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: McConnell move on debt ceiling backfires
The political posturing, and theater, related to the fiscal cliff continued Thursday as Senate leaders squared off over whether to make it harder for Congress to block future increases in the debt ceiling. At issue was a move by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and meant to put Democrats in a tough spot, that backfired. McConnell pushed for a vote on an idea he first proposed last year as part of the debt ceiling standoff.
CNN: Jersey Shore meets the fiscal cliff
After a series of meetings with both President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is rarely at a loss for words, declined to answer questions from reporters Thursday and left Washington in near total silence. As it turns out, the rising Republican star's quest for money to rebuild his state's battered shoreline may be colliding with another crisis – the fiscal cliff. In other words: bad timing.
CNN: Romney adviser opens up about Sandy, Eastwood and the '47%'
A top adviser for Mitt Romney's failed presidential bid weighed in on some of the campaign's low moments, pointing to Clint Eastwood's unexpected monologue, the '47%' comments and Superstorm Sandy as three challenges for Romney's team in the final months of the campaign.
CNN: Fiscal cliff deal down to wrangling over details
Both sides agree the wealthy will pay more, so now fiscal cliff talks come down to how much Republicans can wring out of the White House in return for giving in on taxes. To President Barack Obama, it's all about first locking in additional revenue from raising taxes on high-income owners, an outcome the GOP has long rejected.
CNN: Bloomberg says NYC will rebuild with climate change in mind
With his city still trying to bounce back from the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said New York must rebuild "smarter and stronger and more sustainably." Bloomberg told reporters New York will prepare for natural disasters better by revising building codes, changing zoning requirements in some low-lying areas and making sure infrastructure can withstand a Category 2 hurricane or a heat wave.
CNN: George Zimmerman sues NBC Universal over edited 911 call
George Zimmerman, charged in the shooting death of a 17-year-old Florida boy, sued NBC Universal on Thursday for using "the oldest form of yellow journalism" by editing an audio tape of his 911 call to make him sound racist, the lawsuit said. Zimmerman is seeking "damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit" in Seminole County Circuit Court in Florida, where the lawsuit is filed.
CNN: Pearl Harbor survivor, 91, helps identify unknown dead
Warren P. Hickok broke his right leg as a boy. Payton L. Vanderpool Jr. had a missing front tooth. Those physical characteristics eventually aided the identification of the men, decades after they were killed on December 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Using detective-like skills and personnel records, Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Emory, 91, has made it his mission to ensure graves are properly identified at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
CNN Security Clearance: Ex-sailor arrested, accused of attempting to hand over sub secrets
A former U.S. Navy submarine warfare specialist has been arrested and charged with trying to give classified information about how to track U.S. submarines to people he thought were representatives of the Russian Federation – but who were actually FBI undercover agents, according to federal authorities.
CNN: Egypt's Morsy stands by edict, calls for punishment of violent protesters
Opposition activists geared up for a new round of mass demonstrations Friday, unconvinced by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy's defense of his recent controversial actions and unnerved by threats of punishment.
CNN: Clinton: Situation in Syria is 'accelerating'
The situation in Syria is accelerating, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday, amid reports that President Bashar al-Assad's government may be preparing to use chemical weapons.
CNN: Ghana votes in another test of its stable democracy
Ghanaians vote Friday in a general election that pits the incumbent against the son of a former president in one of Africa's most stable democracies. The west African nation is hailed as a beacon of peace and democracy in a region beleaguered with coups, conflicts and civil wars.
CNN: Former Thai prime minister faces murder charge over 2010 crackdown
The consequences of ordering the military to crack down on anti-government demonstrations more than two years ago has come back to haunt the former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Thai authorities have charged Abhisit and his former deputy with murder in relation to the killing of Pan Kumkong, a taxi driver, amid the unrest that brought chaos to the streets of the capital city, Bangkok, in 2010.
CNNMoney: U.S. closer to being major natural gas exporter
The United States is one step closer to becoming a major exporter of natural gas. A long awaited report from the Energy Department issued Wednesday said the benefits of exporting the gas far outweigh the costs.
CNN: Dubai staging a comeback amid economic gloom
Four decades ago it was merely barren desert land. Four years ago it was at the height of an unparalleled economic boom that turned to bust amid the global financial crisis. Today the emirate of Dubai is staging a lively comeback, once again announcing the kind of ambitious plans that made it famous in the first place.
CNNMoney: Fiscal cliff could bring paycheck scramble
The longer Congress waits to avoid the fiscal cliff, the more complicated it will be for businesses to figure out how much to pay workers early next year. The confusion poses the biggest threat to the nation's 27 million small businesses, because the vast majority do their own payroll. That means they'll have to understand what Congress decides and calculate the changes fast.
In case you missed it…
CNN’s Brian Todd reports on efforts by law enforcement to force phone carriers to store text messages.