President Obama's commencement speeches often seem more about the big-picture state of the union than do his State of the Union addresses, which read like to-do lists. And his assessment of where the country stands and where it's going has changed over the past four years.
When politics grab the public's attention, it's often because of the personalities involved. Rising and falling stars, politicians at the height of power, and non-politicians all make political news. Read about them here.
Lanny J. Davis, a onetime crisis manager in former President Clinton's White House operation, doesn't give President Obama's communications team high marks.
The House majority leader has pushed an agenda aimed at creating "health, happiness and prosperity" for American families. But so far Rep. Eric Cantor has had a mixed record in getting his fellow Republicans to go along with the effort.
In his new role as president of the Heritage Foundation, the former South Carolina senator parts company with a conservative Senate ally on the subject of immigration.
KJZZSome of Sen. Jeff Flake's constituents in Arizona are still livid over his recent vote against expanded background checks for gun sales. They say the Republican is ignoring their calls for a public meeting.
The Senate minority leader is up for re-election next year, and polling in his state shows his popularity is suffering. Some voters complain that Mitch McConnell is out of touch with the people of the Bluegrass State, and others say it's time for some new blood. Still, he will be hard to beat.
The nation's gun debate seems to be settling on New Hampshire, where first-term Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is facing daily questions about her vote against expanded criminal background checks for gun buyers.
The Republican's bid to salvage a political career and the Democrat's effort to start one collided in a vigorous debate just eight days before South Carolina voters decide whom to send to Washington. The fast-paced hour in Charleston, S.C., marked the only face-to-face meeting of the candidates.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is working to tamp down conservative backlash to the Senate's immigration bill, which he helped craft. Radio talk show hosts, Tea Party activists and conservative bloggers are concerned that Rubio and other Republicans are giving away too much on an issue they believe mostly helps Democrats.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems determined to become the formidable adversary the NRA has never had. The billionaire mayor is spending from his personal fortune to help defeat lawmakers who voted against gun control proposals last week. His first target: Democrat Mark Pryor of Arkansas.