The U.S. Capitol
Congress is in recess, which means lawmakers' and the public's focus shifts to the campaign (and given that it's August, to summer vacations). REUTERS

-Federal Government: Ann Marie Oliva, director of the Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is a finalist for this year's Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals for her work getting federal funds more quickly to organizations that help the homeless, The Washington Posted noted.

-Politics: The Tea Party's allure may be fading, according the latest pair of polls. A CNN and a New York Times poll put the unfavorable rating for the very-conservative/libertarian faction of the Republican Party at an all-time high. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's approval rating has slipped below 40 percent to 39 percent -- his lowest rating ever, according to the latest Gallup Poll. Political scientists consider 40 percent a key support level for a president.

-Public Policy / Capitol Hill: Don't look for much in the way of policy from Capitol Hill: it's August and Congress has recessed -- with members out of town, working back in the district (or undertaking that classic American pastime -- a summer vacation). No Congressional super committee meetings are scheduled, and President Barack Obama has no public events scheduled for Monday.

-Campaign 2012: To say that Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, has shaken-up the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination race would be an understatement. Perry has many deep-pocket supporters, a demonstrated record as governor, and the Christian conservative crediblity that will play well with much of the GOP's base. Perry will push former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in what promises to be an epic clash between Perry's new generation Republicans and Romney's establishment crowd. Third candidate and Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann's stock value has risen, as a result of her Iowa straw poll win, but Bachmann still has to be considered a longshot, given her relative lack of public policy experience.