Ron Paul greets supporters in Meredith, N.H., on Sunday, two days before he placed second in the state's Republican primary. Stephan Savoia/Associated Press hide caption

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Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign rally in Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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"It would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year," Obama said after the Senate passed a two-month extension on the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

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The U.S. Capitol is seen above in 2009 as senators worked late into the night on legislation. The light signifying that Congress is in session may remain on this holiday season as well, since House Republicans have said they will remain in a pro-forma session. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV) during a news conference on a payroll tax cut compromise. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

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A dark cloud passes over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Many lawmakers fear that Congress' already low approval rating will sink even further after the failure of the supercommittee. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Grover Norquist, president of the taxpayer advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP hide caption

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The ideas of John Maynard Keynes, seen here around 1940, had great influence over the economic policies that followed the Great Depression and World War II. Walter Stoneman/Getty Images hide caption

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., accompanied by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday to discuss committee action on legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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President Obama shakes hands with members of the audience Wednesday after speaking in front of the Key Bridge, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. He urged Congress to pass the infrastructure piece of the American Jobs Act. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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Rep. Michele Bachmann, shown speaking at a reception by the anti-tax group Iowans for Tax Relief, was once a prosecutor for the IRS. On the campaign trail, she has made that part of her resume a selling point.

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President Reagan signs the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The bipartisan reform shifted a large part of the tax burden from individuals to corporations and also exempted millions of low-income households from federal income taxes.

U.S. Federal Government hide caption

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President Obama holds up a copy of his jobs bill as he speaks at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. Obama is challenging a divided Congress to unite behind the bill or get ready to be run "out of town" by angry voters.

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The debt reduction supercommittee had its first public meeting Tuesday. It would take at least seven of the supercommittee's politically divided members to approve any plan they come up with.

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