On New Year’s Eve, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 assessed the Best and Worst of 2009 with correspondent Tom Foreman (formerly of ABC). There were some conservative voices (Leslie Sanchez, Ben Stein) to balance out snarky liberals (Joy Behar, Time’s Rob Stein), but when you looked at the actual best and worst declarations about politics, Foreman wasn’t exactly matching CNN’s claims to walk the news down the middle:
Worst lack of awesomeness: the battle over health care reform.
Worst cheap shot: Rep. Joe Wilson’s "You lie!"
Best political theater: town hall meetings "where insults were traded like baseball cards."
Best bus tour: big crowds at Tea Parties.
Best laugh: for President Obama, who still has a health bill on the table.
Best pick by the president: Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
Worst photo-op: the party-crashing Salahis.
Best power couple: Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Worst retreat: Sarah Palin resigned as Governor.
Best counterattack: Palin’s best-selling book. "Facts? Who needs them?"
Worst almost in-law: Levi Johnston.
Worst bad girl: Meghan McCain.
Best family picture; the Obamas.
Here’s a chunk of the transcript for context:
SWAY CALLOWAY, MTV NEWS CORRESPONDENT: He's walking into a job with a lot of complexities and you have to deal with a lot of variables in order to make change happen.
JOY BEHAR: The Republicans keep hating when we keep bringing up it was Bush's fault, but it was Bush's fault.
MARGARET CHO, ACTIVIST: There was so much enthusiasm and everybody thought that everything would change overnight.
JOEL STEIN, TIME MAGAZINE: I don't think we ever defined change that well. We wanted things to be like awesome.
FOREMAN: Worst lack of awesomeness, the battle over health care reform. It was the president's signature issue, but the attacks came early and often. The worst cheap shot --
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You lie!
FOREMAN: He is Republican Congressman Joe Wilson. But Democrats got angry, too, splitting as they debated coverage for abortions, illegal immigrants, and the ever present worry about cost.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This government is out of control.
FOREMAN: Best political theater?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a socialist, fascist pig.
FOREMAN: Those town hall meetings, where insults were traded like baseball cards.
Sen. CLAIRE McCASKILL: You don't trust me?
Rep. BARNEY FRANK: On what planet do you spend most of your time?
LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: As much as the president tried to make a case that really health care is such a big part of the economy, it's all of this, families do not see it that way.
FOREMAN: The best bus tour.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The DNA of America is liberty and freedom.
FOREMAN: The Tea Partiers caught top Democrats and Republicans off-guard by pulling big crowds coast to coast.
STEIN: You know I'm a huge tea drinker and these tea parties lacked a lot of tea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the tea parties were really against being marginalized.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will eat away at your freedom.
JOY BEHAR: There's always an angry group of people in every country though. It's just they get a lot of press because they're more entertaining than watching Joe Biden rearrange his hair or something, you know what I mean?
FOREMAN: It's possible the best last laugh will go to the president, however. Despite setbacks, his health care bill, all 2,000 pages, is still on the table.
BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: Imagine a health care bill in one form or another will pass, and there will be a government control over a huge amount of health provision and that scares me to death. I do not want some government bureaucrat telling me what kind of health care I can get.
FOREMAN: Best pick by the president, Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the Supreme Court. Worst photo-op, we could give it to air force one buzzing New York, or the beer summit.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Cambridge Police acted stupidly.
FOREMAN: But the award goes to the party crashers. Never have two people looked so good making White House security look so bad. It proved a remarkably good year for other political players.
Best power couple, returning champions, Hillary and Bill Clinton.
LESLIE SANCHEZ: Hillary Clinton looks like a rock star, very bipartisan looking, very pro-American, and very high marks from both Republicans and Democrats.
FOREMAN: And he played a pivotal role in getting those two journalists released from North Korea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We express our deepest gratitude to President Clinton.
FOREMAN: On the Republican side, worst retreat? Sarah Palin's resignation from the governorship of Alaska.
BEHAR: She quit. She quit Alaska. She said bye-bye Alaska.
SARAH PALIN: I'm certainly not a quitter. I'm a fighter.
FOREMAN: Best counterattack, Palin again "Going Rogue" with a best selling book. Facts? Who needs them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a great vitality about Sarah Palin.
JACK GRAY, TWITTER.COM/JACKGRAYCNN: From a purely TV standpoint, Sarah Palin is gold because she just says whatever she wants to say and then winds up blaming the liberal media.
STEIN: And she's a dynamic, exciting woman, but as president where life and death decisions of the entire world are involved, I would be quite frightened of having her there, but I have to tell you quite frankly, I'm quite frightened of having Mr. Obama there, too.
FOREMAN: As to family matters, worst almost in-law, Levi Johnston who fathered a Palin grandchild then dropped his Levis in the pages of "Playgirl."
GRAY: Yes, Levi, let is all hang out. He's a genius.
FOREMAN: Worst bad girl, Meghan McCain who posted a late night photo of herself online, but she gets the best response to critics too saying "I've always embraced my curves and will continue to do so."
TINA BROWN, THE DAILY BEAST: One of the things that's so curious in a way about today's connective culture is that people put pictures of themselves throwing around their arms in the air with a drink or whatever and then resent the reaction.
FOREMAN: Best family portrait, the Obamas. Michelle --
CALLOWAY: My God, she's stunning.
FOREMAN: And the girls always looked cool no matter how much hot water Dad was in. For all the ups and downs, the president came out with one sure winner, the Nobel Prize, the political surprise of the year.
CNN's public-relations ploy to declare itself the serious and substantive non-ideological middle between MSNBC and Fox clearly fails when CNN decides to review the year a News Lite, like they were VH-1, and they let old ABC veterans write a snarky liberal script.
By saying of Palin's book "Facts? Who needs them?" Tom Foreman not only insulted Palin as an idiot and/or a liar, he insulted Palin fans as idiots who adore Palin regardless of the facts. And this guy handed out "Worst Cheap Shot" to someone else?