Obama gains foothold; GOP autumn surge behind him

President Barack Obama's nominee for the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, right, looks up as President Obama makes the announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 30, 2011. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

May 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Six months after Republicans alarmed Democrats with a midterm election wave, President Barack Obama has shaken off the jitters and found his political footing despite sluggish economic growth and deep public anxiety about the direction of the country.