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Filipino youths bring in the New Year with sparklers at a public park in Manila. Romeo Gacad /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A Quick Look At The Year Ahead

As the new year gets under way, we take a quick temperature check on some key areas to see what the prognosis might be. The topics: politics — domestic and global — and economics.

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Supporters seek autographs from Mitt Romney during a campaign event at the Family Table Restaurant Saturday in Le Mars, Iowa. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Phyllis Siegel (right) kisses her wife, Connie Kopelov, after the two exchanged vows at the Manhattan City Clerk's office. The couple were the first same-sex pair to tie the knot in New York City after the state's Marriage Equality Act went into effect on July 24. Michael Appleton/AP hide caption

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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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President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and members of his National Security team receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House. A classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. Pete Souza/White House hide caption

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Newt Gingrich wipes away a tear while speaking about his deceased mother Friday in Des Moines, Iowa. Andrew Burton/Getty Images hide caption

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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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After A Year of Struggles, Obama Finds His Footing

This has been a year filled with drama and delay between President Obama and Congress, but he's ending it on a high note.

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On Jan. 3, Iowans will caucus at 1,774 precincts across the state, in the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating process. Above, Iowans caucus in 2004 at St. John's United Methodist Church in Des Moines, Precinct 87. Shaun Heasley/Getty Images hide caption

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