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’s John King: VP debate no game-changer, but could shift momentum
Yes, the debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan is sure to be entertaining, and it comes at an important moment in a highly competitive presidential campaign. But let's not get carried away. Some healthy context, courtesy of Republican pollster Whit Ayres: "Dan Quayle got his clock cleaned in his VP debate and still ended up as vice president." That's because Americans pick presidents on Election Day, not vice presidents.
CNN: Ryan's debate prep as meticulous as he is
Paul Ryan has a constant companion on the campaign trail - a weighty burden he clearly can't live without. It's an oversized, well-worn brown briefcase that holds about 40 pounds of paperwork that he's been studying nonstop to prepare for his debate with Vice President Joe Biden. Ryan sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN’s Dana Bash to give some insight into how he is getting ready for his 90-minute face-off.
CNN: U.S. official says superiors worked against effort to boost Benghazi security
The State Department's former point man on security in Libya told a congressional hearing Wednesday that his superiors worked against him as he tried to get more help for the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi in the months before it was overrun in a deadly terror attack.
CNN: Five things to watch for in vice presidential debate
Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate, will share the stage in Danville, Kentucky, in their only debate. Biden and Ryan's debate follows the top of the tickets' first of three debates last week, in which Obama turned in a lackluster performance, upstaged by an aggressive and vibrant Romney. Here are five things to watch for on Thursday night.
CNN: Affirmative action under pressure at Supreme Court
The race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas appeared to be in trouble on Wednesday after the conservative Supreme Court majority repeatedly questioned its continued application and effectiveness. The Justices heard oral arguments in an affirmative-action case that explores whether the flagship state university's admissions practices aimed at creating campus diversity violate the rights of some white applicants.
CNN: Meningitis outbreak highlights failed oversight efforts
Sarah Sellers, a pharmacist and expert on the sterile compounding of drugs, testified to Congress in 2003 about non-sterile conditions she'd witnessed. Nearly 10 years later, there are still no federal sterility guidelines for compounding pharmacies that make and distribute drugs all over the country. Now, 137 cases and 12 fatalities nationwide are blamed on a rare, non-contagious form of meningitis linked to contaminated steroid injections made by the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center.
CNN: Feds warn of counterfeit airbags being installed as replacements
Car owners who have replaced a vehicle's airbag in the past three years, take note: That new airbag could be an unsafe fake. Federal officials on Wednesday warned motorists and auto shops that counterfeit airbags pose a danger to consumers, saying the bags could fail to deploy or even hurt people in car wrecks.
CNN: Evidence of Armstrong doping 'overwhelming,' agency says
Cyclist Lance Armstrong was part of "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen," the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday in releasing more than 1,000 pages of evidence in the case.
CNN: 2 arrested at London airport in terror probe involving Syria
British police arrested a man and a woman at London's Heathrow Airport as part of an probe into people traveling to Syria participate in alleged terror activities. The suspects, both 26, were arrested Tuesday night after arriving on a flight from Egypt, London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The statement did not say whether the suspects were headed to Syria or had returned from there. Authorities did not release their names.
CNN: Pakistani teen blogger in 'critical' condition after Taliban attack
The teenage Pakistani blogger shot by the Taliban is in a "critical" condition, one of the doctors treating her said Thursday, a day after surgeons removed a bullet lodged in her neck. Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai is suffering from severe edema, said Lt. Col Junaid Khan, the head of neurosurgery at the military hospital in the city of Peshawar where she is being treated. He declined to elaborate further on her condition.
CNN: Freed Pussy Riot member vows to continue political protest acts
Only hours after she was freed from prison Wednesday, Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich vowed to continue the kind of political protest act that led to her imprisonment this summer for "hooliganism" alongside two fellow band members. The Russian punk band members were sentenced in August for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in one of the Russian Orthodox Church's most important cathedrals in February.
CNN: Unknown fates for hundreds of Egyptians missing since revolution
Ahmed Taha was 17 a year ago, when he says security forces abducted him outside Egypt's High Court, beat and raped him. "They beat me," he says. "One stepped on my face. I was wearing my glasses. They broke the glasses and my face was disfigured." He says the beatings were just the beginning. For nine months, he says, his family couldn't find him in hospitals and police stations. His mother started to wear black in mourning. Finally, his family located him and were able to visit him briefly in prison. Taha was released in July, without ever being indicted. He's now 18.
CNN: IMF chief: Global economy under 'veil of uncertainty'
The global economy is under a "veil of uncertainty" as economic issues grip the U.S., eurozone and developing markets such as China, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Thursday in Japan. Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, said that while "more difficult to analyze and pin down," elevated levels of uncertainty are resulting in slower growth. "We need action to lift the veil of uncertainty."
CNN: Google awards $60,000 prize for Chrome hack
Google is one of a growing number of companies to offer a "bug bounty" to hackers who can find security issues in its products - and on Wednesday, a teenager scored the top $60,000 prize for uncovering a vulnerability in the Chrome browser. It's the second time that the hacker, a teenage male who goes by the handle "Pinkie Pie," has taken home Google's money. Google fixed the problem with a software update about 10 hours after the bug was exposed, congratulating Pinkie Pie on "another beautiful piece of work."
CNN: Social Security: Where Obama and Romney stand
When asked directly about Social Security during their first debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney each gave a brief, detail-free answer. Then they used the rest of their time to talk about Medicare. Granted, Medicare poses a much bigger financial problem than Social Security. But Americans rely on both programs.
In case you missed it…
CNN’s Candy Crowley talks about getting the news that she’ll be the first woman in 20 years to moderate a presidential debate.