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: Obama, Romney tone down rhetoric, but campaigns don't
Will the devastation of Superstorm Sandy tone down the hostile rhetoric of the presidential campaign? The answer Wednesday was yes, at least by President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney, who left it to surrogates and others to do the political dirty work.
CNN: Why Election Day won't be postponed
With Superstorm Sandy leaving communities under water, stranding millions without power and consuming public resources in several states, could next Tuesday's vote for president be moved to a later date? No, it can't. Without passage of a new federal law, voting for president is required to take place on Tuesday, November 6, as planned. But, partial postponements of voting in some affected areas are possible, consistent with the laws governing the election of the president and vice president.
CNN: Both campaigns say they like their positions in polls
A majority of Americans think President Barack Obama will win re-election, according to a Gallup poll on Wednesday. By a 54%-34% margin, the public thinks Obama will defeat Republican nominee Mitt Romney on November 6. But the actual race for the White House appears to be a much, much closer contest.
CNN: Election price tag could reach $6 billion
How much will be spent on the 2012 federal elections? A report released Wednesday says the total spending amount could top a record-breaking $6 billion, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. As CNN reported earlier this year, that's enough money to give 6/7ths of the world's population $1 each.
CNN: Sandy ruptures tank, causing diesel spill in New Jersey
The refining company Motiva has notified officials that an estimated 300,000 gallons of diesel spilled at its facility in Sewaren, New Jersey, when Superstorm Sandy pushed through, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said.
CNN: AT&T, T-Mobile share networks to help Sandy victims
Getting cell phone reception in waterlogged New York and New Jersey could get a bit easier. In a rare moment of collaboration, wireless providers AT&T and T-Mobile have agreed to share networks in the challenging days following Superstorm Sandy, allowing customers to use whichever network gets coverage in their areas.
CNN: Down many flights of stairs, National Guard evacuates patients from hospital
National Guard troops lined up in stairwells at Bellevue Hospital, carrying oil for generators up 13 flights of stairs. Superstorm Sandy had knocked out the hospital's power, and flooding had wiped out basement fuel pumps designed to power its generators. On Wednesday, when officials at one of the country's largest hospitals decided the storm damage was too extensive to keep the facility running, those same troops helped carry patients down flights of stairs to waiting ambulances.
CNN: Dogs at center of police search arguments
The Supreme Court convened on Wednesday to listen to oral arguments in an important review of Fourth Amendment rights. At issue is whether subsequent searches can be sought when canines get a whiff of suspected drugs or other contraband from outside a home or a car. Two separate appeals from criminal defendants could have a far-reaching impact on when a person's private contents can be subjected to a search without clear probable cause or a valid search warrant.
CNN Security Clearance: Clinton: Syrian exile group not 'visible' opposition leader
An umbrella group that fashions itself the head of Syria's political opposition should no longer be considered the "visible leader" of efforts to form a government to replace Bashar al-Assad, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.
CNN: Argentina drops its voter age to 16
Argentinian lawmakers passed a new measure Wednesday lowering the nation's voting age to 16. Representatives in the South American country's lower house overwhelmingly voted in favor of the law Wednesday. A majority of senators approved it last week.
CNN: Bahrain says ban on protests is response to rising violence
Bahrain defended its decision Wednesday to impose a ban on all public protests, following calls from rights group Amnesty International to lift it immediately as a breach of people's right to free speech. Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority said in a statement that the ban was needed because "increasing violence has resulted in death and serious injury to many."
CNN: U.S. declines Pakistani radical's offer to help Sandy victims
As residents of the U.S. Northeast grapple with the destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy, an offer of assistance has come from an unlikely quarter: the leader of a radical Muslim group in Pakistan that Washington has branded a terrorist group. The United States, which has declared Jamaat-ud-Dawa a terrorist organization and put up a $10 million reward for information leading to Saeed's arrest and conviction, declined the offer.
CNNMoney: Superstorm Sandy donations top $11 million
Just two days after Superstorm Sandy pummeled much of the nation's East Coast with severe winds and torrential flooding, donations to relief efforts have started pouring in. The American Red Cross has received an estimated $11.44 million as of Wednesday morning, the agency said.
CNNMoney: Jobs report: What to expect
Extra attention will be paid to the job market this month when the government releases its jobs report Friday - the last before the presidential election next week. The Department of Labor confirmed it will release the report on time, despite earlier uncertainty surrounding the timing of the report after superstorm Sandy closed federal offices.
CNNMoney: FEMA may not have enough for flood damages
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA, has said it has enough funds for disaster aid from Superstorm Sandy. But the key question is does it have enough for flood damage? Sandy has flooded thousands of homes in its devastating path, and estimates are that damages will be in the billions of dollars. FEMA, which runs the federal flood insurance program, has to pick up the tab. But FEMA already owes $18 billion to the Treasury Department, thanks to Hurricane Katrina.
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