President Obama has circumvented Senate Republicans by appointing 15 of his nominees while Congress is out of session for spring recess, and The Atlantic Wire's John Hudson finds that pundits are seeing it as the start of a new phase in Obama's presidency--one in which he's more boldly confronting GOP obstruction and more willing to pick partisan fights.

Given that Republican obstruction marked the run-up to health care's passage--Sen. Richard Shelby's blanket hold on nominees drew fire on the GOP, as did Sen. Jim Bunning's procedural blockage of extended unemployment benefits--perhaps this shouldn't be a surprise. GOP obstructionism had become fodder for media critics, so there's little price to pay for circumventing it.

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