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The Week Ahead: Olympic Recess

The Winter Olympics opened Friday evening under a somber cloud following the accidental death of a luger just hours earlier. The Vancouver-hosted games continued on, however, with an exciting first two days. Tops was the men's and women's freestyle skiing events. Canada's first gold medal on home soil was won last night in thrilling fashion by Alex Bilodeau -- who barely defeated Canadian-turned-Australian Dale Begg-Smith. America's Hannah Kearney turned in an equally awesome performance the night before to win gold ahead of Canadian favorite Jenn Heil.

White House: The threat of snow shortened what was to have been a long weekend for President Obama at Camp David. He is back at the White House today with no events scheduled on the holiday. His schedule for the rest of the week includes a mix of domestic and foreign policy, as well as some politics. Tomorrow he'll have another event focused on jobs in the DC area. On Wednesday, Obama welcomes Spain's King Juan Carlos I to the White House, followed Thursday by a meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Also Thursday, Obama will travel to Denver one year and one day after he signed the Recovery Act into law. This trip is about politics, though -- he'll be attending a fundraiser for Sen. Michael Bennet (D), appointed last year and facing a tough primary and general election this year. After the event, Obama travels to Las Vegas for a DNC fundraiser. Then on Friday, he'll have events to boost Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's re-election bid. Reid still faces an uphill climb, but he did get some good news with the decision of Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (R) not to run, and the qualification of a Tea Party candidate.

Capitol Hill: Just before the weekend, Obama signed into law a bill raising the country's debt limit by nearly $2 trillion, as well as a requirement that any new spending or tax cuts by Congress must be offset by a corresponding spending reduction or revenue increase.

Both chambers of Congress are on recess this week in celebration of Presidents Day. Due to snow, the House was out all last week as well. Senators and Representatives will return next Monday, Feb. 22. The Senate will open with a reading of George Washington's Farewell Address by Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.), then take up a new jobs bill it was unable to compromise on last week.

Politics: Two big conferences are on the schedule later this week. The annual CPAC gathering starts this Thursday in Washington, with Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio delivering the keynote in the morning. Also due to speak are Glenn Beck, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

Then on Saturday the nation's governors descend on Washington for the annual NGA Meeting. NGA Chair Jim Douglas of Vermont had chosen health care as his policy focus for the year, so you can expect to hear the state leaders weighing in on the national debate. On Sunday night the governors have dinner at the White House.

** Poll Watch:
Obama Job Performance: Approve 47.6 / Disapprove 45.3 (+2.3)
Congress Job Performance: Approve 20.4 / Disapprove 73.4 (-53.0)
Generic Ballot Test: Republicans +2.0

**In Case You Missed It: Today is Presidents Day, but Sunday was Vice Presidents Day on Sunday talk shows. RCP Video has clips from Joe Biden and Dick Cheney's dueling appearances, focused on the Obama administration's prosecution of the war on terrorism. This is a topic that will continue to be debated.

Medal Count: U.S., 6; Germany, 4; France, 3; Canada, 3; Korea, 2; Italy, 2.

--Mike Memoli and Kyle Trygstad