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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

Will Congress approve Obama's plan to defeat ISIS? Plus, the latest on Ray Rice and the NFL.

Will Congress approve Obama's plan to defeat ISIS? Plus, the latest on Ray Rice and the NFL.

politics lead

July 31st, 2013
07:09 PM ET

Analysis: Battle over Larry Summers

In two days, Congress will be cranking up the Alice Cooper classic "School's Out for Summer," and sliding down the banisters of the Capitol steps, giggling and shoving one another as they skip off joyfully for five weeks of well-earned vacation time.

Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration.

President Barack Obama swung by Congress Wednesday to wish his Democratic colleagues well, and to hold closed door meetings over the laundry list of stuff they have barely even begun to address – immigration reform, gun safety, and a plan for the economy among them.

But according to what some Democrats in the room told CNN's Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, the president's visit did not exactly go smoothly – though of course the White House disputes that.
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national lead

July 31st, 2013
06:53 PM ET

Doctor warns of dangers of energy drinks for children

They go by names like "Rockstar", "Monster" and "Full Throttle." They promise to make you "feel good". Some of their commercials have even featured cute little cartoon characters.

Given all that, why would anyone would accuse energy drink companies of marketing to kids?

The Senate Commerce Committee called executives from Rockstar, Red Bull and Monster to Capitol Hill Wednesday for a hearing on whether their companies are intentionally targeting young people.

Health industry experts were also called in to testify about the potential side effects of too much caffeine on anyone under the age of 18.

Dr. William Spencer, a legislator from Suffolk County, New York, successfully stopped energy drinks from sending free samples to kids in his county. Spencer also testified in Wednesday's hearing.

Spencer is an ear, nose, and throat doctor, and said he treats many children.

"What I've seen is just an alarming increase in emergency room visits that just are associated with caffeine toxicity," said Spencer.
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pop lead

July 31st, 2013
06:48 PM ET

How George Clooney spends his Nespresso ads money

It's long been the dirty little secret of A-list celebrities who want to make some extra cash without looking like a sellout: They appear in commercials in far away places, with fingers crossed that the ads won't tarnish their reputations as Hollywood cool kids.

But actor George Clooney says he has a good reason for appearing in ads for Nespresso coffee.

Clooney recently revealed he has been using most of the money from those commercials to pay for a spy satellite that he helped install to look over Sudan. He said he started the satellite program to keep tabs on Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir.
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world lead

July 31st, 2013
06:35 PM ET

Is Kerry's bid for Mideast peace delusional?

Bloomberg View columnist and national correspondent for The Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a column Wednesday that was very skeptical of Secretary of State John Kerry's recent efforts to negotiate a Middle East peace deal.

In an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper", Goldberg described Kerry's efforts as "Pollyannish," listing several reasons why a deal is near impossible.

"In order to have a final settlement to this problem, you have to divide Jerusalem, you have to figure out a way for these parties to share it, and be separate at the same time. That's impossible," said Goldberg.

Another set of issues, said Goldberg, is the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

"If you believe that this can come to a final conclusion, what you're going to be doing is telling 5 million Palestinians who are descendants of refugees, that 'You're not going home, or to the place that you think of as home. You're going to have to find another solution to your problem,'" said Goldberg.

Check out the video above for more of our interview with Jeffrey Goldberg.

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world lead

July 31st, 2013
06:05 PM ET

Kerry aims for Middle East deal in 9 months

The State Department said nine months is a "timeline" the involved parties have committed to as a way to make progress, it's a goal Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday as he pushed a new round of talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, with all the core issues – refugees, settlers, borders, Jerusalem – on the table.

But with Syria and Egypt spilling into chaos, why is Kerry focusing on this stuff now? CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has the story, in the video above.

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