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October 9th, 2011
04:54 AM ET

State of the Union Early Bird For October 9, 2011

(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:  It's all about 2012 and the economy.

Check out what we're reading, and watch our interviews with GOP presidential candidates Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann today at 9am/12pm ET.

HERMAN CAIN

Social Conservatives' New Darling

A dual voter guide distributed by the National Organization for Marriage and the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List gave him relatively poor marks. He and Romney were the only two of seven candidates listed who refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony List’s pro-life pledge. According to the guide, Cain also refused to support fetal pain legislation. He and Paul were the only candidates listed who don’t back an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment.

The GOP’s cynical embrace of Herman Cain

MICHELE BACHMANN

Primary Poll Shows Romney With Strong Lead

Bachmann has seen the steepest dive in her favorability ratings. When the percentage of those with an unfavorable opinion is subtracted from those with a favorable opinion of a candidate, Bachmann has fallen from a plus-29 percent favorability in July to a minus-18 percent in October.

Bachmann campaign denies it lacks cash

Alice Stewart, a Bachmann campaign spokeswoman, said the recent staff changes were anticipated. She said the congresswoman has enough resources to take her through the early nominating contests in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

"We're in good shape," Stewart said. "We got the funds we need to do what we've got planned in Iowa and the other early states."

PRESIDENT OBAMA

Obama sticks with his staff despite slumping poll numbers

"Some executives fire people and replace them with new people, but that's not his style," said Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor and longtime Obama family friend. "His style is to pick the best people and then stick with them."

2012 POLITICS

Ron Paul Wins Conference Straw Poll, to No One’s Surprise

“The field is still somewhat fluid,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, as he discussed the results. The lesson for Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry, he said, is that “the hearts and minds and passions of the values voters are still to be won.”

For Romney, Social Issues Pose New Test

Rick Perry backs further away from pastor’s comment on Mormonism

“I don’t think the Mormon Church is a cult,” Perry said. “People who endorse me or people who work for me, I respect their endorsement and their work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I endorse all of their statements.”

In Iowa, Rick Perry’s immigration problem grows

THE ECONOMY

Democrats aim to tax the rich — but who are they?

Obama and his fellow Democrats for years have described the wealthy as couples making more than $250,000 and individuals making more than $200,000 — 3% of U.S. households. By shifting away from that number in hopes of benefiting from the sound-bite punch of a millionaires tax, the administration may find it difficult to return to casting the broader net.

German and French leaders to meet on eurozone crisis

Financial crisis and stimulus: Could this time be different?

“The thing that people who want to argue that the stimulus failed have to deal with,” Bernstein says, “is that if you look at the trajectory of job losses, you will find that right on the heels of the Recovery Act, the rate of job losses began to diminish and then the jobs numbers turned positive. The Recovery Act worked. The problem is we didn’t keep our foot on the accelerator.”

As movement spreads, NY mayor slams protesters for 'trying to destroy' jobs

this growing fervor has been met, in some cases, by vocal commentary. That includes New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who in a WOR radio appearance Friday said that city's labor unions - many of whom swelled demonstrator ranks earlier this week - depend on salaries that "come from the taxes paid by the people they're trying to vilify."

IN OTHER NEWS…

Iraq, siding with Iran, sends essential aid to Syria’s Assad

More than six months after the start of the Syrian uprising, Iraq is offering key moral and financial support to the country’s embattled president, undermining a central U.S. policy objective and raising fresh concerns that Iraq is drifting further into the orbit of an American arch rival — Iran.

Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen

California Governor Signs Dream Act

California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday finished signing the California Dream Act, under which California students who are undocumented immigrants will qualify for state-funded financial aid for college.

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