Top 10 Political Stories for 2011: Page 8 of 11

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THE REID AND MCCONNELL SHOW

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSenate passes funding bill to avoid shutdown Conservative groups deliver last-minute warning to GOP on spending bill Congress votes to override Obama for first time MORE (R-Ky.) never made any bones about his prime objective. “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” he said late last year.

McConnell’s Democratic counterpart, Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDem groups invest big in Bayh in Ind. Senate race Reid blocks Thune tech bill over FCC nomination fight McConnell: Senate could drop flood money from spending bill MORE (Nev.) has an equally clear aim: to somehow preserve his party’s majority in the upper chamber in 2012, despite the fact that the Democrats must defend 23 seats to the Republicans’ 10.

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The consequence has been an especially ill-tempered Senate session, with maneuvering for political advantage often seeming to take precedence over crafting legislation that has any credible chance of passing into law.

There were exceptions to this: McConnell and Reid ultimately hammered out a deal on the debt ceiling in the nick of time. But, for the most part, productivity has taken second place to politicking.

Here are The Hill’s choices for the 10 most important political stories of the year:

Bin Laden | Giffords | Dissent
Message? | Economy | GOP's reign
Reid & McConnell | Debt ceiling | The wire | GOP candidates

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