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While Republicans and Democrats pick up the pieces from the congressional elections, the 2012 White House race is already off to a vigorous start with President Barack Obama facing potential challenges from more than a dozen would-be Republican opponents.
Obama faces a bleak political landscape after voters punished Democrats for the sluggish economic recovery and handed control of the House of Representatives to Republicans.
Obama now faces two big challenges — to get newly empowered Republicans to work with him on measures to revive economic growth, and to find ways to connect with middle-class Americans, many of whom view him as aloof and cerebral.
His predicament is difficult but not impossible.
Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both had approval ratings close to — and even lower than — the 45 percent level where Obama’s popularity now stands and both suffered big midterm setbacks in congressional elections.
President Barack Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan as successor to the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
If confirmed, Kagan would become the first justice in nearly 40 years who has never served as a judge . The former Harvard Law School dean has served only one year as solicitor general, a post in which she argues cases on behalf of the government before the Supreme Court.