Demonstrators hold signs supporting Edward Snowden in New York's Union Square Park, on Monday. Snowden, who says he worked as a contractor at the National Security Agency and the CIA, gave classified documents to reporters, making public two sweeping U.S. surveillance programs and touching off a national debate on privacy versus security. Richard Drew/AP hide caption

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Veteran USPS letter carrier Michael McDonald gathers mail to load into his truck before making his delivery run in the East Atlanta neighborhood on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, in Atlanta. David Goldman/AP hide caption

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As with other recent presidents, Barack Obama is disliked and distrusted by roughly half the public. But some of his perceived failings may be the result of an inflated expectations game that all modern presidents must play. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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The U.S. Capitol at sunrise on Monday, before President Obama's second inauguration. While the president raised big issues in his inaugural address — climate change, gay rights, immigration, the shooting of schoolchildren — none of them appear to top the agenda of Congress, which returned to work Tuesday. Drew Angerer /EPA /Landov hide caption

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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. hide caption

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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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