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.
Full text: President Obama's 2013 State of the Union
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama delivered his fourth State of the Union address, and his seventh address to a joint session of Congress. Here are his remarks, as prepared.
CNN Poll: 53% who watched speech give president thumbs up
A majority of Americans who watched President Barack Obama's State of the Union address said they had a very positive reaction to his speech, according to a survey of people across the country who viewed Tuesday night's address. But a CNN/ORC International poll also indicated that less than four in ten think the speech will lead to more bipartisan cooperation.
CNN: GOP's Rubio rips Obama, says his plans will hurt middle class
Claiming Barack Obama thinks a "free enterprise economy" is "the cause of our problems" - not, as he sees it, the solution - Sen. Marco Rubio argued Tuesday that the president's proposals would hurt middle class citizens more than help them.
CNN: In tea party response, Paul urges GOP to embrace immigrants, cut spending
Sen. Rand Paul called on his fellow Republicans to be more welcoming of immigrants Tuesday night in a speech where he also sharply criticized President Barack Obama and his congressional colleagues for failing to reduce the nation's debt.
CNN: Obama announces 34,000 troops to come home
President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night that some 34,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will have returned home by this time next year. The move will reduce the number of U.S. forces in the country by more than half. There are now about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
CNN: Police work to confirm if Dorner remains was found in burned cabin
It may take days before authorities can officially determine that Christopher Jordan Dorner's body was found in the ashes of a torched cabin near Big Bear Lake, California. But many signs early Wednesday seemed to suggest that the revenge-seeking, ex- Los Angeles police officer's war ended in that wooden cabin with a shootout that left one deputy dead and another wounded.
CNN: Embattled Hagel clears key Senate hurdle
Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday narrowly approved the choice of Chuck Hagel to serve as President Barack Obama's next defense secretary, sending the controversial nomination to the full Senate.
CNN: Banks holding over $200 million in Sandy payments
Banks are holding more than $200 million in insurance payments meant for victims of Superstorm Sandy, nearly four months after the storm made landfall, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday. The Cuomo administration said it has delivered letters to various banks and mortgage service providers asking they "use maximum discretion and effort to speed the release of funds."
CNN: Tugs give passengers on unsanitary cruise ship hope for relief
Two days after the Triumph should have arrived back in Galveston, Texas - where the cruise had originated - two tugboats were dragging the nearly 900-foot 14-story ship through the gulf at a jogger's pace. It is expected to arrive Thursday early afternoon in Mobile, Alabama, where Carnival will return 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members to freedom and easy access to running water.
CNN: Syria death toll probably at 70,000, U.N. human rights official says
The death toll in Syria is probably now approaching 70,000, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Tuesday. The war in Syria has been raging since March 2011 when protesters, partly inspired by Arab Spring uprisings in the region, began demonstrating for more freedom. That movement quickly morphed into a movement against President Bashar al-Assad, who was appointed president by Syria's rubber-stamp parliament in 2000 after his father died.
CNN: French lawmakers approve same-sex marriage bill
Same-sex marriage in France came one step closer to legality Tuesday, as lawmakers in the lower house of parliament approved a controversial bill that would extend the right to marry and adopt to same-sex couples. The measure was voted through in the National Assembly by 329 in favor to 229 against, with 10 deputies abstaining.
CNN: Pope's resignation was not forced by health issues, spokesman says
Pope Benedict XVI is not suffering from any specific disease that forced him to resign, his spokesman said Tuesday, a day after the news that he was stepping down shocked the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. The pontiff is resigning because he does not feel he has the strength to continue as the church's leader, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said, adding that it was a "spiritual" decision.
CNN: With Chavez away for months, big changes roil Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez hasn't appeared in public or on national television since he went to Cuba for cancer surgery in December. Allies maintain that he's running his country from Havana, while critics say that the country is in limbo without a leader. Chavez's lengthy absence from Venezuela hasn't stopped his government from making some significant changes.
CNNMoney: The impact of a $9 minimum wage
After promising five years ago to raise the federal minimum wage, President Obama finally unveiled a plan to do so on Tuesday. In his State of the Union address, Obama pressed to raise the hourly rate in stages to $9 an hour in 2015, up from the current $7.25, and index it to inflation. The change, should it become law, would boost the wages of 15 million Americans, according to the White House.
CNNMoney: President Obama cracks whip on cybercrime
Having run out of patience for Congress to act on a cybersecurity bill, President Obama has decided to take matters into his own hands. Obama signed an executive order on Tuesday addressing the country's most basic cybersecurity needs and highlighted the effort in his State of the Union address.
CNNMoney: Reality check: $2.5 trillion in deficit cuts
How much have President Obama and Congress cut federal deficits so far? "Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion," Obama said in his State of the Union address Tuesday. What did he mean?
In case you missed it…
CNN's Chris Cuomo talks about top Twitter & Facebook trends from the SOTU, including Marco Rubio's trending sip of water during the GOP response.