, Muslims
Myanmar has formed an internal commission to investigate the recent sectarian violence that killed dozens in the western part of the country, state media reported. The June clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine killed at least 62 people and displaced thousands.


CNNMoney: State unemployment rates rise in 44 states
The state unemployment picture worsened last month, with jobless rates creeping higher in 44 states, according to a government report released Friday. Only two states and the District of Columbia saw unemployment rates edge lower in July, while four states saw no change in rates, according to the Labor Department's monthly report on state unemployment.

CNNMoney: How Romney-Ryan could weaken traditional Medicare
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan say senior citizens could opt to stay in traditional Medicare even after the entitlement program is overhauled. But it won't look much like the Medicare of today. Instead, experts say it could wind up being more expensive and containing fewer doctors, hospitals and other providers.

CNNMoney: No-fee mortgage option is on the way
Lenders would have to offer potential home buyers an option to get mortgages with no fees, under a rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Generally, homeowners pay fees and points in exchange for lower overall interest rates on mortgage loans.

In case you missed it…
Romney campaign senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom says his candidate's tax returns are not a legitimate campaign issue.

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