His party just suffered staggering losses, his no-drama West Wing is besieged, and a few outlier Democrats are even demanding he surrender to fate, assume the fetal position, and embrace a one-term presidency.
But when President Barack Obama meets with Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in the White House next week he'll walk in as the most popular politician in the room -- which still counts for something.
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And that is one reason why, nearly a month after the wipeout in the midterms, Democrats both inside and outside the White House are spying a few rays of hope knifing through the gloom. They see the makings of a serious potential rebound for Obama -- if he settles on steady message, the economy finally cooperates, and Sarah Palin takes the presidential plunge.