President Obama has returned from his holiday in Hawaii with a popularity boost. The latest Gallup poll shows the president's approval rating has climbed to 50 percent as his party prepares to hand over control to republicans in the House.
The President came home just as the balance of power begins to shift in Washington.
Republicans take control of the House Wednesday, and the party has its sights set on taking back the White House in 2012. As he flew home from Hawaii, the President warned against letting politics drive the agenda.
"There will be plenty of time to campaign for 2012 in 2012,” the President said. “Our job this year is to make sure that we build our recovery."
On Wednesday one of the President's biggest allies, outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will hand the gavel to GOP leader John Boehner. In Ohio, family of the soon-to-be speaker headed for Washington to witness Boehner's big day.
"This is a dream come true for John,” said his sister, Nancy Roell. “It's what he's worked for all of his life."
And Boehner's not wasting any time, scheduling a vote next Wednesday to repeal the President's landmark healthcare overhaul.
But with a Democrat in the White House and his party still in control of the Senate, repealing health care is nearly impossible. Democrats call it a waste of time.
"Every minute wasted on trying to repeal is one less minute republicans can spend on job creation and turning this economy around," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-FL.
But with 87 new members, Republicans will be the ones setting the agenda in the House. They've pledged to slash the budget by $100 billion and announced no less than six investigations into the Obama administration.
For the President, finding common ground will be the first big test of a new year in a newly divided Washington.
Republicans are already looking beyond the fight over healthcare. They're also ready to challenge democrats over the federal budget and the country's debt ceiling.