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The veteran lawmaker from Los Angeles is less a personal friend and more a legislative ally. He says he wouldn't have challenged Rep. John Dingell, the chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, had Obama not won. That Waxman, 69, prevailed makes him well positioned to try to advance healthcare reform and a cap-and-trade regime for carbon emissions. Both are heavy lifts. "The president only has a small period of time to get these things through," Waxman says. "I'm optimistic that we're going to pass both."
Obama has his fair share of both friends and foes in Congress. Do you agree with our list of Obama's key allies and reliable opponents?