Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California fields a flurry of phone calls in his Capitol Hill office just after announcing Thursday that he'll retire after 40 years in the House of Representatives. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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President Obama shakes hands after giving the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. Larry Downing/AP hide caption

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (from left), Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois defend the Senate Democrats' vote Thursday to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, appearing with his family, waves goodbye to supporters after conceding the Virginia governor's race to Terry McAuliffe. Cuccinelli's stronger-than-expected run became the dominant story on Election Night. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

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Democrat Tom Foley served Washington state's 5th Congressional District for 30 years and was House speaker from 1989 to 1995. He died Friday at age 84. Jeff T. Green/AP hide caption

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President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner sit together at a Capitol event in February dedicating a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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President Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade toward the Oval Office ahead of Tuesday night's speech on Syria. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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The sudden eruption of second-term scandals is likely to cost President Obama his fondest dream for his presidency: the opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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President Obama answers questions during his news conference at the White House on Tuesday. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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Police stand guard in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the justices hear arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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