POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, February 20, 2012
February 20th, 2012
04:26 AM ET
9 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, February 20, 2012

The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

Compiled by Greg Clary

For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Santorum leads Romney nationwide by eight points
The latest results from Gallup's daily tracking poll indicate Rick Santorum has overtaken Mitt Romney nationwide and now leads the former Massachusetts governor by an eight-point margin. According to the poll released Sunday, 36% of registered Republicans said they are backing Santorum, while 28% prefer Romney.

CNN: Santorum clarifies 'theology' remark
Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum on Sunday denied he was questioning President Barack Obama's religious values the previous day when he said the president had a "different theology." "I wasn't suggesting the president's not a Christian," Santorum said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I accept the fact that the president is a Christian."

CNN: Santorum rips Obama on social agenda
Rick Santorum continued his offensive against President Barack Obama while speaking Sunday night to a church in Georgia ahead of the state’s primary next month, portraying the president as a leader intent on starting a cultural war. As the audience roared with applause, the former Pennsylvania senator called on the country to build a foundation that will "defend the church, defend the family, defend the nonprofit community, defend them from a government that wants to weaken them."

CNN: Santorum challenges policy on prenatal testing
The government shouldn't make health care providers fully cover prenatal tests like amniocentesis, which can determine the possibility of Down syndrome or other fetal problems, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Sunday. Santorum, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights, told the CBS News program "Face the Nation" on Sunday that amniocentesis "more often than not" results in abortion.

CNN: Bachmann: GOP is extremely ‘pro-women’
Former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on Sunday railed against critics who say the recent birth control controversy reflects a Republican Party that holds suppressive views toward women. “There is no anti-women move whatsoever. The Republican Party is extremely pro-women,” Bachmann said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What we saw was President Obama's signature piece of legislation, which is ‘Obamacare,’ demonstrated 3-D.”

CNN: Paul: Santorum has an 'atrocious voting record'
Ron Paul on Sunday re-launched his attack that Republican presidential rival Rick Santorum is a liberal, adding he doubts the former Pennsylvania senator could beat President Barack Obama in November if he wins the party's nomination. "His voting record is, I think from my viewpoint, an atrocious voting record – how liberal he's been in all the things he's voted for over the many years he was in the Senate and in the House," Paul said on CNN's "State of the Union."

CNN: Gingrich says home state win will be crucial
Newt Gingrich conceded Sunday that losing his home state of Georgia in the Super Tuesday primaries in March would "badly" weaken his candidacy.

For the latest national news: www.CNN.com

CNN: 3 dead in Washington avalanche
Three people were killed Sunday in an avalanche near a ski resort in Washington state, officials with the King County Sheriff's Office said. Spokeswoman Katie Larson said several groups of skiers were caught in the deadly rush. "Almost all of them - probably up to 12 at some point - are buried in the snow. They manage to dig themselves out ... At that point then, they look and they find that three of these skiers are suffering from medical issues. They begin CPR and, unfortunately, they were not able to resuscitate the victims," she said, adding that everyone was accounted for.

For the latest international news: http://edition.cnn.com

CNN: Homs a bleeding wound as medical aid dire
After 16 straight days of bombardment, Homs is such an incessantly bleeding wound that Syrians speak of it now as though it were a norm. Theirs are voices of resignation as food, medicine, water, electricity dwindle and Bashar al-Assad's forces show no intent of letting up.

CNN: U.S. military chief dubious about arming Syrian rebels
The United States is not interested in providing weapons to opposition forces in Syria until it has a better picture of what those forces are, the top U.S. military officer said in an interview aired Sunday.

CNN: 15 killed in suicide blast targeting Baghdad police academy
Violent overnight attacks in Iraq killed nearly two dozen people Sunday. A suicide bomber detonated a car rigged with explosives at the main entrance of the police academy in eastern Baghdad, killing at least 15 people as recruits were leaving, Iraqi police officials said. The attack, which occurred on the traditional start of the work week in the Arab world, wounded at least 21 others, police officials said.

CNN: Talk of strike on Iran 'premature,' top U.S. general says
The United States believes talk of military strikes against Iran's nuclear program is "premature" and has advised Israel that an attack would be counterproductive, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says. In an interview aired Sunday on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Gen. Martin Dempsey said U.S. officials aren't convinced Iran has decided to pursue nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, economic and diplomatic sanctions are taking a toll on the Islamic republic, he said.

CNN: Iran suspends oil exports to France, UK
Iran's oil ministry announced Sunday that it had stopped crude exports to British and French companies. The order came several days after Iran threatened to cut oil exports to some European Union countries in retaliation for sanctions put in place by the EU and the United States in January, a ministry spokesman said in a statement.

New York Times: Obama Offers Support for Peaceful Transfer of Power in Yemen
President Obama offered support on Sunday for Yemen’s vice president, who is expected to soon become president, and said that Yemen could be an example of peaceful political transition for other Arab nations. The message was conveyed by the American counterterrorism chief, John O. Brennan, who presented a letter from Mr. Obama to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi during a meeting here in the capital, Sana.

CNN: U.S. senators to meet with Egypt over accused NGO workers
A delegation of three U.S. senators, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, will be in Egypt on Monday to meet with the country's military leaders to discuss the case of 19 American workers who face charges as part of an Egyptian crackdown on nongovernmental organizations.

CNN: 44 killed in Mexican prison melee
At least 44 people died during a prison riot in northern Mexico on Sunday that could have been a cover for a breakout, a security official said. Inmates took a guard hostage as clashes broke out early Sunday morning at a prison in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, said state security spokesman Jorge Domene.

CNN: South Korea carries out military drill despite threats from North
South Korea fired live artillery on Monday in a military drill near the country's heavily armed border with North Korea, which has described the exercise as a provocation. The drill Monday involved howitzers, mortars and attack helicopters, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. It took place on islands off the west coast of the Korean peninsula where tensions have flared in the past.

For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com

CNNMoney: Greek bailout: The pressure is on
It's officially crunch time. European finance ministers need to agree to the terms of a second bailout to keep Greece from defaulting on an upcoming bond payment. While it's been widely expected that the Eurogroup (the 17 eurozone finance ministers) will give their approval when they meet Monday, we've been here before.

In Case You Missed It

Candy recaps Sunday’s edition of State of the Union.

Don Lemon asks why does it take a scandal for so many Republicans, like Sheriff Paul Babeu, to come out of the closet?

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And now stay posted on the latest from the campaign trail by downloading the CNN=Politics SCREENSAVER at http://www.CNN.com/situationroom

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