A guard stands next to a logo of the World Economic Forum at the Congress Center in the Swiss resort of Davos. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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President Obama delivers last year's State of the Union Address on Jan. 25, 2011. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Scott Gessler gives a victory speech on Nov. 2, 2010, after being elected secretary of state in Colorado. Jack Dempsey/AP hide caption

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is considering a bill that would eliminate the state's 6 percent tax on cosmetic medical procedures like Botox by July 2013. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

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President Obama was slow off the mark in his first year, making fewer nomination than his predecessors, according to a Brookings Institution report. But the amount of time needed to win confirmation once nominations have been made has also risen dramatically. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses journalists at EU headquarters in Brussels in December. It's possible that European leaders will come up with ways to manage the region's debt crisis in the new year, but the worst case scenarios are dire. John Thys/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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