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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

A look at one of the key Senate races: Sen. Mitch McConnell vs. Alison Lundergan Grimes.

A look at one of the key Senate races: Sen. Mitch McConnell vs. Alison Lundergan Grimes.

pop lead

June 17th, 2013
08:45 PM ET

Superman: Flying to a church near you

Baltimore, Maryland (CNN) – As the new Superman movie takes flight this weekend, filmmakers are hoping the Man of Steel lands not only in theaters, but also in pulpits.

Warner Bros. Studios is aggressively marketing "Man of Steel" to Christian pastors, inviting them to early screenings, creating Father’s Day discussion guides and producing special film trailers that focus on the faith-friendly angles of the movie.

The movie studio even asked a theologian to provide sermon notes for pastors who want to preach about Superman on Sunday. Titled “Jesus: The Original Superhero,” the notes run nine pages.

“How might the story of Superman awaken our passion for the greatest hero who ever lived and died and rose again?” the sermon notes ask.

(Disclaimer: CNN, like Warner Bros., is owned by Time Warner.)

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buried lead

June 17th, 2013
07:55 PM ET

Internet activist who helped expose Steubenville rape may face jail time

A drunk 16-year-old girl at a party was raped by two high school football players. It was an outrageous case that tarnished the name of the town where it occurred - Steubenville, Ohio.

Especially after images of the attack and social media comments about it went viral.

Many first learned of the rape after a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask - the international symbol of the hacker group Anonymous - got involved.

He threatened revenge on the football team and the town.

He targeted not only the two teens convicted of rape in March and sentenced to juvenile detention – Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond - but also the other players and students.

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money lead

June 17th, 2013
07:11 PM ET

Soap operas back from the dead, get new life online

Like many characters in the crazy plot lines, soap operas have come back from the dead, resurrected online.

When ABC cancelled "All My Children" at the end of 2011, the show had more than two million viewers.

Now the soap is being made available online through Hulu, iTunes, and The Online Network.

Vincent Irizzary had spent 12 years as Dr. David Hayward on "All My Children" when the show was cancelled by ABC in 2011. Then, in a twist as dramatic as the soap's story lines, the show, and his character, were brought back from the dead.

"I get a phone call saying that we're back on track. And it was like one of those scenes that I've played on soap operas before, where somebody died for three years then you open a door, and there they are standing before you and you're like, 'what the?'" said Irizzary, with a laugh.

There was a time when daytime dramas were an ATM machine for the networks. They were cheap to produce, yet the ratings were huge.
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world lead

June 17th, 2013
06:51 PM ET

Snowden: The NSA does have your content

U.S. intelligence heads, President Barack Obama, and lawmakers say that domestic spying programs are not actually monitoring the content of Americans' phone calls and e-mails. But former NSA contractor Edward Snowden says they are lying.

Snowden did an online Q and A session with "The Guardian" newspaper Monday. It was a live chat with questions from journalists and the general public on Twitter, where Snowden directly rebutted the criticism against him, and the claims that officials have been making in the wake of his intelligence leaks.

The head of the NSA on Wednesday told Congress that these methods of surveillance - in particular the PRISM program to monitor e-mail communication - have helped prevent dozens of terror events. Specifically, one from 2009.

"[Director of National Intelligence Jame Clapper] said that section 702 collection was critical to the discovery and disruption of a plot to bomb the New York subway system, Zazi case. Is that correct?" Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont asked the director of the NSA on Wednesday.

"That is correct. In fact, not just critical, it was the one that developed the lead on it," replied Gen. Keith Alexander.

Not true, says Snowden. In his online chat, he wrote, "U.S. officials also provide misleading or directly false assertions about the value of these programs, as they did just recently with the Zazi case, which court documents clearly show was not unveiled by PRISM."
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politics lead

June 17th, 2013
06:13 PM ET

Analysis: Obama overseas, poll numbers under water

The president's approval rating has dropped eight percentage points over the past month– leaving him at 45%. It is his lowest rating in more than a year and a half. He can thank scandals from the National Security Agency surveillance leaks, to the continued questions over the Benghazi attack for that dip.

"This administration has gotten pretty good at riding the ebbs and flows of poll numbers," said chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine Mark Leibovich. "In the second term it's easier to sort of, not shrug it off,  but certainly to ride it out a little bit."
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