The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
CNN: Senate Democrats give up push for pre-election tax cut vote
Senate Democrats will not vote on extending Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 a year before the upcoming congressional elections, the spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday. "We will come back in November [after the elections] and stay in session as long as it takes to get this done," said a statement from Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley.
CNN: Dems: GOP pledges more of the same
Democrats unveiled their "Make it in America" agenda Thursday to counter the Republican "Pledge for America," which they say is more of the same. "Americans deserve to hear a real plan," said Democratic National Committee vice chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone said his party is looking to the future with an agenda that would bring back jobs from overseas. They announced "Make it in America" at a press conference at DNC headquarters in Washington.
CNN: EXCLUSIVE: John Boehner talks with Dana Bash
House Republican Leader John Boehner suggested Thursday the Republicans' pledge to extend all Bush-era tax cuts is crucial to fixing the economy, even if it adds an estimated $4 trillion dollars to the deficit. "You can't solve the deficit problem until you get your arms around spending and have a healthy economy. And you can't have a healthy economy if you raise taxes on the American people," the Ohio congressman told CNN in an exclusive interview.
CNN: Group applauds inclusion of abortion in 'Pledge'
They're not prominent, but social issues are addressed in the House Republicans' "Pledge to America," which GOP lawmakers in the House formally unveiled Thursday. And a social conservative group is applauding the move and says their efforts may have helped push the language into the document. The 21-page document does include a "pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values."
Politico: Sarah Palin: I'll run if nobody else steps up
Former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin gave her strongest indication yet that she may run for president Wednesday night, saying she would jump into the race if “nobody else were to step up” with the proposals she wants to see. Palin’s recent trip to Iowa has increased speculation that she may run for the Republican nomination in 2012, and she has seemed more open to the possibility in recent interviews.
CNN: Palin reloads, resurrects 'death panels' and crosshairs
Sarah Palin announced the launch of a new website Thursday, aimed at defeating twenty incumbent Democrats who voted for President Obama's health care bill and who are running in districts that swung Republican during the 2008 presidential election. In the announcement on her Facebook page, entitled "Lies, Damned Lies – Obamacare 6 Months Later," the former GOP vice presidential nominee resurrects her claims that "rationing 'death panels'" are included in the health care bill and promotes the new site, which endorses candidates who support the bill's repeal.
Las Vegas Sun: Senate candidate forum ends with scuffle in crowd
If Sharron Angle thought a forum hosted by Christian groups would provide her with a friendly audience, she was wrong. The Republican U.S. Senate candidate got booed, heckled, mocked and interrupted during an hour-long question-and-answer session at Faith Lutheran Jr./Sr. High School in Las Vegas. So did Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But he wasn’t there to hear it.
The Hill: Landrieu to block OMB nominee unless oil drilling ban lifted
A Gulf Coast Democrat is vowing to block Senate confirmation of President Obama’s budget director until the administration agrees to lift or ease a federal freeze on deepwater oil-and-gas drilling. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) hold on Jacob Lew, Obama’s widely praised pick to run the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), marks a dramatic political escalation of her battle against the temporary drilling ban, imposed as a safety measure after the BP oil spill.
CNN: Fresh off farm gig, comedian Colbert set for House hearing
Stephen Colbert shined his comedic light on farm labor and immigration for his TV show. Now a House subcommittee is about to have him draw attention to the issues on Capitol Hill. The Comedy Central funnyman, fresh off Thursday night's "The Colbert Report" episode showing him packing corn and picking beans on a farm as part of a challenge from a pro-immigrant-labor group, is to appear before a House subcommittee on immigration at 9:30 a.m
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CNN: Justice Department objects to court action on "don't ask, don't tell"
The Obama administration is objecting to a request for an immediate halt to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy after a federal court ruled that the policy barring gays from serving openly is unconstitutional. The government calls a worldwide cessation of the policy "untenable," saying an injunction should be limited to the plaintiff, the gay political group Log Cabin Republicans, and members who it claims are gays and lesbians serving in the military.
CNN: Former Justice attorney to testify on New Black Panther Party decision
A former Justice Department attorney who testified the department dropped charges of voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party for political reasons says he expects his former boss to corroborate his claim in a hearing Friday. The boss, Christopher Coates, surprised the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights this week when he agreed to testify before it. Previously, the Justice Department prevented Coates from complying with a subpoena to testify before the commission, a commission spokeswoman said.
CNN: TSA to expand number of employees who will have secret clearances
The Transportation Security Administration is expanding the number of employees with "secret" clearances to 10,000 - one sixth of the agency's workforce. TSA Administrator John Pistole, former FBI deputy director, believes that giving frontline workers greater access to intelligence will help stop terrorist attacks and make the public safer. The clearances give TSA employees access to information that has been classified as "secret" - information that is not put out for general distribution in the agency.
CNN: Virginia puts woman to death by lethal injection
Teresa Lewis, called the mastermind in the murder-for-hire deaths of her husband and stepson, was executed Thursday night, Virginia Department of Corrections officials said. Lewis, who was given a lethal injection, was pronounced dead at 9:13 p.m. ET at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.
CNN: California closer to getting a budget
California has created a framework for an agreement on a budget that could solve the state's $19 billion deficit. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's spokesman released a statement about the development Thursday. "The Governor and Legislative leaders have reached the framework of an agreement, will work through the details over the weekend, and hope to come to a final agreement when they reconvene Monday," the statement said.
Los Angeles Times: California has paid scores of criminals to care for residents
Scores of people convicted of crimes such as rape, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon are permitted to care for some of California's most vulnerable residents as part of the government's home health aide program. Data provided by state officials show that at least 210 workers and applicants flagged by investigators as unsuitable to work in the program are nonetheless scheduled to resume or begin employment.
Boston Globe: Harvard links ROTC return to end of ‘don’t ask’
Harvard University, which expelled ROTC four decades ago, will welcome the military training program back to campus only when the ban on openly gay and lesbian service members is repealed, the university’s president said yesterday. Harvard’s president, Drew Gilpin Faust, speaking the day after the US Senate declined to take up a measure that would have repealed the “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ policy, said vestiges of antimilitarism on campus dating to the Vietnam War are largely gone and she would now welcome the opportunity to “regularize our relationship’’ with the armed forces.
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CNN: Palestinian PM strikes surprisingly optimistic tone in interview
As President Barack Obama called Thursday for world leaders to support a deadline for creating a Palestinian state within a year, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad surprisingly offered a confident assessment that it could indeed happen. "A key reason is Barack Obama himself, actually - the fact that he has fingered this issue out for early attention, early on in his presidency, and the fact that he and his team, Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton, (Mideast envoy) George Mitchell, are working very hard with the parties to try and get that critical process moving," Fayyad said in an interview with CNN.
CNN: U.N. delegates walk out during Iranian president's speech
Delegates from the United States and other nations walked out of the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a fiery speech that criticized Washington, capitalism and the world body itself. Though incendiary statements from Ahmadinejad are nothing new, tension in the hall grew as the Iranian leader recounted various conspiracy theories about the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
CNN: Nicaraguan diplomat found dead in New York apartment
A Nicaraguan diplomat based in New York was found dead in his apartment in the Bronx on Thursday, his throat slashed, police said. The consul of Nicaragua in New York, Cesar Mercado, 34, was found by his driver, said Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. A knife was found at the scene, Browne said.
New York Times: Somali Forces Fight Islamists in the Capital
At least 22 people were killed and more than 60 were wounded on Thursday in intense clashes between Islamist insurgent groups and Somali government forces supported by African Union soldiers, witnesses and health officials said. The fighting appeared to be the heaviest in Mogadishu, the capital of this war-weary country, since an attack by the Shabab, one of the Islamist groups, shook the city during Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month that ended two weeks ago.
CNN: Mexico: Guns from the U.S., not illegal immigrants, are real problem
Violence in the United States is not related to illegal Mexican immigrants, but violence in Mexico is connected to vast shipments of weapons from the United States, Mexico's foreign minister told CNN Thursday. Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa pointed to efforts by Mexico to stop the flow of weapons, the great majority of which come from the United States. "Since 2006," she said in a wide-ranging interview with CNN's editorial board in New York City, "the Mexican government has seized over 85,000 weapons in Mexico."
CNN: Pakistani scientist gets 86 years for Afghan attack
A federal judge Thursday sentenced a Pakistani scientist convicted of attempting to kill Americans in Afghanistan to 86 years in prison. A jury in Manhattan convicted Aafia Siddiqui on seven charges, including attempted murder and armed assault on U.S. officers, in February. She will serve her sentence at a facility in Texas where she was previously held while awaiting trial.
CNN: China arrests 4 Japanese against backdrop of diplomatic battle
Four Japanese nationals have been arrested in China, and are being investigated for entering a military zone without authorization and videotaping military targets, Chinese state-run media said. The four work for mid-size Japanese construction company named Fujita Corp., according to the business. They were sent to China for a Japanese government project to reclaim World War II chemical weapons left in China by Japan's Imperial Army, a company official said Friday.
CNN: Japan will free fishing captain, whose arrest enraged China
Japan will free a Chinese fishing captain, whose arrest touched off a diplomatic storm between Beijing and Tokyo, Japan's coast guard said Friday. "We decided to suspend the charges in consideration of the Japan-China relationship," said the Japanese prosecutor in the case.
CNN: North and South Korea meet again for talks on reuniting families
North and South Korean representatives on Friday met for talks for a second time on reuniting families separated by the Korean War nearly 60 years ago. They met in the North Korean border town of Kaesong. No further details were immediately available about Friday's talks. The representatives had previously agreed to hold the reunions on October 21-27, but had not agreed on a location, which could scrap the gatherings.
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CNN Money: What deflation? Prices are rising!
Deflation might be the economic buzzword right now, yet prices seem to be going up on everything from a cup of coffee to Dallas Cowboys tickets. Nationwide, prices rose at a sluggish 1.1% pace over the last year, and economists say falling prices could be a concern going forward. But while deflation fears make headlines, prices for all sorts of consumer staples, luxury items and leisure activities are on the rise.
CNN: Michelle Obama urges businesses, non-profits to hire war veterans
America's returning soldiers are an untapped resource of skilled and experienced leaders who can help the Clinton Global Initiative meet its goals, Michelle Obama said Thursday in a speech at the annual meeting of the group, started by former President Bill Clinton. The U.S. first lady said veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are trained in state-of-the-art medical, information and communications technology, ran the complex military operation that moves equipment and supplies to thousands of locations around the world, and had borne the responsibility of undertaking life-or-death missions.
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