(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: A new poll on Herman Cain's favorability as he tells reporters he's done commenting on the sexual harassment allegations, and Rick Perry's parents open up.
Check out what we're reading, and be sure to watch the show at 9am/12pm ET.
The poll showed the percentage of Republicans who view Cain favorably dropped 9 percentage points, to 57 percent from 66 percent a week ago.
Among all registered voters, Cain's favorability declined 5 percentage points, to 32 percent from 37 percent.
Steve Schmidt, who served as senior strategist to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008, cast the election year ahead in dark terms.
“It’s a deeply pessimistic time,” he said. “Neither party is talking honestly or directly about the country’s problems and challenges. It’s going to be an extremely mean-spirited campaign, filled with nonstop attack ads. The whole focus will be on disqualifying the alternative, not on the country’s future. It will be very much the opposite of the hope-and-change theme of four years ago.”
The poll results demonstrate a potential problem for Romney: On both issues considered priorities in this election, he trails Cain. On jobs and the economy, Cain is preferred over Romney 26 percent to 21 percent. And on national debt, Cain is preferred, 23 percent to 19 percent.
Cain seemed ill at ease; he deferred frequently to Gingrich on complex aspects of federal programs. When one of the two moderators, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), asked about defined benefits, Cain gave a halting answer. "A defined.... You go first, Newt."
“I want to announce that I am very unlikely to endorse a candidate in the presidential race,” DeMint told me in an interview this weekend. The most disappointed GOP contender may be Mitt Romney, who received DeMint’s endorsement in 2008 and could have used the senator’s support to woo skeptical conservatives this time around. Why did DeMint decide not to endorse Romney again? “It’s a different race, different people in it, different time for our country,” he said, adding, “I would be very comfortable supporting any of . . . [our candidates] for president.”
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