(CNN) - As you're being inundated with wall-to-wall coverage of the Iowa caucuses this week, keep the following number in mind: zero.
The quest for the GOP's presidential nomination is ultimately a race for delegates. With 2,286 delegates attending the party's national convention in Tampa at the end of August, the backing of slightly over half of that group - 1,144 - will be needed for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or someone else to capture the prize.
Washington (CNN) - Dust off the Truman playbook.
After a year of repeated partisan showdowns between the White House and Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama appears ready to hit the campaign trail in 2012 with congressional Republicans firmly in his sights - a reprise of Harry Truman's 1948 come-from-behind strategy against Tom Dewey and the "do-nothing" 80th Congress.
Washington (CNN) - Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, a prominent 16-term liberal Democrat and arch-enemy of political conservatives nationwide, will announce Monday he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012, according to a statement from Frank's office.
Frank, 71, will hold a news conference in his district to discuss the decision at 1 p.m.
Washington, D.C. (CNN) - One of the oldest axioms in politics is that you should never let a good crisis go to waste. Now that the hopelessly divided deficit reduction super committee has failed, it is apparent to just about everyone that Washington has a serious crisis of governance.
Question: What - if anything - will President Barack Obama do about it? With the 2012 election season already under way, should he assume a deal is impossible and use the panel's failure as a campaign weapon? Or is he better off knocking heads together on Capitol Hill and trying to ram through a deal that will prevent unpopular automatic spending cuts from taking effect starting in 2013?
Washington (CNN) - So the "super committee" failed. Can you honestly say you were expecting a different outcome?
The inability of an evenly split panel of Capitol Hill Democrats and Republicans to agree on $1.2 trillion in savings is about as surprising as January snow in Fairbanks, Alaska. Elected officials in Washington can't even pass a budget anymore, much less agree on politically tough choices about taxes and spending.
Washington (CNN) – The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Friday rejected a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution - a setback to GOP leaders and conservative activists who claim the measure is necessary to end the federal government's spiraling deficit spending.
A total of 261 members voted for the measure - 29 votes shy of the two-thirds majority required for passage - while 165 members opposed it.
Washington (CNN) - The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Friday on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution - a key component of GOP leaders' plan to end the federal government's spiraling deficit spending.
The vote on the amendment was agreed to by both parties over the summer as part of the agreement raising Washington's debt ceiling. Democratic leaders, however, are vehemently opposed to the idea, arguing that it would force the government into an economically destructive cycle of massive spending cuts.
Washington (CNN) - Congress is facing yet another government shutdown threat this week as it confronts the expiration Friday of its latest short-term spending bill.
Legislators are set to consider a new spending bill that would keep the federal government funded through December 16, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.
Washington (CNN) - What did Herman Cain know, and when did he know it?
Over the past couple of days, the former pizza CEO's high-flying insurgent campaign has been thrown on the defensive by the revelation of sexual harassment allegations made against him in the 1990s. Cain's account of the incident has changed multiple times, leading to accusations of a half-baked cover-up.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama signed an executive order Monday designed to help reduce a growing number of prescription drug shortages while protecting patients from possible pharmaceutical industry price gouging.
Among other things, the order requires the Food and Drug Administration to increase its reporting of possible shortages of certain prescription drugs, while also speeding up regulatory reviews of new drug manufacturing sites, drug suppliers and manufacturing changes.