The Year in Review: Best and Worst Politics of 2009

2009 was a historic year but also a difficult one. The country shook off some lingering notions of its less admirable past, electing a black president and seeing the first Hispanic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. But the economy reeled from massive debts, and unemployment and war persisted. FoxNews.com takes a look back at the best and worst of 2009. 

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    Winner of the year -- Sonia Sotomayor

    The "wise Latina" kept her cool and quietly stared down those who would be called racist for rejecting her impeccable credentials. She then proved she could groove on the dance floor the night before her first case in front of the court and still make it on time.
    AP2009
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    Loser of the year -- Unemployed Americans

    Despite a $700 billion Wall Street bailout and a $787 billion stimulus bill that aimed to create -- or save -- jobs, 15.4 million Americans are unemployed, 3.1 million more than since the stimulus bill passed in February.
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    Best comeback of the year -- Sarah Palin

    After being mocked and ridiculed for her performance during a failed vice presidential bid, Palin surged back in 2009, capturing national headlines by stepping down as Alaska's governor, penning a best-selling autobiography and drawing attention merely for Twittering and Facebook posts.
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    Most likely to disappear into oblivion -- Florida Rep. Alan Grayson

    He called a Federal Reserve official a "whore," sought to have a Florida woman jailed for claiming she was his constituent and he called health care in America a "holocaust." The Florida Democrat has been widely accused of demonstrating a healthy disrespect for his colleagues, voters and the United States -- thus placing a target on his own back for a GOP challenge in what is sure to be a raucous re-election race.
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    Best photo op of the year -- President Obama's inauguration

    His policies infuriate about half the nation, but America's election of a black man to the highest position in the land gave everyone a chance to shake off America's worst history and embrace what surely should have been the Founding Fathers' meaning behind all men (and women) being created equal.
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    Worst photo op of the year -- Air Force One's flight over the Statue of Liberty

    Without giving a heads-up to the mayor or most of its residents, a White House aide decided it would be a good idea to send a Boeing 747 to fly low over New York City -- chased by fighter jets -- in order to create some pictures for publicity mailings. Louis Caldera's stay as head of the White House military office was rightfully cut short as a result.
    AP
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    Most ethically challenged -- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford

    The soon-to-be divorced South Carolina governor told aides he would be hiking along the Appalachian Trail -- but instead he jetted off to Argentina to be with his mistress, then returned to describe in great detail the love affair with his "soulmate," much to the embarrassment of his long-supportive, but now liberated wife. 
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    Best idea of the year -- Hitting the moon with a rocket to find out if water is there.

    A hat tip to former Vice President Dan Quayle, who was ridiculed in the 1980s by talking about finding water on the moon only to have scientists come back two decades later with a big bomb. Voila, what do you know? There is water and not an insignificant amount, a finding that has implications for a future space station. Now, if they could only fix the plumbing. 
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    Bertha Lewis

    The community organizing group that has been under a cloud of voter registration lawsuits for years found itself in the sights of the Justice Department and Congress after two 20-something amateur filmmakers posed as a pimp and a prostitute to get workers at ACORN offices around the nation to teach them how to lie to the government to pay for a brothel.
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    Worst-kept secret of the year -- Gen. McChrystal's Afghanistan assessment

    It took President Obama nearly four months to weigh how many troops to send to Afghanistan despite nominating the head of command there based on his success in Iraq. Obama then decided against fulfilling the general's request for 40,000 more troops and instead ordered 30,000 more troops to the 8-year-old conflict with a July 2011 deadline for starting to withdraw.
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    Worst justification of the year -- Unemployment will hit 8 percent without the stimulus bill

    $787 billion later, unemployment in October reached 10.2 percent and is currently at 10 percent. Enough said.
    AP
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