WASHINGTON – Following a night of civility Tuesday at the State of the Union address, lawmakers returned to their partisan ways the following morning. Many labeled the address as an unofficial start to the campaign season, and both Democrats and Republicans continued familiar narratives Wednesday that will form the backbone of their respective campaigns.

It was business as usual at two congressional forums Wednesday morning, as senators and representatives rehashed partisan battles that earned this Congress the lowest public approval rating since 1974.

The forums – one hosted by Politico and the other by The Atlantic and National Journal – shed light on how congressional battles will be fought in 2012.


Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., on divisions within the House (David Uberti/ Medill)

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. – Division by medillonthehill

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., applauds President Obama's call for bipartisanship (David Uberti/ Medill)

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. by medillonthehill


Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sees positives in bank reform (David Uberti/ Medill)

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. by medillonthehill

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., on payroll tax cut. (David Uberti/ Medill)

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. by medillonthehill

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., calls for protection of social safety net. (Mattias Gugel/ Medill)

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. by medillonthehill



Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., addresses the Senate's inaction (Mattias Gugel/ Medill)

Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wi. by medillonthehill


Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., challenges the Senate to compromise (David Uberti/ Medill)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif by medillonthehill

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., attacks unnecessary regulation (David Uberti/ Medill)

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. by medillonthehill


Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., attacks Obama for inattention to debt. (Mattias Gugel/ Medill)

Sen. John Barrasso, R- Wy. by medillonthehill

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., questions funding of social programs. (David Uberti/ Medill)

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex. by medillonthehill