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: Five things we learned on Election Night
The 2012 presidential election shattered spending records, further polarized a divided country and launched a thousand hashtags. The race appeared to be a nail-biter going into Tuesday night but in the end, it came down to the state that most had been saying for weeks that it would — Ohio. Here are five things we learned from Tuesday
CNN: A day after loss, conservatives point fingers
Following Mitt Romney's loss to President Barack Obama, conservative leaders wasted no time Wednesday offering pointed criticism of the Republican Party and its pick for president. A coalition of social conservatives and tea party activists gathered in Washington to decry what they described as Romney's failure to represent conservatives on a national level.
CNNMoney: Fiscal cliff: Boehner's opening gambit
There's a big difference between raising tax rates and raising tax revenue. And the distinction may prove key in fiscal cliff negotiations between House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama over the next two months. Boehner on Wednesday laid out in public his opening gambit for that deal-making.
CNN: Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin is first openly gay person elected to Senate
Tammy Baldwin made history Tuesday night - twice. She became the first openly gay politician, and first Wisconsin woman, elected to the U.S. Senate. The seven-term Democratic congresswoman edged past former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson in a win that advocacy groups hailed as a significant stride toward bringing diversity to the Senate.
CNN: Loughner to be sentenced for 2011 Arizona shootings
Jared Loughner, the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to the attempted assassination of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will be sentenced Thursday. Federal prosecutors have said Loughner will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the January 2011 shooting, which killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords.
CNN: After election victory, Arpaio says he wants to meet with Latinos
The Arizona sheriff known nationwide for his tough stance on undocumented immigrants says he has a mission now that he's clinched another re-election victory: meeting with Latinos. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Justice Department have filed lawsuits accusing Arpaio of civil rights violations and racial discrimination against Latinos.
CNN: 'Mother Nature's one-two punch' pounds Northeast
Residents of the northeastern United States, still reeling from the havoc Sandy wreaked October 29 on the region, learned Wednesday that the same holds true for snow and wind, which buffeted the coast in the form of a nor'easter. More than 600,000 households who have been without power since October 29 hunkered down for a long, cold night.
CNN: Puerto Ricans favor statehood for first time
In an overshadowed Election Day contest, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood in a nonbinding referendum, marking the first time such an initiative garnered a majority. Puerto Ricans were asked about their desires in two parts. First, by a 54% to 46% margin, voters rejected their current status as a U.S. commonwealth. In a separate question, 61% chose statehood as the alternative, compared with 33% for the semi-autonomous "sovereign free association" and 6% for outright independence.
CNN Security Clearance: Obama faces a world of challenges in second term
After a long presidential campaign, Barack Obama has little time to savor his re-election victory as a host of world challenges linger. Security Clearance examines some of the key national security issues Obama will have to tackle in the coming months and what the strategy may be now that the election year politicking is over.
CNN: Hu warns of corruption as key Chinese leadership meeting begins
Chinese President Hu Jintao, set to begin handing over power to his successor, warned Thursday that a failure to deal with corruption could bring down China's ruling Communist Party and the state it controls. Hu was speaking at the party's 18th National Congress in Beijing, a key meeting of top officials that will usher in a new set of leaders of the world's most populous nation. After a decade in power, Hu is expected to hand over the party's top job to Vice President Xi Jinping.
CNN: Greek Parliament approves austerity cuts
The Greek parliament early Thursday narrowly adopted a new round of austerity cuts that are required for Greece to receive the next installment of a crucial international economic bailout. The cuts have provoked ire among Greeks furious about the effects of multiple rounds of belt-tightening, which have resulted in cuts to pensions and pay. They have seen unemployment soar to more than 25%.
CNN: 48 dead after earthquake rocks Guatemala
A powerful earthquake off the Pacific coast of Guatemala on Wednesday sent debris crashing down onto cars, collapsed roads, destroyed hundreds of homes, and killed dozens in the Central American nation, officials said. At least 48 people died in the temblor, President Otto Perez Molina said in a Twitter post Wednesday night, and doctors treated at least 150 others for injuries.
CNNMoney: A sell-off on Wall Street gained momentum Wednesday, with the Dow
A sell-off on Wall Street gained momentum Wednesday, with the Dow closing below 13,000 for the first time in three months, as investors focused on how President Obama plans to avoid the fiscal cliff after he won re-election Tuesday night. A weak outlook for economic growth in Europe and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi's warning of a slowdown in Germany also weighed on the market.
CNNMoney: Red Cross donations top $100 million for Sandy relief
The American Red Cross continues to see an outpouring of donations in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. As of early Wednesday, the Red Cross had raised nearly $103 million, up from $85 million Monday morning. Much of that bump came from a "Day of Giving" fundraiser hosted by ABC on Monday, which the network reported brought in almost $17 million for the Red Cross.
CNNMoney: Preparing the power grid for the next Sandy
Hurricane Sandy left over eight million people along the East Coast without power. More than a week later, hundreds of thousands are still in the dark. Power outages cost the nation between $80 billion and $180 billion each year, according to research by Massoud Amin, a senior member of Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers. At a press conference last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the city needs to "not only rebuild, but rebuild stronger and smarter."
In case you missed it…
CNN's John King shows how President Obama won re-election with the support of women and minority voters.