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New Year's Eve Coverage

Aired December 31, 2009 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CO-HOST: Hey, good evening. From Times Square, I'm Anderson Cooper. And this is Kathy Griffin.

KATHY GRIFFIN, CO-HOST: Hi. It's me, Kathy Griffin, everyone. I'm on the bubble tonight. I'm on the bubble. Should we just be open about what's happening?


GRIFFIN: All right. So, I got a letter from the CNN attorneys or possibly you, warning me that if I'm out of line tonight, I get canned on the spot and I have to write the check back. Now, do you have that in your deal tonight?

COOPER: No, I don't.

GRIFFIN: Oh, my God, Lady Gaga, I love her!

COOPER: We're here with Kathy Griffin. Hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world take a look, it never gets old. Times Square, it snowed this morning. It is raining tonight. We've been here when it is barely 10 degrees. None of it seems to make the slightest bit of difference. People come to New York on New Year's Eve just to be here and to say they were here.

A lot of people...

GRIFFIN: I'm having technical...


GRIFFIN: On the side note, can I just say, I know we're not going to go to Lance Bass right now, but you should know that my assistant, Tiffany...


GRIFFIN: ... chose to be in Vegas with Lance instead of here with us.

COOPER: Times Square is the place to be. We're just shy of two hours of the ball dropping, an hour away from our special coverage. We're going to be showing you how New Year's has been celebrated around the world so far, how it's being celebrated around the United States.

Tonight, Don Lemon and Poppy Harlow are in the crowds here.

GRIFFIN: I'm sorry. Don Lemon and who?

COOPER: Poppy Harlow.


GRIFFIN: There's someone on this channel named Poppy?


GRIFFIN: And it's not in her deal that she has to give the money back because her name is Poppy?

COOPER: No. Poppy Harlow is going to be on the program...

GRIFFIN: So, this is the seventh side of the apocalypse?

COOPER: Kathy's buddy Lance Bass in Las Vegas, which she mentioned. The midnight run is in New York Central Park. We have the shoe drop in Key West, Florida. New Year's in Hawaii with the president and your friend Ed Henry.

GRIFFIN: Wait a minute. We could have been in Hawaii?

COOPER: We could have been.

GRIFFIN: We got this gig?

COOPER: This is the best gig in the planet.

GRIFFIN: And I might get fired?

COOPER: You might get fired. That's true. I would ask you what words you can't say, but obviously, you can't say them.

GRIFFIN: Oh, I know. Have you seen the new show with Courtney Cox? It's "Cougar Town."

COOPER: I have not seen that TV show.

GRIFFIN: Do you like dogs? Do you have a Shih Tzu? I like dogs.

COOPER: Anyway, we're going to be here starting -- yes. So, it's going to be a long night. I have actually already started to sweat. Let's check in with Don Lemon.

GRIFFIN: How is Poppy?

COOPER: We're going to check in with Poppy right now.

GRIFFIN: How's Poppy doing?

COOPER: Let's check in.


COOPER: Don, Poppy, how are doing? GRIFFIN: Don thinks he can dance better than me.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're having a great time.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have a very special moment, right?

LEMON: We've got a moment that we want to share with the world. By the way, as you know, we're in the crowd in Times Square. Anderson and Kathy are way up there.

By the way, Kathy, you look ravishing.

HARLOW: They are.

Jonathan and Kim, special night.

LEMON: Are you ready, sir?


LEMON: All right. Let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim, from the moment that I met you, I knew that you were something special, becoming a friend to a best friend to a love -- and not just a love that you know is going to last a couple years or even a lifetime, but a love that love itself would envy. Kim Duelli (ph), would you marry me.

HARLOW: Let's go down with them.


LEMON: I think that's a yes.

HARLOW: I think that's a yes.

LEMON: What do you say? Yes!

HARLOW: And we're going to give you a CNN hat. It's much better than any diamond ring, right, Don?

LEMON: By the way, they are from Tampa...

HARLOW: Orlando.

LEMON: Orlando, Florida. They met in Tampa playing tennis together. She's 21. He's 25.

HARLOW: Congratulations! What a way to ring in the New Year.

LEMON: Congratulations. That's really wonderful.

So, we're off to a good start down here. We got some CNN gear that we're going to be handing out, Kathy and Anderson, to folks here.

What do you guys say? Happy New Year!


LEMON: So, Anderson, do you want to pop the question?

HARLOW: Yes. Kathy would make a beautiful bride.



COOPER: Yes, that's not going to happen.

GRIFFIN: I will.

COOPER: No, it's not going to happen.

GRIFFIN: I have an announcement, Anderson and I are getting married.


COOPER: Not going to happy.

LEMON: Poppy, will you be my news wife?

HARLOW: I will be your news wife.

GRIFFIN: Yes, I will be your lesbian news wife, Poppy.

HARLOW: Thank you, Kathy. I always love you. Could we be on the "D List" together? Thank you.


COOPER: In this hour, Tom Foreman is going to look back at "The Best and The Worst of 2009." We'll be back at the half hour here live from Times Square.

GRIFFIN: Why when it's my turn to talk, does it say go home? Is that normal procedure?


GRIFFIN: All right.

COOPER: At 11:00 Eastern Time, we'll be live for an hour and a half all the way through. Stay with us. We'll be back in about 20 minutes.

Here is Tom Foreman with a look at "The Best and Worst of 2009" right after this break. We'll be right back.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR: 2009 exploded across America like a million points of hope and promise.


KANYE WEST, SINGER: But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.


FOREMAN: But it soon fizzled down to same old problems.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we don't have time to do that.


FOREMAN: The economy went from bad to worse.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's no doubt that times are still tough.


FOREMAN: Jobs ran short.


FOREMAN: And tempers did, too. And we're going to grind it all out on the mean street with our panel. Actor and author Ben Stein, comedian Margaret Cho, talk show host Joy Behar, 360 super Twitter Jack Gray, political analyst Leslie Sanchez, "L.A. Times Columnist" Joel Stein, from The Daily Beast, Tina Brown, and MTV's Sway Calloway. All here to help us unveil 360's ALL THE BEST, ALL THE WORST OF 2009.

Welcome, I'm Tom Foreman. And if you did not get a little nervous this year, you just weren't paying attention. From economics to politics to pop culture, everything seems to be in flux. Sure, the nation signed on for change, but by year's end, some were ready to say keep the change. Let's just move on to better times.

Still, as we chart our course into the future, it's worth looking back on all that got us to where we are, back to where the whole big bad year began.

We've got to give the biggest and worst story of 2009 to the economy, because it certainly gave it to us.


LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it's a year where America had to get off its sugar high.

BEN STEIN, "FORTUNE" COLUMNIST: It started out with an economic crisis that seemed to be a bottomless pit and started out as a very frightening time.

MARGARET CHO, COMEDIAN/ACTRESS: Certainly if you had a job, you were really lucky, and everybody was scaling back in their own way.


FOREMAN: From the start, all the numbers were running bad. Employment, down; home sales, down; business, down, down, down.


TINA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER/EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: I think it was a brutal year. I think this was a year when Americans worked twice as hard to earn half as much.

JACK GRAY, AC360 PRODUCER/WRITER: The economy sucks. Every man from the South, start stuffing your mattress.


FOREMAN: Worst ratio of year, 6 to 1, as in six people applying for every one job opening. Unemployment wound up at 10 percent, way up from the beginning of the year when it was well below eight.


SWAY CALLOWAY, MTV NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I like to fish. When I fish now, I fish for dinner. Before I fished for sport. It's a little different now, though.

FOREMAN: Worst waiting list. Almost 16 million Americans at one point looking for paychecks and not finding them.


JOEL STEIN, COLUMNIST, L.A. TIMES: With all the unemployed people did hands across America, they could circle the Lower 48. Why aren't we working on this? That's what the Internet is for. If I try to tweet this now, we could get this done by noon.

JOY BEHAR, TV TALK SHOW HOST: Well, we have no place to go but up.

FOREMAN: We certainly pushed the deficit up in our efforts to stop the financial hemorrhaging. There was federal money to stabilize banks, car companies and more. The most stimulating number to be tossed around like popcorn, $1 trillion dollars.


GRAY: I can't comprehend with $1 trillion. I have negative $30 in my checking account right now. So, now, $1 trillion -- no.

CHO: Yes. I don't even know how many zeros that is. It's hard to fathom.

JOEL STEIN: It was shocking how much the government could spend even in the recession. They are just crazy with the credit card. I think it's online shopping that's done this.

BEN STEIN: The amount of money that the government is spending relative to the amount it's taking in has become a national catastrophe. And it is a catastrophe that cannot be avoided forever. We're going to be paying so much interest on the national debt. So much of each human being's work year is going to be spent paying the interest only in national debt. It is just going to be a crushing, terrible burden.

FOREMAN: Still, even many critics call the stimulus plan the best bailout possible among a lot of bad options.

BROWN: I think there's no question that without the extreme measures that were taken by the Obama administration, we really would have had a collapsed economy, which would really be an absolute catastrophe.

FOREMAN: Worst job fair tote board. The White House's job Web site, which tracked fictional jobs along with factual ones and relied heavily on the worst bureaucratic double speak of the year, jobs created or saved.

JOEL STEIN: I always got the feeling that the jobs created were the people in charge of deciding how many jobs were lost or created. I don't think any other actual jobs were created.

FOREMAN: Best and most common question of the year...

SANCHEZ: Are there going to be jobs tomorrow? Am I going to have a job tomorrow?

BEHAR: And it's pretty scary time for people. And this is, this is a seasonal time, and so people are in particular dire straits now. But you know what? Let the kids start playing with pots and pans again like they used to in the '40s. It was just fine. Bang the pots with the wooden spoons.

FOREMAN: Best bounces. The stock market shot up and down, but overall took the high road. The housing market, too, seemed to finally hit bottom and homes started selling again in some places, although buyers often came in through the bargain basement. Worst time, mom, all the mortgages still out there, teetering on the brink of foreclosure and the banks that keep calling like dominos.

BEN STEIN: We have passed through a spectacular bubble in real state. Somebody is going to have to pay for it.

CALLOWAY: I don't know the big market, the stock market. I don't know blackjack, roulette, it's kind of all the same to me now. So I try not to play any of them.

CHO: I think that I'm willing to give faith and have faith that things will change. I mean, that things have been so awful for the last so long.

FOREMAN: Best break for commuters or worst depending on your point of view. Cash for Clunkers. SANCHEZ: Cash for Clunkers.

FOREMAN: The government gave people up to $4,500 to trade in gas guzzlers for higher mileage new models. And $700,000 folks took them up on the offer. Nice deal if you had the right clunker in your garage.

JOEL STEIN: It did seem random. You had to have the right kind of car at the right time, and then like your draft lottery number had to come up, and then you got the car. It's like, that's how Oprah does it. Because Oprah says, you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car. And Obama was like, you get a car, you -- you not so much. And, you, no. You get a car.

BROWN: Cash for Clunkers was a perfectly practical concept. Everybody grasped it, and it seemed to be effective.

FOREMAN: Some said Cash for Clunkers gave the auto industry a much- needed boost, but overall, sales still fell about 25 percent as GM and Chrysler rattle down bankruptcy road.

GRAY: My own knowledge from Cash for Clunkers came from John McCain's tweets. And every day he was in some new rage about -- I don't know. I think he had like an old gremlin in a garage somewhere, and you couldn't get rid of it.

FOREMAN: Best speed demons despite all that, Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru all saw their sales go up.

CALLOWAY: Good time for those in the hood, man. You know, how many clunkers are in the hood? Turn that clunker in, and get cash. Are you kidding me. Man, there was a riot in the hood for that.

FOREMAN: Best deposit. Bernie Madoff checked into the iron bar hotel for 150 years. Worst stock market advisers, members of Congress. They kept telling the big companies taking bail out money that they needed to cut back on their pay and perks for CEOs. But they might as well have been talking to a brick wall for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.


TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: But I want to be candid. This strategy will cost money. It will involve risk, and it will take time.


BEN STEIN: There's so many people in fear. And then there are a few people just living it up and spending like there's no tomorrow, and that gap is quite wide. And I think it's disturbing and upsetting. And I find the gap between what Wall Street thinks is appropriate. And what the ordinary citizen thinks is appropriate is breath taking.

BEHAR: That's what's happening in the economy now.

FOREMAN: Enough on the economy. There were plenty of other things to take our breath away this year, including...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we're in Alaska anymore, Toto.


FOREMAN: The final curtain drops on the King of Pop.

And what goes up comes down with a thud.


Because I yelled at him. I'm really sorry I yelled at him.




FOREMAN: The best news of the year in pop music...


MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER: I love you so much.


FOREMAN: For many Michael Jackson fans was word that he was going on a final tour.


JACKSON: This is really it.


FOREMAN: The worst possible follow-up, his sudden death just before the music was to begin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you feeling?

JACKSON: Good. Great.


JOEL STEIN: What? Michael Jackson died?

GRAY: Michael Jackson died?

CHO: All my friends were calling me like, he's dead, he's dead. And I'm like, no, he's just at the hospital.


FOREMAN: The King of Pop was found unconscious at his California home and pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center. Sparking around the clock tributes.

CALLOWAY: You try to send that economic boundaries, you have graphical boundaries, cultural boundaries, racial boundaries.

BROWN: I mean, for years, we've only heard about Jackson as this kind of debauched, wacky pedophile, you know, but what made Michael Jackson great was the music.

CALLOWAY: We really took for granted what we had with Michael Jackson. And I think we're all starting to feel it now that he's gone.

SANCHEZ: It's really funny, I was cleaning out my crawl space of my house and I found "The Thriller" album, until I figured that one out.

FOREMAN: Worst discovery, the coroner's ruling that Jackson died from a powerful combination of anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives.

BEN STEIN: It frightens me that stars have enough power to get pretty much any drug they want out of their druggist and their doctor.

FOREMAN: The long lead up to his funeral was surreal.

BEHAR: I thought it was overdone, the Michael Jackson story.

FOREMAN: The best moment.

I think America fell in love with Jackson's children at the end when they -- you saw them at the funeral.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.

BROWN: Who didn't see him as a freak? Who didn't see him as this crazed pop culture figure? They saw him as daddy. And it was a very touching moment, I thought.

FOREMAN: Other acts reached out and touched folks.


BEN STEIN: I don't know if you know this, but I became fairly famous by saying Bueller, Bueller, Bueller. And some kind person sitting next to me at a restaurant showed me a Kanye West rap video in which he says Bueller.


BEN STEIN: So that was my favorite thing in terms of music I heard this year.

(VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: I liked Shakira this year.


GRAY: There's a new song by Pete Yorn, who actually collaborated with Scarlett Johansson and her breast in a new song called, "Relater." It's excellent.


FOREMAN: But the best breakthrough performer of the year...


JOEL STEIN: This was the year of Lady Gaga, right, Anderson? You with me? Anderson is with me on this, I think.

CHO: I love Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is kind of like Madonna's muppet baby. If there was a muppet baby version of Madonna, it would be Lady Gaga.

GRAY: Lady Gaga is the real deal. If you watch her, she can play the piano and she can sing, and she's a little -- I mean, she's quirky, she's eccentric.

LADY GAGA, SINGER: Are you listening?

BROWN: She writes her own songs. She's incredibly creative. She's still mysterious.

CALLOWAY: If you go to a Lady Gaga concert, you buy a ticket, you're going to get your money's worth, Tom.

FOREMAN: Best unexpected challenger for the crown -- Britain's Susan Boyle.


FOREMAN: Plenty of people bought her music even if some didn't buy her act.

BEHAR: We only hear her sing the same song over and over again, you know. I want to hear Susan Boyle sing "Funky Town," and then I'll see if she has talent.

The movie business had big money magic with "Transformers," "Harry Potter", and "Up."

CALLOWAY: I think to me "Twilight" is the big story in movie news this week.

FOREMAN: But scads of ticket buyers were otherwise wondering where the talent was.

GRAY: I thought 2009 was a terrible year for movies. I had high hopes for "Paranormal Activity." (VIDEO CLIP)

GRAY: Which was billed as the new "Blair Witch Project," but it was just awful.


GRAY: And beyond that, I saw "Couple's Retreat."


GRAY: Which was a nightmare and a half.


SANCHEZ: I really enjoyed "The September Issue."



BROWN: I hated "Funny People." Hated that movie. It was two movies too long. Four of them starring Adam Sandler.



CHO: Oh, "District 9," that's a great movie.


BEN STEIN: I can't think of any movies I have seen that I liked this year.


JOEL STEIN: It seemed like a good year for kid movies. There was "Cloudy with a Chance for Meatballs," which was great.


JOEL STEIN: "Fantastic Mr. Fox," and "Where the Wild Things Are."


JOEL STEIN: Seems like if you were a kid, tremendous year for films. Or just an adult with a low intellect.

FOREMAN: Television saw a few hellos...


FOREMAN: ...a few good-byes.

(VIDEO CLIP) FOREMAN: And a lot of favorites hanging around for more.


SANCHEZ: I think things like "House" and "Criminal Minds." But I'm pro-FBI.

JOEL STEIN: "Any Modern Family" is really funny.

BEHAR: "Mad Men" I love.

JOEL STEIN: "The Office" is still really good.

CALLOWAY: I'm going to be honest with you, Tom. I'm a "Gossip Girl" fan.


BEN STEIN: I don't really watch as much TV as I probably should. As a good American, I probably should watch more TV than I do.


FOREMAN: But the best staying power, that goes to the unreal world of reality television, still going strong.


CHO: I love the return of "Project Runway," which is my favorite.

GRAY: My TV viewing habits begin and end with the word Kardashian, preferably Chloe.

BEHAR: I think people just like to watch shows that make them feel good about their own lives. People like to see that. They look over at their drunken husbands and say, hey, he's not so bad.

FOREMAN: Worst case of a supporting cast member not being very supporting. Jon of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight," the marriage hit the rocks, he hit the dating circuit and hit the roof, too. Saying "no mas" to cameras in the kitchen.

CHO: I saw him the other day. I was walking on the street and I saw him. And I immediately started laughing, and I feel bad about that because he's a human being.

FOREMAN: Give the best walkout to the queen of daytime. Oprah announces she'll do her last show in 2011, stunning millions.


SANCHEZ: To walk away from those big paychecks, it's amazing.

FOREMAN: Amazing was the word that many people were using to describe the American political scene as the year began with a new, young president promising to change politics as we know it. Of course, that was before he ran into the town halls, the talk-back. And the tea party express.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The DNA of America is liberty and freedom.


FOREMAN: No wonder Hillary Clinton is smiling. She knows what's coming up on ALL THE BEST, ALL THE WORST 2009.


COOPER: Hey, hello again from Times Square.

GRIFFIN: It's me, Anderson Cooper. Sorry.

COOPER: That's my line.

GRIFFIN: Sorry, go ahead.

COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper here with...

GRIFFIN: Kathy Griffin.

COOPER: Our live coverage begins in half an hour, 11:00 p.m. Eastern. We're on the air until 12:30 p.m. That is the scene in Times Square right now. Hundreds of thousands of people have packed right here. The festivities have really been going on, though, a lot of folks in the crowd have been here since noon today.

GRIFFIN: I know, they're excited to see you in person. They want to know if you're real. What's going to make you tick or crack?

COOPER: We wanted to take a look back at the best -- and we have been doing this since our third year together.

GRIFFIN: I know, but let's just show the worst of the worst, shall we?

COOPER: Well, we don't have the worst of the worst. We have the best and some kind of the...

GRIFFIN: The questionable moments.

COOPER: Questionable moments...

GRIFFIN: All right.

COOPER: ... from the last two years. Let's take a look.

GRIFFIN: OK. Let's throw stuff at the Jonas brothers. You're frogs.

COOPER: You can't do that. You just threw something at the Jonas brothers. GRIFFIN: Yes, I want to throw a rock at them if I can. Happy new year, sorry. Hey, take your hands off me. Honestly.

COOPER: Kathy was saying it's like the prom she never had.

GRIFFIN: That's true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now a special shut out to Mr. Anderson Cooper and Ms. Kathy Griffin Lee.

COOPER: That wasn't Kathy Griffin on the pole. That was some of the backup dancers. My niece, Claire, wants me to hook her up with him. I'm all for it. I think it's a great idea. I would like to see her on a pole and a nice neon short jumpsuit.

COOPER: Do you know the problem when you want to show a musical act on television and yet you can't show the musical act.

GRIFFIN: You know what buddy? You (Inaudible), too. I love the New York fans. Screw you, I'm working.

COOPER: Kathy, what can I say? It was okay. It was adequate.

GRIFFIN: It was a night on the d-list. I'm taking you down the rabbit hole with me.

COOPER: I had forgotten about that Little Wayne moment.

GRIFFIN: Really? You mean when we were a Youtube sensation?

COOPER: No, I was talking about the Little Wayne moment. I don't know what you're referring to.

GRIFFIN: I thought you meant when there was a heckler downstairs and I said, hey, buddy --

COOPER: Well, anyway, do you know what - yes look at the time. It's flying by.


COOPER: Yes, it is. We're going to be live --

GRIFFIN: There was this heckler and I couldn't help it to say --

COOPER: It's done. That's in the past. You got to move on. It's a new year.

GRIFFIN: So we're going to top it. Tonight we're going to say things, this is not a family show.

COOPER: No, this is a show for the whole family.


COOPER: Yes, absolutely. GRIFFIN: You guys should go to bed, I mean the little ones.

COOPER: The little ones?

GRIFFIN: The ones under 40 should go to bed, trust me.

COOPER: Kathy is under strict instructions and she's going to live up -- or you actually have to give back the money.

GRIFFIN: I brought my checkbook.

COOPER: You're ready to just give it up?

GRIFFIN: I'm ready to write the check.

COOPER: Did the Jonas brothers ever get back to you about throwing something at them?


COOPER: What are their names again?

GRIFFIN: Jamie, Pechic, and Fredricka --

COOPER: There is no Jonas brother named Pechic.

GRIFFIN: You have not done your research. Where the heck is Amanpour? Where is she? You promised.

COOPER: Where is - she's in the city. She's maybe out with Jack.

GRIFFIN: Really? Do you think she's making out with Jack Cafferty?


GRIFFIN: Are you sure?

COOPER: No, no.

GRIFFIN: What CNN talent have you walked in on making out?

COOPER: None, none.

GRIFFIN: Blitzer and Poppy. Admit it. It's a done deal, it's a situation.

COOPER: Look at the crowd.

GRIFFIN: How is everything doing out there?

COOPER: No, we're just looking at the crowd. We're not tossing to Poppy or Don. We're just enjoying the crowds. In about half an hour --

GRIFFIN: I honestly don't know who is more in my crosshairs tonight, you or Poppy. I'm still torn. COOPER: I've already started to sweat. We'll be live from 11:00 to 12:30. We will see you live ringing in the New Year -

GRIFFIN: I feel like you're extra angry tonight.

COOPER: No, I'm just a little discombobulated. I'll get the flow of things in about half an hour.

GRIFFIN: Would you like to hear some music from Daughtry? Do you promise not to text Ryan secrets? Do you promise?

COOPER: What is --

GRIFFIN: It's the house, get with the program.

COOPER: All right, we'll meet Tom Foreman. We'll be back at the top of hour. We'll see you then.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A couple of years ago almost no one would have expected a little known senator from Illinois to become president, but if Barack Obama anticipated the political storm waiting for him, he might not have taken the job.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The inauguration was cold, but the politics heated up fast. With two wars raging, the economy in chaos, and no sign of the bipartisan cooperation the president promised.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether he was a Republican or Democrat, anybody walking in those shoes would have a hard time.

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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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: Go he is to 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't trust me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On what planet do you spend most of your time?

LESLIE SANCHEZ, AUTHOR, "YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, MAYBE": 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, HOST, "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW" ON HLN: 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, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: 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, CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR IN CHIEF, THE DAILY BREAD: 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.


FOREMAN (on-camera): Beyond the world of politics, it seemed like a lot of people were asking why not this year, and that put plenty of folks on thin ice by the time winter rolled around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did this for the show.

FOREMAN: Why not launch a balloon and say your boy is on board?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm really happy for you, I'm going to let you finish. But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.

FOREMAN: Why not announce your own winner at the awards show? Why not hike the Appalachian trail? Why not play to win? Why not stick around for more of "All the best, All the worst of 2009"?


FOREMAN: The world of big news stories rumbled in 2009 from the saber rattling of Kim Jong-il to the fist shaking of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Iranian protesters ran beneath the banner of a young woman. The Pan Am terrorist walked free. Iraq and Afghanistan heard plans for American troop buildups and pullouts. Even as a military community dealt with tragedy close to home and concern for the growing number of veterans kept growing, too.

CALLOWAY: I think we owe it to them, absolutely owe it to them, to take care of them when they come back.

FOREMAN: Yet for many Americans, the biggest worry was a tiny bug. Worst virus, the H1N1 swine flu had everybody on the run. It was less deadly than feared.

STEIN: I don't want to come off as pro-pandemic, but I feel like I have been cheated. Like when is it coming?

FOREMAN: The vaccine was also much harder to find than federal officials predicted.

BROWN: If you see swine flu as a kind of laboratory of what the government would do, it's a terrible picture of a government not able to cope.

CALLOWAY: It's the kind of thing if you say I don't want to come in today and your bosses are like why? You can say I have swine flu and you're excused. I think swine flu became the biggest excuse not to go to work.

FOREMAN: On the other hand --

STEIN: I do think the concern that the vaccine is some kind of government trick or mind control to wreck people's lives, that's just pretty silly.

FOREMAN: Airplanes had their share of serious troubles, including the air France jet that disappeared over the Atlantic. But there were also some quirky incidents. Worst navigation, the pilots who flew from San Diego to Minneapolis and then just kept flying. Overshooting their target by 150 miles before turning back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got distracted.

FOREMAN: Best improvisation, the miracle on the Hudson. One plane, a flock of geese, and a mind-blowing emergency landing in the river by Captain Sully Sullenberger.

GRAY: Sully was great. He was right out of central casting. He was like the Clint Eastwood of airline pilots. I could just imagine him up in the cockpit when the geese hit the engines and he's like, not on my watch.

BEHAR: I don't know if he was really lauded because he was able to land on the Hudson River or he just got a great parking spot in New York.

FOREMAN: Gay marriage supporters saw two more states allow same-sex weddings, but several other votes ran against their cause.

STEIN: I think if gay people want to get married, more power to them, but I think it should be a state matter.

FOREMAN: Beauty queen Carrie Prejean spoke up against same-sex marriage, but ended up out of her crown and out of her gown, too, as rumors of sexy videotapes swirled out of her past.

CHO: I think that she really is proof that looks are not everything.

STEIN: Did anybody see her sex tape? I don't think she has sex. It's just tease, tease, tease with her. I need either more or less Carrie Prejean, but this level of Carrie Prejean, no thanks.

GRAY: Then she goes on Larry King and tries to walk off Larry King.

CARRIE PREJEAN: Larry, you're being inappropriate.

BEHAR: Larry was like, what do you mean? I'm inappropriate. He should have said eight sex tapes, that's inappropriate.

SANCHEZ: She stood for strong Christian, conservative values, but some of that can get laughed at I think and oversimplified when you appear on different types of shows that don't really understand what she's talking about. FOREMAN: It turned out to be a terrible year for relationships in the news. Worst boyfriend, R&B singer Chris Brown, who beat up his pop star girlfriend Rihanna on Grammy night no less.

CHO: I'm so mad at Chris Brown. I'm still mad about it, and I'm glad they're not together. I was so furious about that.

GRAY: You can't go around beating up women.

FOREMAN: Best handling of a bad situation, David Letterman admitted sex with staff members after an alleged extortion attempt. Many fans were disappointed, but others gave him props for coming clean.

CHO: I thought the way that he handled that whole sex scandal was so classy.

SANCHEZ: The reason that he went forward was because of the extortion. That he knew that it's going to be public.

STEIN: The women who were involved with it did it totally consensually. He didn't do anything wrong.

FOREMAN: Worst excuse for inexcusable behavior, he was hiking the Appalachian trail. That was one explanation for the disappearance of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who was actually off to Argentina to see his mistress.

STEIN: But married men can go missing for about eight minutes before they need a very, very excuse, so, yes, once you pass like the four- hour mark, you are very, very missing as a husband.

GRAY: You can imagine that call, his staff, you know, how was the hike? It was so good. I hiked twice. I haven't hiked twice since college. Amazing.

FOREMAN: So were his repeated attempts to explain himself.

BROWN: Each time he opened his mouth, it just made it worse, and he made his wife even madder.

FOREMAN: But absolutely the worst drive into the rough, Tiger Woods. His late night car crash was just the beginning of a hard road of revelations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no words to explain.

FOREMAN: Some things this year truly had to be seen to be believed. Coming up, the moments that defied explanation and sometimes just made us want to run and hide.

CALLOWAY: This is go time. Call Anderson, hit him on the Blackberry. Let's just go to the Bahamas, bro.

FOREMAN: When 360's "All the best, All the worst of 2009" continues.


FOREMAN: Even in this peculiar year when so many things did not go as we expected or hoped, some stories stood out as almost unbelievable, and one absolutely rose above the rest.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Best use of a giant inflatable spaceship to fool us all, balloon boy.

STEIN: Oh, my God, you could strip away every other news story. Take aware our first black president, take away Michael Jackson dying, leave me with balloon boy and I'm happy.

CALLOWAY: I thought it was stupid, Tom. Just to be honest with you.

FOREMAN: For hours America watched spell bound by the story of a run away balloon in Colorado with a 6-year-old boy inside and when it finally landed --

BEHAR: Everybody was waiting for him to be in the balloon, to land, and he would walk out of the balloon and say, hi, everybody. But no.

FOREMAN: It turns out he had been hiding in the family garage all along as part of an ill conceived plot for the family to get a reality TV program.

BROWN: Sometimes a story comes along when it's just exist how utterly crazy our celebrity culture has become. And balloon boy was sent to show us how stupid we all are.

STEIN: The parents to me, and this is just an opinion, the parents clearly insane. There's way too much attention given to insane people.


FOREMAN: Back on earth, the often out of control Kanye West gets the worst entrance award for jumping on stage during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the video music awards.

KANYE WEST: I'm really happy for you, I'm going to let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.

GRAY: It was like kicking a puppy. It was awful.

SANCHEZ: I thought it was bad taste, bad form, and bad style.

CHO: I feel sorry for Taylor Swift.

STEIN: I don't know what all the upset was about. He was clearly a bit yated. He didn't hurt anybody. He scared that girl a little bit, but he didn't hurt anybody.

FOREMAN: Maybe he even helped. Best take two, Taylor Swift named entertainer of the year at the Country Music Awards with only her band rushing the stage this time.

In the world of sports, the best were easy to see. The Super Bowl went to the Steelers, the basketball trophy to the Lakers, the Stanley Cup to the Penguins, and the World Series for the Yankees. And the worst were hard to ignore. Worst foot fault, Serena Williams at the U.S. Open.

The call looked good. Her very bad reaction got her booted from the tournament. Worst flashback, Andre Agassi and the Crystal Meth revelation. Worst action shot, Olympic champion Michael Phelps using a bong.

BEHAR: Please, leave him alone. The guy swims. He wins a gold medal, he smokes a joint and they're all over him.

FOREMAN: The worst poke in the eye, University of Florida, Brandon Spikes. Worst soccer punch, Oregon's Garret Blunt, but overall, worst sportsmanship of the year, you have to give it to New Mexico's Elizabeth Lambert in the game against BYU.

If not for the elbows and illegal tackles, at least for the pony tail head snap heard around the internet world. The internet produced some remarkable moments. I'm starting with the man in the mirror, I'm asking him to change his ways.

Best tribute to Michael Jackson, Yale student Sam Sui, that's him, six times over. Best improvement on the Teletubbies, Beyonce and the dancing baby.

STEIN: That's all you can get out of the internet moment. That was kind of amusing.

FOREMAN: Best thing in 140 characters or less. Twitter -

GRAY: Twitter is perfect for people like me. Tradition forms of communication are just a waste of time that could otherwise be spent watching "Judge Juddy."

FOREMAN: Best upgrade to old tech, all the new cell phone applications. Was anything better?

CALLOWAY: Honestly, I want to text you a message right now to answer that? Can I text you to answer?

BROWN: This is the year I truly fell in love with my Blackberry.

BEHAR: I love this thing.

STEIN: I have a phone from Verizon, and this phone can do everything except make pancakes.

FOREMAN: Best break through marriage of tech and tradition. E-books, the kindle, the nook, and all the rest finally came into their own despite the skeptics.

BROWN: It's genius. I think people are reading more. STEIN: How many books are you reading that you need an electronic book? I need about 1.5 books a year. I can carry them around.


FOREMAN(on-camera): And with that, I'm Tom Foreman. For everyone at 360, we hope you keep your job, keep your patience, and keep your spirits up through a happy new year.