The Obama administration admitted today that the economy was facing “strong headwinds” and that government finances were on an unsustainable path. Not a great backdrop as we head into November’s elections, as the White House is only too well aware.

OBAMA-ECONOMY/JOBSBut at least the president is trying to set a good example himself. Yesterday we heard how the Obama family was putting its vacations to work for the good of the economy, visiting the Florida Gulf Coast where tourism has been savaged by the oil spill. Now we learn that the First Daughters are getting lessons in managing their money wisely. Not only do Malia and Sasha have their own savings accounts, but they are nearly ready to start earning money babysitting. While those are valuable lessons for a 12 and nine-year-old girl, I am not sure how the $10 an hour they might earn would cover the costs of their driver and armed guard.

Otherwise, today’s highlights include an analysis of the resurgent fortunes of Sarah Palin and her increasingly influential role in the run up to the November mid-terms. And take a look too at our examination of what might be in store when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveils a stripped down energy bill next week.

Here are our top stories from today: 

Heady days for Palin in midterm campaigns

These are heady days for Sarah Palin, who is wielding considerable clout within the Republican Party in the run-up to Nov. 2 congressional elections. The conservative, self-styled “mama grizzly” from Alaska, who loves to pick a fight with Democrats and the news media, is branding herself as a national leader of a Republican Party that currently lacks one.

For the full story by Steve Holland, click here.

US trims ’10 deficit forecast, economy faces headwinds

The Obama administration warned the economy had encountered “strong headwinds” and the country’s fiscal challenge remained grave, but it lowered an estimate for the budget deficit this year. “The economy is still struggling; too many Americans are still out of work; and the nation’s long-term fiscal trajectory is unsustainable,” the White House said in the annual midsession review of President Barack Obama’s budget.