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: McCain suggests Bill Clinton as Middle East peace negotiator
Sen. John McCain suggested Sunday that former President Bill Clinton once again try his hand at forging peace between the Israelis and Palestinians as another day of violence lit up the sky on the border between Israel and Gaza.
CNN: Gingrich: Romney ‘gifts’ comment ‘nuts’
Newt Gingrich had harsh words Sunday for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s suggestion that he lost the election because President Barack Obama offered “gifts” to African-Americans, Hispanics, and young voters. “I just think it’s nuts,” Gingrich said on ABC. “I mean, first of all, it's insulting.”
CNN: Wisconsin leaders respond to temple shooting
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who survived a recall effort in June, released the following statement Sunday on the Sikh temple shooting in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek. "While the situation in Oak Creek continues to develop rapidly, we are working with the FBI and local law enforcement. I became aware of the situation late this morning and continue to receive updated briefings […]”
CNN: Graham, Gibbs tangle over Reid's allegations
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham strongly took issue with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's accusations that Mitt Romney has not paid taxes in 10 years, saying Sunday that the Democratic leader was "lying." "What he did on the floor of the Senate is so out of bounds. I think he's lying about his statement, of knowing something about Romney," Graham said on CNN's "State of the Union."
CNN: Romney to Reid: 'Put up or shut up'
Mitt Romney on Thursday pushed back against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's allegations that the presumptive GOP nominee has not been paying his taxes. "It's time for Harry to put up or shut up," Romney said on Sean Hannity's radio show. In a Huffington Post interview published Tuesday, the leading Democrat said that an unnamed investor with Bain Capital, Romney's former private equity firm, told Reid in a phone conversation that Romney had not paid taxes for a decade.
CNN: Congress closes loophole in stock trading law after CNN report
House Republicans have been forced to close a potential loophole on their much-touted insider trading law - a loophole CNN uncovered and reported about last month. Because of CNN's report, the Senate and House passed new legislation Thursday to close the loophole that could have allowed family members of some lawmakers to profit from inside information.
CNN: Would more tea party-backed senators mean more gridlock?
Texas GOP upstart Ted Cruz claimed victory Tuesday with a familiar tea party rallying cry. "Millions of Texans and Americans are rising up to reclaim our country, to defend liberty and to restore the Constitution," he told supporters. A 41-year-old, first-time candidate, Cruz walloped the well-funded Republican establishment candidate, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary runoff. He did so by vowing to stand by his tea party principles.
CNN: Obama, Romney camps spar over tax study
Making his 12th visit to the Buckeye State since announcing his campaign for reelection, President Barack Obama on Wednesday continued to hammer home the differences between his tax policies and those of his opponent.
CNN: Romney defends 'culture' remark, which drew Palestinian ire
In an opinion piece published online Tuesday, Mitt Romney defended a comment he made in Israel that drew the ire of Palestinians. On Monday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee pointed to a wealth disparity between Israelis and Palestinians and referenced a book which argued that "culture makes all the difference."
CNN: Leaders of Congress reach deal to fund government, avoid shutdown showdown
Congressional leaders announced a deal Tuesday on a six-month bill to fund the federal government, thereby removing the possibility of a government shutdown - and the political spectacle that would go with it - before the election. "It will provide stability for the coming months," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters. "It will be free of riders. This is very good because we can resolve these critical issues that directly affect the country as soon as the election is over and move on to do good things."
CNN: Romney talks tough but differs little from Obama on Iran
Mitt Romney seeks to assure Israel and Iran, as well as Jewish voters in the United States, that he will be tougher against Iran's nuclear ambitions than President Barack Obama. So far, though, the main differences on the issue between the presumptive Republican nominee and the president he hopes to defeat in the November election involve tone and nuance more than substance.
CNN: Senate Republicans filibuster Obama judicial nominee
In keeping with their vow to prevent any more of President Barack Obama's appeals court nominees from being confirmed until after the election, Senate Republicans successfully upheld Monday their filibuster of Judge Robert Bacharach's nomination to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Denver.
CNN: Romney talks tough on Iran
Warning that a nuclear-capable Iran would lead to war, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday pledged to support “any and all measures” to keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. During what his campaign billed as a major foreign policy speech in Jerusalem, Romney said he hoped economic and diplomatic steps would deter the Islamic republic from pursuing the ability to develop nuclear weapons – but “no option should be excluded.”
CNN: Senators spar over fiscal cliff
Two senators said Sunday the impending 'fiscal cliff' that would automatically slash billions from the U.S. Department of Defense needed to be avoided, but offered different timetables for resolving the problem. The so-called "sequester," which would force the Pentagon to cut $500 billion from its budgets over the next decade, came about after congressional negotiators failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan last fall. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, one of 74 senators to vote for the measure that included the automatic cuts last August, said Sunday he didn't expect any action to take place on staving off the cuts ahead of November's election.
CNN: Electoral College tie possible in Obama-Romney race
An Electoral College tie. It's the white whale of American elections: elusive, mythical and never realized. But could it finally happen this year? The likelihood that President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will each net 269 electoral votes in November, instead of the 270 needed to win, is actually not so farfetched - and for close observers of the Electoral College system, a tie would set off a wave of constitutional and political mayhem that would make the 2000 Florida recount seem like a tidy affair.
CNN: Obama talks guns, Democratic leaders duck
President Barack Obama broke his silence on the Colorado movie massacre Wednesday night and spoke out on the issue of gun control. "I believe the majority of gun owners would agree ... that we should check someone's criminal record before they can check out a gun seller; that a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily," said the president. "These steps shouldn't be controversial. They should be common sense," he added.
CNN: Obama takes on gun violence in New Orleans speech
Days after the Colorado movie theater massacre, President Barack Obama on Wednesday forcefully spoke out against gun violence, making perhaps some of his strongest comments yet as president on the issue. While the president said he stands by the Second Amendment and recognizes the traditions of hunting and gun ownership in the country, he told a crowd at a gathering for the National Urban League in New Orleans that there is work left to be done in tackling the problem.
CNN: Romney calls for a change in hearts, not gun laws
Mitt Romney on Wednesday reiterated his position that new gun laws are unnecessary in the wake of the Colorado movie theater massacre that left 12 dead and dozens wounded last week. "Well this person shouldn't have had any kind of weapons and bombs and other devices and it was illegal for him to have many of those things already," Romney said in an interview with NBC News. "But he had them. And so we can sometimes hope that just changing the law will make all bad things go away. It won't."
CNN: Senate poised to vote on Bush tax cuts Wednesday
The Senate is poised to cast votes Wednesday on competing Democratic and Republican plans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts that expire at the end of the year. While neither proposal is expected to pass, each represents what amounts to an opening bid for what is sure to be a frenzied negotiating session after the election as the economy nears the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
CNN: Obama ads were filmed in West Wing
Two new campaign ads released this week by President Barack Obama's re-election team were filmed in the West Wing of the White House, sources confirmed to CNN on Tuesday. While some took issue with the commercial’s location, Obama is building on a practice followed by many of his predecessors. A recent exception was his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, who did not use White House interiors in campaign ads.