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For Obama, battles on health care, budget loom

After a good end to a not-so-good year, President Barack Obama faces challenges coming months as fights over spending and health care set up a difficult 2012 re-election campaign.

WASHINGTON – After a good end to a not-so-good year, President Barack Obama faces challenges coming months as fights over spending and health care set up a difficult 2012 re-election campaign.

Whether he strikes deals with his newly powerful foes and continues the momentum built in December’s “lame-duck” Congress or becomes mired in legislative gridlock could be a factor in Obama’s prospects for a second term.

A burst of accomplishment in Congress in the final days of December produced a tax deal with Republicans, repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military and ratification of a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

“There will be tough fights in the months ahead,” Obama said. “But my hope heading into the new year is that we can ... hold to a spirit of common purpose.”

 
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