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: Party conventions a prelude to trench warfare
In most presidential races this close, it is a battle for the undecideds and independents. Pre-convention interviews with both Republican and Democratic delegates suggest this year might be more like trench warfare - firing up the party faithful, starting in Tampa and Charlotte, to mobilize a high grassroots voter turnout in November. "Conventional wisdom is that this election is about independents, but in reality it's about the base," said Orit Sklar, a Georgia-based longtime Romney activist attending her first convention as part of a state delegation.
CNN’s John King: Convention goal is changing voters' view of Romney
The black and white images form a Reaganesque ring around the concourse of the Tampa convention hall, sending an unmistakable message: This is now Mitt Romney's Republican Party. Romney's convention challenges are many, beginning with what his top advisers unanimously say is their overriding goal: improve his "image" scores - meaning how voters view him on questions of likeability, empathy, and understanding the struggles of the middle class.
CNN: Cain investigating source of impropriety reports
Former Republican presidential contender, Herman Cain, said Monday he's paying for an investigation into the source of sexual impropriety reports during his primary campaign that eventually pressured him from the race. Cain gave up his presidential bid last December amid a flurry of allegations of past sexual impropriety, alleged to have taken place during his tenure as president of the National Restaurant Association. He was also confronted with news reports of a past extramarital relationship.
CNN: Source: Former Sen. Specter ill
Former longtime Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter was battling for his life Monday after recently being diagnosed with a "serious form of cancer," a source close to his office told CNN. Specter, who has overcome numerous serious illnesses over the past two decades – including a brain tumor and non-Hodgkins lymphoma – was diagnosed six weeks ago with the new form of cancer, the specifics of which are being closely held by his family.
CNN: Prosecutors: 'Anarchist' group of U.S. soldiers aimed to overthrow government
A U.S. soldier laid out an elaborate plot by a group of active and former military members to overthrow the government, telling a southeast Georgia court Monday that he was part of what prosecutors called an "an anarchist group and militia."
CNN: Isaac closes on the Louisiana coast
With less than a day to go before landfall, governments, business and residents in New Orleans and the central Gulf coast rushed to complete last minute preparations and braced themselves to bear the brunt of Tropical Storm Isaac. Isaac has taken on an added significance because its projected landfall Wednesday falls on the anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina.
CNN: Empire State Building shooter left keys with landlord
The unemployed apparel designer who killed a former coworker near the Empire State Building on Friday morning left his Manhattan apartment intending never to return, according to a police source with knowledge of the investigation. The police source told CNN that when Jeffrey Johnson closed his door, he left the keys behind for the landlord before heading off to shoot Steven Ercolino.
CNN: Human voice makes giant leap in space thanks to Curiosity
The voice of NASA's chief has boldly gone where no voice has gone before - to another planet and back. Words uttered by Charles Bolden, the administrator of NASA, were radioed to the Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars, which in turn sent them back to NASA's Deep Space Network on Earth, NASA said in a statement Monday.
CNN: Israeli court: American protester Rachel Corrie's death an accident
Nine years after an American activist was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer, an Israeli civil court ruled Tuesday that Rachel Corrie's death was an accident. Corrie, 23, was killed in 2003 while trying to block the bulldozer from razing Palestinian homes. On Tuesday, a judge in Haifa said the family has no rights to damages.
CNN: Mexican police officers detained over shooting of U.S. diplomatic vehicle
A Mexican judge has ordered the detention of 12 federal police officers accused of opening fire on a U.S. diplomatic vehicle south of the capital last week. Following the shooting incident Friday, two U.S. Embassy employees, described by a senior U.S. government official as U.S. citizens, were taken to a hospital with nonlife-threatening wounds. A member of the Mexican Navy who was with them in the vehicle suffered light bruises, according to a statement from the Mexican Navy.
CNN: Political tensions rise in Ivory Coast as Gbagbo's top allies arrested
Three top allies of Ivory Coast's former president, Laurent Gbagbo, have been arrested in less than a week, raising political tension in the West African nation, where the nation's army has been hit by weeks of attacks.
CNN: Japan regrets Beijing flag snatching
Japan on Tuesday described an attack on a car carrying the country's ambassador in Beijing as "very regrettable." Ambassador Uichiro Niwa was unhurt in Monday's incident but a man ripped off the Japanese flag flying on the vehicle. Relations between the two countries have been tense in recent weeks, with anti-Japan protests erupting in several Chinese cities earlier this month over a disputed island chain known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
CNNMoney: Isaac threatens Gulf oil production
Tropical Storm Isaac is curtailing oil production along the Gulf of Mexico and threatening refineries, which could send already rising gasoline prices up another 10 cents in the coming week. The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which oversees offshore oil production, said Monday that 78% of the current daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut, with 346 platforms and 41 rigs evacuated.
CNNMoney: GM and Chrysler to Obama, Romney: You're not invited
Michigan and Ohio are battleground states in the presidential election. But General Motors and Chrysler Group want their auto plants to be islands of neutrality. The automakers, which were both saved from liquidation by federal bailouts, have said political candidates will not be allowed to campaign on company property. In addition, GM added that candidates will not be given authorization to use film from past appearances in their campaign spots.
CNNMoney: AOL to pay $500 million in one-time dividend
AOL announced a $500 million one-time dividend Monday as part of a plan to distribute $1.1 billion in cash to shareholders, a defensive move for the Internet company that fought off a challenge by an activist shareholder earlier this year.
In case you missed it…
Presidential historian Doris K. Goodwin examines the changing role of political conventions in American society.