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: Republican criticism of Rice 'outrageous'
President Barack Obama called out Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain for their "outrageous" comments saying they would block U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice if she is nominated for secretary of state. Earlier Wednesday, Graham and McCain said they would use parliamentary means to hold up her nomination, should it be made, over her characterization of the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
CNN: Jindal slams Romney for 'gifts' comment about minorities, young voters
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana fiercely shot back at Mitt Romney’s claim Wednesday that President Barack Obama outmatched the 2012 Republican presidential nominee by offering "gifts" to African-Americans, Hispanics and young voters. “I absolutely reject that notion,” Jindal, who was a surrogate for Romney’s campaign, said at the Republican Governors Association conference in Las Vegas.
CNNMoney: CEOs optimistic after Obama meeting
Honeywell International CEO David Cote struck a hopeful note after his meeting with President Obama on Wednesday. "This is going to get solved one way or another," Honeywell’s Cote said in an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett. Cote was among 12 CEOs of the nation's largest companies who met with President Obama on Wednesday to talk about the fiscal cliff.
CNN: Buffett hopes for a Clinton White House in 2016
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said he hopes Hillary Clinton will become the first female president of the United States in 2016. "I don't see how you could have anybody better qualified," Buffett told CNN's Poppy Harlow in an exclusive interview Wednesday about the current Secretary of State and 2008 White House hopeful.
CNNMoney: BP nears Deepwater Horizon deal with U.S.
BP said Thursday it was close to striking a deal with the U.S. government that would resolve criminal claims resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The London-based oil company said no agreement has been finalized, but that negotiations with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission were "advanced."
CNN Security Clearance: Air Force changes training structure after sex assault investigation
An investigation into sexual assaults and harassment at the basic-training facility for the U.S. Air Force has led to sweeping changes of how instructors are chosen, as well as to an increase in the number of female instructors for new recruits. The announcement came on Wednesday as the Air Force briefed reporters at the Pentagon on the findings of an investigation into claims earlier this year that dozens of female recruits had been sexually assaulted.
CNN: Owner of firm linked to deadly meningitis outbreak takes Fifth before Congress
The owner of a company linked to a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak cited his constitutional right to remain silent Wednesday before a congressional subcommittee investigating the firm and 32 deaths nationwide. The subcommittee is investigating what went wrong at the compounding company and why it was able to continue to function despite a history of problems.
CNN: FEMA's answer for NY storm victims: Put 'em back in their homes
In the aftermath of one of the worst weather systems to hit the Northeast, finding adequate shelter is the big concern. What to do with displaced residents, whose homes were rendered dark, cold and powerless by Superstorm Sandy, is now the question plaguing emergency management officials across the Tri-State area. FEMA's answer for New York: Fix up the homes as best they can and put people back in them.
CNN: After months of mystery, China unveils new top leaders
China on Thursday unveiled the elite group of leaders who will set the agenda for the country for the next decade, presenting them to journalists from around the globe after months of secretive bargaining and abundant speculation. The seven members of the committee that sits atop China's political system strode out onto a stage in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. They were led by Xi Jinping, who takes over from Hu Jintao as head of the Communist Party, which has ruled China for more than 60 years.
CNN: Israel targets 100 'terror' sites in Gaza; UN calls for 'maximum restraint'
Israel continued a blistering assault early Thursday against Gaza, targeting what it described as 100 terror sites in response to ongoing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, a move that has raised fears of the possibility of a wider regional conflict. The countering Israeli and Palestinian attacks prompted the U.N. Security Council to call an emergency closed door session late Wednesday in an attempt to de-escalate the crisis.
CNN: Clashes as austerity anger drives Europe strikes
A wave of anger over austerity is sweeping across Europe as workers fed up with government spending cuts and tax increases took to the streets in a coordinated day of action Wednesday. Some of the largest and occasionally violent protests took place in Spain, where a general strike is under way.
CNN: Myanmar's president grants 452 prisoners amnesty
Hundreds of prisoners in Myanmar have been granted their freedom, according to the state-run newspaper, just days before President Barack Obama is scheduled to become the first sitting U.S. head of state to visit the fledgling democracy. Myanmar's President Thein Sein bestowed amnesty Thursday on 452 prisoners, both Myanmar citizens and foreigners, with plans to extradite the foreigners, The New Light of Myanmar reported.
CNN: Facebook launches job search app
Watch out, LinkedIn. Facebook is jumping into the job search space, with a Social Jobs App that includes listings from services like Monster and BranchOut. The app, which launched Wednesday, currently includes 1.7 million job listings. It's part of the Social Jobs Partnership initiative, which Facebook formed in October 2011 in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor and three nonprofit labor organizations.
CNNMoney: Health insurance premiums see smallest increase in 15 years
The cost of providing health care benefits to employees rose by just 4.1% this year, the smallest increase in 15 years, according to a survey by human resources consultant Mercer. And employers are expecting to see another modest increase of 5% next year, the survey of 2,800 companies found. That's a far cry from the beginning of the decade, when employers reported increases of 10% to nearly 15% a year. Last year, benefit costs rose by 6.1%.
CNNMoney: Congressional report blames Corzine in MF Global collapse
A Congressional subcommittee investigating the collapse of brokerage MF Global said Wednesday that former CEO Jon Corzine's reckless tactics doomed the firm and ultimately led to a shortfall of $1.6 billion in customer funds.
In case you missed it…
President Obama says he has no evidence that the scandal involving Gen. David Petraeus jeopardized national security.