(CNN)-It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the morning headlines to go with your cup of coffee.
On our radar this morning: The economy and the latest on the 2012 presidential candidates.
Check out what we're reading, and be sure to watch our interviews with W.H. chief economist Austan Goolsbee and Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul.
The administration’s housing effort does include programs to help unemployed homeowners, but they have been plagued by delays, dubious benefits and abysmal participation. For example, a Treasury Department effort started in early 2010 allows the jobless to postpone mortgage payments for three months, but the average length of unemployment is now nine months. As of March 31, there were only 7,397 participants.
“So far, I think the public record will show that programs to help unemployed homeowners have not been very successful,” said Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, an executive vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Critics do acknowledge one bright spot — the Hardest Hit Fund, a federal program that will provide $7.6 billion so that some states can administer their own programs for struggling homeowners. Of that, 70 percent will be directed to unemployed homeowners, said Andrea Risotto, a Treasury spokeswoman. So far, $455 million has been spent.
"We are very definitely trying to facilitate more principal reductions," said Timothy Massad, Treasury's acting assistant secretary for financial stability. "It is a very important piece of the overall solution," he said.
"To us, there is a difference between a slowing economy and one that is heading in reverse and right now the data only suggest a mild slowing, which could end up being nothing," says Jeffrey Rubin of Birinyi Associates. "We are not overly worried about one or two months of ho-hum economic data."
Labor-saving technology, competition from skilled foreign workers and a debt hangover make it tough for the U.S. economy to create jobs.
While Mr. Obama will not fully engage in campaign activity until next year, aides said, he is embarking on weekly economic-focused trips throughout the summer. Doing so will allow him to use his bully pulpit to show that he is focused on addressing joblessness, the issue that more than any other could shape his electoral prospects and that Republicans are using to assert that his policies have failed.
“I think she could win,” Dean told The Hill in an interview Friday. “She wouldn’t be my first choice if I were a Republican but I think she could win.”
A Gallup poll released last week showed Mr. Cain with the highest voter intensity score of any Republican presidential contender — far higher than Ms. Palin, a former governor of Alaska, or Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts. While Mr. Cain’s name recognition was at 37 percent, it had risen 16 points since March.
Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh transferred authority to his deputy Saturday and flew to Saudi Arabia, raising the prospect that a key U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaeda had lost his grip on power and left behind a nation tumbling into chaos.
Saleh’s decision to leave the country, apparently to seek medical treatment for injuries suffered in a rocket attack on his palace Friday, makes it unlikely that he will return, several analysts said.
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