Shopper Monica Eaves, with her daughter, Sophia, 2, shops for holiday gifts at The Grove outdoor mall in Los Angeles on Tuesday. A strong start to the holiday season is raising confidence that the consumer is back and that 2011 could be a better year for the economy than expected.
President Johnson (center) signs the Medicare Act in 1965 as former President Harry Truman (right) looks on. Now the cost of Medicare threatens to crush the federal budget.
LBJ Library/National Archives
Last month in Des Moines, Iowa, President Obama held a backyard discussion on the economy. With unemployment near 10 percent, the president and his fellow Democrats have had trouble touting positive economic news -- like the lower-than-expected TARP bill.
Rodney White/AP/The Des Moines Register