President Kennedy speaks with Senate GOP leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois in March 1961. Dirksen's support was critical to passing civil rights legislation through Congress. Harvey Georges/AP hide caption

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Can our nation afford political waffling on issues of scientific consensus? Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine (far right) joins newly elected Democratic senators and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. From left: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Reid, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Harry Hamburg/AP hide caption

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Voters these days often reward politicians who sit at either end of the ideological spectrum while punishing those seen as compromisers. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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White House Details 2013 Cuts If Congress Doesn't Avert Fiscal Cliff
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says covering the uninsured shouldn't be Republicans' top health priority. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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GOP Says Coverage For The Uninsured Is No Longer The Priority
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Charles Dharapak/AP
When Lobbyists Pay To Meet With Congressmen
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Should We Kill The Dollar Bill?
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Why Lobbyists Dodge Calls From Congressmen
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Invitations to fundraisers for members of Congress frequently mention which committees they serve on. Sunlight Foundation/Political Party Time hide caption

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