President Barack Obama is entering his fourth year in office having calculated that he no longer needs Congress to promote his agenda and may even benefit in his re-election campaign if lawmakers take little action in 2012.

Devoid of any major policy pushes, much of the year will instead be focused on the biggest goal of all: winning a second term.

The president will keep up a robust domestic travel schedule and aggressive campaign fundraising and use frequent executive actions to try to boost the economy.

Unlike the deadline-driven fights over increasing the government's debt and keeping the government running that defined 2011, there are virtually no must-do pieces of legislation facing Obama and Congress in 2012.

The one exception is negotiations on a full-year payroll tax cut extension.

 

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)