Tensions with Iran these days are as high as they've been in years, and managing them will be one of the top challenges facing the Obama administration this year. With Iran threatening to block U.S. ships from entering the Persian Gulf, and the United States vowing not to back down, the stage seems to be set for war. And yet, what's happening with Iran right now may be more of an economic confrontation than a military standoff.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is no stranger to budget battles.
He was head of the Office of Management and Budget and White House chief of staff under President Clinton. But now, the former congressman faces what could be some of the toughest budget decisions of his career — how to cut more than $480 billion from the Pentagon's bottom line.
Patricia Maisch (right), who helped disarm Loughner, embraces Georgia Lerner, whose mother died in the shooting. Maisch testified on Capitol Hill in support of a bill to strengthen background checks for people who buy firearms.
Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, wave at the start of a memorial in Tuscon, Ariz, on Jan. 8. The vigil marked the anniversary of the shooting rampage that left six dead and 13 injured, including Giffords.
When a gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and others at a shopping center near Tucson exactly a year ago — killing six people and injuring Giffords and many others — some people were quick to blame the episode on the overheated political climate.
Republican presidential candidates (from left) Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum participate in the ABC News, Yahoo! News and WMUR Republican Presidential Debate at Saint Anselm College on Saturday in Manchester, N.H.
Once more, the great media consensus was confounded. Saturday night's debate at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, N.H., produced another battle among half a dozen presidential contenders, much like a dozen before it. Front-runner Mitt Romney was neither knocked out nor even knocked down. He was scarcely even knocked around.
Once again, the evening ended with the bruises pretty equally distributed among the contestants. And with the New Hampshire primary bearing down on Tuesday, virtually no time remains for Romney's rivals to bring him down.
Many of the journalists and professional political types who dutifully watched Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire probably had the same thought occur to them at several points: "For this we missed most of the NFL wildcard game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions?"
Timothy Goeglein (left) spent nearly eight years in the White House as President George W. Bush's key point of contact to American conservatives and the faith-based world and was often profiled in the national news media.
Tim Goeglein worked in the George W. Bush White House for eight years, and it was in the Oval Office that the president forgave him.
While working as an aide to Bush, Goeglein repeatedly plagiarized columns he sent to his hometown newspaper under his byline. When his actions were discovered, he went to Bush to apologize, fully expecting to be fired.
"Before I could get barely a few words out," he says, "he looked at me, and he said, 'Tim, grace and mercy are real. I have known grace and mercy in my life, and I'm extending it to you. You're forgiven.' "
While people tend not to know much about New Hampshire, when it comes to presidential politics, the small state tucked into northern New England has some clout.
For the better part of the past week, all eyes have been focused on the 42nd most populous state, which holds its primary Tuesday. But who are the voters there, who play such a critical role in selecting the nation's next leader?
It's pretty easy to identify the classic stereotypes most outsiders associate with New Hampshire. Just ask long-time resident Earl Wingate:
Each of the Republican presidential candidate claims to be the true conservative — but who is? And what does that mean, anyway? Host Guy Raz looks at the state of conservatism particularly as it applies to the GOP candidates in a roundtable discussion with Dan McCarthy, editor of The American Conservative; Matthew Franck, director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.; and Yaron Brook, president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.