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 Fact Check: Job creation versus unemployment
No issue has been hotter throughout the run-up to the election than jobs - and both candidates took pains to tackle the issue during their first debate Wednesday at the University of Denver.
CNN: 5 things we learned from the presidential debate
By most accounts, Republican challenger Mitt Romney was the clear winner of Wednesday's first debate with President Barack Obama. Romney engaged the incumbent while Obama looked down at his lectern. The challenger was a more forceful debater while Obama appeared less than engaged. Here are five things we learned on Wednesday.
CNN: From the spin room...
Shortly after the candidates stepped off of the debate stage, their surrogates, spokespeople, and supporters began to spin. Mitt Romney had a good night, and their representatives arrived first. The Obama campaign a few minutes later arrived and acknowledged Romney's good performance, but they said it was not good enough. The Romney campaign said their candidate offered a contrast between his platform and that of the incumbent.
CNN: Lewis slams Republican effort to 'steal' Florida election
Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, leveled an explosive charge in a fundraising email for a candidate seeking to oust a Republican congressman from Florida. Lewis, wrote that there is a "deliberate and systematic effort on the part of Republican officials to prevent minorities, seniors, the young, and the poor from casting their ballots."
CNN Security Clearance Exclusive: Army turned down Afghanistan-bound troops' preferred anti-IED system
Army staff at the Pentagon are denying or delaying some requests for a preferred anti-roadside-bomb system preferred by Army combat units deploying to restive regions of Afghanistan, according to internal Army documents obtained exclusively by CNN's Security Clearance. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to be a leading killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the anti-IED program has been at the center of an ongoing controversy with the Army accused of denying troops a better – and less expensive – system developed by an outside company in favor of one developed in-house.
CNN: Pennsylvania high court upholds stay of execution for Terrance Williams
Pennsylvania's highest court Wednesday upheld a judge's earlier decision to grant a stay of execution for a man who says the person he killed had sexually abused him years earlier. The court's decision denied prosecutors an emergency petition to have Terrance Williams, 46, put to death on Wednesday, though the court could decide at a later point to have the execution go forward.
CNN: Meningitis outbreak spreads to 5 states; 4 dead
A non-contagious, fungal form of meningitis has sickened 26 people in five states, killing four, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. Five additional cases were reported in Tennessee, health officials said Tuesday. The total number of cases in that state is 18.
CNN: Girl missing after 911 tweet found safe, police say
A New Jersey teenager who disappeared Sunday after posting a Twitter message asking followers to call 911 was "found safe and unharmed" Tuesday, police said Wednesday. Kara Alongi, 16, generated big buzz on social media when she tweeted, "There is somone in my hour ecall 911" at 6:20 p.m. Sunday before she went missing. It is believed she meant "someone in my house, call 911." New Jersey State Police found Alongi Tuesday afternoon. No details were released about the circumstances of her disappearance.
CNN: Opposition: Turkey resumes shelling of Syrian military sites
Turkey was shelling Syrian military sites near its border early Thursday, according to the opposition, even as the Turkish parliament was to convene an emergency session to consider granting authority to preemptively strike its neighbor. The opposition claims follows news Wednesday that Turkey fired on Syrian government targets in response to the shelling of a Turkish border town.
CNN Security Clearance: Sources: Pro Al Qaeda Group Steps Up Suicide Bombings in Syria
In scenes reminiscent of Iraq, a wave of blasts targeting government forces devastated the center of Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city Wednesday. And a hardline jihadist group, Jabhat al Nusra – quickly claimed responsibility for the attacks – posting photographs and martyrs' messages online. Syrian state media reported three suicide bombers detonated explosives packed into cars – killing dozens within a kilometer of the city’s ancient citadel.
CNN: Riot police swarm anti-Ahmadinejad protesters in fury over currency
Iranian riot police swarmed a major bazaar Wednesday in Tehran as demonstrators launched protests against firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, blaming him for plummeting currency that's leaving families across the country struggling.
CNN: Hamas justice system 'reeks of injustice,' rights group says
Security forces under Hamas rule have tortured Gaza prisoners during the group's five years of rule, a new report said Wednesday. The Human Rights Watch report also documents "serious abuses" in Gaza's criminal justice system, such as arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions and unfair trials in the Palestinian territory of Gaza since the Hamas political movement took control in 2007.
CNNMoney: What we got for $50 billion in 'green' stimulus
Over 770,000 homes weatherized. A doubling of energy from wind and solar. Cleaning 688 square miles of land formerly used for Cold War-era nuclear testing. These are just some of the 'green' benefits from money spent under 2009's $787 billion stimulus package. Whether it was worth it is an open question, and one sure to come up with greater frequency as the presidential campaign enters its final weeks.
CNNMoney: Student loan default rates jump
Borrowers are having a harder time repaying their student loans. The percentage of borrowers who defaulted on their federal student loans within two years of their first payment jumped to 9.1% in fiscal year 2011, up from 8.8% the previous year, according to U.S. Department of Education data released Friday.
Financial Times: Nasdaq suffers fresh high-profile gaffe
Nasdaq suffered its second high-profile embarrassment in six months when it was forced to cancel trades in Kraft Foods after a trading glitch caused the company’s shares to soar nearly 30 per cent.
In case you missed it…
Pres. Obama and Mitt Romney speak at the first 2012 presidential debate in Denver.