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President Obama walks onstage Dec. 22 to urge members of Congress to vote on a short-term compromise that extended the payroll tax cut. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Politics

After A Year of Struggles, Obama Finds His Footing

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House Speaker John Boehner, surrounded by Republican House members, speaks during a news conference in Washington in December. The House initially rejected a plan to extend a tax cut for two months to buy time for talks on a full-year renewal. It later compromised — a rare event in 2011. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

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Politics

This Year In Congress: Much Drama, Little To Show

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The world's forests act as massive sponges, sucking carbon from the atmosphere. Above, an aerial photo from 2009 shows massive deforestation in the Brazilian state of Para. Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Environment

Climate Strategists: Focus On Forests To Cut Emissions

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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has seen a recent bump in the polls. More criticism is sure to come, but Gingrich says he doesn't think attacks from other candidates will be effective. Richard Shiro/AP hide caption

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Newt Gingrich

Gingrich's Popularity: A Winning Boost?

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15. Debate over Pentagon spending cuts is heating up as a bipartisan congressional panel tries to come up with a plan to cut the federal deficit. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Politics

Where Defense Cuts Could Be Aimed

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President Obama salutes service members from both sides of the Atlantic as he walks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, last week. Markus Schreiber/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Simon Says

America's Stake In A United Europe

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This undated photo provided by the National Nuclear Security Administration shows the last B53 nuclear bomb. It was dismantled this past week, just outside Amarillo, Texas. It's a milestone in efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons.

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National Security

U.S. Dismantles Biggest Of Its Cold War Nukes

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly made a comment that German Chancellor Angela Merkel ate a "second helping of cheese," even though she says she's on a diet.

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Simon Says

Pass The Cheese, Hold The Leader Appearance Jokes

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