2008 was a year of political firsts and superlatives. The first black president-elect. The first woman on a GOP presidential ticket. The most money spent on a campaign.
The candidates for president and the people connected to them made the 2008 race for the White House one of the most fascinating ever. They also contributed a host of wonderful lines that may never be forgotten.
Sometimes pithy, sometimes poignant, FOXNews.com's favorite quotations from the 2008 political season punctuated a rich and entertaining year:
"We are the ones we have been waiting for."
-- Barack Obama delivered countless memorable lines and speeches during the campaign. But this statement, uttered on Feb. 5 -- Super Tuesday -- when the results proved that the Illinois senator was a true force in the Democratic race, gave many Americans a glimpse of his certitude and invincibility. Obama will become the nation's first black president, largely the result of building on themes of hope and change and by lifting a majority of Americans from the sinking sense that the nation was on the wrong track globally and domestically.
"I don't talk about these tabloids. The tabloid trash is full of lies."
-- John Edwards has reason to dislike the National Enquirer, though he may have to rethink his premise. The supermarket tabloid reported in 2007 that the former presidential candidate had an affair with Rielle Hunter, who had once been a producer of an Edwards campaign video series. Edwards uttered this response months later, on July 23 at a press conference in Houston, after the Enquirer subsequently reported that he had visited Hunter and their "love child" at the Beverly Hilton. (FOXNews.com confirmed the encounter shortly afterward.) Edwards continued to deny the allegations until he admitted the affair to ABC News and released a written statement. Edwards made no apologies to the Enquirer, however. The tabloid reports still contained "many falsities," he said, including the claim he that he was the father of Hunter's baby girl, which has not been publicly confirmed or disproven.
"The fundamentals of our economy are strong."
-- John McCain heard the end of this one on Election Day. The Republican presidential nominee made the rose-colored remark at a rally in Florida on Sept. 15, as Lehman Brothers was filing for bankruptcy and the stock market continued to tumble. Barack Obama and his Democratic supporters seized on the comment as a sign that McCain just didn't understand the mess he would inherit should he win the presidency. "What economy are you talking about?" Obama asked in response. McCain later clarified that he was talking about the American worker.
"I can see Russia from my house!"
-- Tina Fey. Okay, so Fey was embellishing for comic purpose. The actual quote delivered by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to ABC News in September was: "You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska." But the "Saturday Night Live" impersonator distilled the essence of Palin's remark -- a bizarre statement on foreign policy experience -- for a politically attuned audience that had begun to question the Republican vice presidential candidate's qualifications for higher office.
"I want to cut his nuts off."
-- The Rev. Jesse Jackson. Actually, it's unclear whether Jackson said "off" or "out" ("out" seems much more brutal). Either way, the comment got him a slew of unwanted attention, especially since he was talking about the soon-to-be president-elect. Jackson clearly thought he was having a quiet, private conversation with a fellow guest before a FOX News interview, as he complained that Obama was "talking down to black people." But the microphones caught it all and the subsequent airing led to an apology from Jackson. His remark helped further draw the line between Obama and the old guard of civil rights leaders.
"Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice, in '84 and '88, and he ran a good campaign, and so did Obama."
-- Bill Clinton. Speaking of the old guard of civil rights leaders, the former president was apparently eager to draw comparisons between his wife's primary opponent and other black candidates who proved to have limited national appeal. Clinton made this comment to reporters on the day of the South Carolina primary, which Obama won by a wide margin. The remark shored up the beliefs of those who thought the Clintons were injecting race into the campaign. Clinton later dismissed this, saying the race card was played on him.
"I believe our government is capable of doing anything."
-- The Rev. Jeremiah Wright didn't mean this comment in a good way. Wright's defiant appearance on April 28 before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., was one of several last straws for his former congregant, Barack Obama. This statement answered a question about whether Wright believed his own past claims that the government invented the HIV virus as tool of genocide against people of color. Wright's unrepentant response was a big clue to Obama that he needed to start heading for the door of Trinity United Church of Christ, where Wright was pastor and Obama was a parishioner for 20 years. Obama afterward called many of Wright's statements "divisive and destructive" and a month later said he was leaving the church.
"There's nothing but sunshine hanging over me."
-- Rod Blagojevich apparently can't recognize a cloudy day. The Illinois governor made the comment on Dec. 8, the day before he was arrested on federal corruption charges and accused of trying to auction off Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.
"Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it has about 18 million cracks in it."
-- Sen. Hillary Clinton offered great political theater throughout the year as she contended with Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Her concession speech on June 7, though hardly the close-ranks-behind-the-winner declaration that Obama might have hoped for, helped articulate why Clinton stayed in the race for so long. The "18 million cracks" -- or votes she received to make her the most successful female presidential candidate in history -- may not have been enough to lead her to victory, but they set a precedent. Voters can no longer write off a female candidate for the White House, just as they can no longer write off a black candidate.
"Together we have known success and seen setbacks, victory and defeat. But we have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world. And I pledge to you that I will be there next January."
-- Sen. Ted Kennedy's brief address on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in August capped a year of highs and lows for the Massachusetts senator, who was one of the first members of the Democratic old guard to endorse Obama in the primaries. It was also a passing of the liberal torch for the "Lion of the Senate," who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor shortly before the convention. Kennedy delivered his remarks in Denver with intensity and emotion, and his pledge to be in Washington on Inauguration Day is one to be taken seriously.