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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
New Year Celebration; Best and Worst of 2009
Aired December 31, 2009 - 23:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CO-HOST, NEW YEAR'S EVE: And here we go. Let's get ready. Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Happy New Year!
Was that Nick Lachey?
KATHY GRIFFIN, CNN CO-HOST, NEWS YEAR'S EVE: I thought it was J-Lo.
COOPER: I thought it was Nick Lachey.
GRIFFIN: Is it weird I want to make out with Poppy (ph)?
FRANK SINATRA, SINGING, "NEW YORK, NEW YORK": Start spreading the news I'm leaving today, I want to be part of it, New York, New York ...
(MUSIC, CROWD CHEERING)
(SINGING, MUSIC, CROWD CHEERING)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy New Year!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy New Year!
RAY CHARLES, SINGING, AMERICA, AMERICA: Ooh beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain for purple mountains' majesty above the fruited plain, wait a minute I'm talking about America, sweet America God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea ...
(MUSIC, SINGING, CROWD CHEERING)
COOPER: I know I sound incredibly corny, but it is truly a remarkable thing to be in Times Square, and see all these people and hear the music. I love it.
GRIFFIN: What if we started again with the truth? Is it about the paycheck?
COOPER: No. Look at that. How can you ask --
GRIFFIN: It's about showing the man, fight the power.
COOPER: Showing the man? Yeah, that is what we are doing here? GRIFFIN: Do you look for controversy or does it just find you?
COOPER: Is that a Twitter question?
GRIFFIN: You were on the edge with that comment about loving New Year's. You were out there, my friend. You're going to get letters and hate mail.
Ow, ow, Anderson Cooper just hit me! Ow! Is there a doctor in the house?
COOPER: Oh, goodness. I have nothing left to say.
GRIFFIN: I do. OK. If your name -- I love this joke. If your name was two first named as opposed to two last names, what would it be?
COOPER: I don't know. Is there an answer? Is this a joke or --
GRIFFIN: You've never thought about that until this moment?
COOPER: I never thought of that.
GRIFFIN: Your name is two last names.
COOPER: Yes, I'm familiar. I know that. I have a middle name which is also a last name.
GRIFFIN: What is it?
GRIFFIN: You wreak of money. Let's go to your mom's after this. Have you ever been tardy for the party?
COOPER: I got drunk dialed by Nini. And when she drunk dialed me -- this was way before the song, because Nini came up with "tardy for the party". She drunk dialed me and said, "tardy to the party."
GRIFFIN: No, it was actually Kim's guitar teacher and then Nini hopped on board.
COOPER: Oh, did she really?
GRIFFIN: Yes. But let's face it, Candy did everything.
COOPER: By the way, Kim does not have a guitar teacher, please!
GRIFFIN: By the way, I have two Emmys for "My Life On The D List" coming back on Bravo soon. And a number one "New York Times" bestseller.
COOPER: Let's check in with Poppy. That was a number one "New York Times" bestseller?
COOPER: I mean, I had a number one "New York times" bestseller. But I'm surprised that you did.
GRIFFIN: How long?
COOPER: It was only, I don't know, it was only two weeks I think.
GRIFFIN: Six weeks. In your face, Andy Cooper.
COOPER: I don't believe that.
GRIFFIN: Glug, glug, glug.
COOPER: Let's go back to Poppy Harlow in the thick of celebrating --
GRIFFIN: Poppy? Poppy's back? Poppy, what are you wearing?
POPPY HARLOW, CO-HOST, NEW YEAR'S EVE: These glasses are for you. And I thought I had the best glasses, but obviously these ladies beat me.
Did you have a great New Year?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy New Year!
HARLOW: Everyone had a great New Year. They are now all asking me where the bathroom is because everyone is trying to get out of Times Square. Take a look. I want to show you a wide shot of Times Square. Look at this. A million people here.
A million plus people here in Times Square. Now the attempt to get out of Times Square is going on. It's fantastic to see everyone here tonight singing. We need a little more upbeat music here, but everyone is getting a little nostalgic right now, and singing all together.
I got to bring in my favorite CNN Anchor Don Lemon here, capturing it all on his i-Phone for CNN i-Reporters. Our own Don Lemon.
It's been an amazing New Year down here with everyone, Anderson and Kathy. I think that's about it. Literally let's take a look. People are trying to get out of Times Square now. Back to you guys.
COOPER: Poppy, Don, thanks very much. Let's check in also and just show you some of the New Year's celebrations that have also just taken place --
GRIFFIN: I'm sorry, I'm a little traumatized from Poppy's report. I just need a minute.
COOPER: I know. I'm going to give you a minute. Gary Tuchman is in Central Park running a four-mile race.
GRIFFIN: Gary -what's his last name?
COOPER: Every year thousands take part in the Midnight Run. GRIFFIN: Are you sure it's Tuchman?
COOPER: It is a New York tradition.
Gary, you're running. How's it going?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (AUDIO GAP) Great right now, Anderson. Behind me we have about 4,000 people running. These is the New York Midnight Runners, the Emerald Midnight Run. Emerald nuts. No, we're not nuts to be running. It's very inspiring to be running. This is my 12-year-old daughter, Samantha.
How's it going, Samantha? The first mile?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good.
TUCHMAN: She's telling me we need to go faster. She wants to win the $500 prize. I don't think we're going to win the prize.
How are you all doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excellent!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy New Year!
TUCHMAN: Where are you from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Denmark.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not Copenhagen.
TUCHMAN: They had a climate summit in Denmark. Did you know that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that. They talk about it all the time.
TUCHMAN: OK, good luck with the run.
Where are you guys from? Where are you from? Where are you guys from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York.
TUCHMAN: How's it going? You ever run a race like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
TUCHMAN: All right. Well, good luck.
Ever run a race like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got Boulder, right there.
TUCHMAN: Boulder, Colorado?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TUCHMAN: Going to finish the four miles?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
TUCHMAN: Everyone's tired, they're running. We have two and a half more miles to go. (AUDIO GAP) They're going to have a fireworks show and all in all the great way to spend the next few minutes of the year. Anderson, Kathy, back to you.
COOPER: You are a better man than I am for doing that.
GRIFFIN: Can me, laughing at you, please be the shot? Because, really, global audience, you need to know during that last incredibly boring piece this is Andy.
Andy Ryan Oprah. Glug, glug. Who's on your death panel?
COOPER: On my what?
GRIFFIN: Your death panel. My mother says Sarah Palin told her that there's going to be death panels and I'm just wondering who's on yours.
COOPER: I don't --
GRIFFIN: You never thought about it?
COOPER: There are no death panels.
GRIFFIN: OK, mine is Glenn Beck and El Divo. I know it's a little random.
GRIFFIN: But so what?
COOPER: All of El Divo? All three of them?
GRIFFIN: Not the hot guy. Can you prove you were born handsome? Like do you have documentation? Because I can. Are you slap happy?
COOPER: I'm a little slap happy -- you have a little water on your nose.
GRIFFIN: I have water on my nose? I was doing a little blow. Is that good?
COOPER: No. No, you weren't.
GRIFFIN: I need a bump, baby.
COOPER: I don't know what you're talking about.
GRIFFIN: Do you have any poppers from Poppy? Get it? Poppy. It's an old-school reference. Sorry, kids.
COOPER: Just ahead, the excitement continues in Key West. Sushi, the Drag Queen rings in the New Year. She's already lowered in the giant shoe. We're going to show you what happened there at the stroke of midnight. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PFC CODY THOMPSON, U.S. ARMY: Howdy, y'all. This is PFC. Cody Thompson here at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. I'd like to say Happy New Years to Kathy and Anderson, and my beautiful wife, Elena (ph), and my adorable daughter Deserea (ph) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Ya'll have it easy. Go Cowboys.
CAPT. JULIE SCHETZ, U.S. ARMY: Hi, my name is Capt. Julie Schwetz and I'm in Bagram, Afghanistan. I'd like to say Happy New Year's Anderson and Kathy. I'd also like to shout-out to my mom, dad, sister in Congers, New York, and my brother, Anthony in Muglu (ph), Iraq, and my husband, David, in Fabshank (ph), Afghanistan. Happy 2010!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We want to wish all -- amazing -
GRIFFIN: Ah, so nice.
COOPER: All the nearly 200,000 troops in war zones tonight a happy and safe New Year. Hope you complete the mission and come home soon.
GRIFFIN: When you were in Afghanistan last time, did your wardrobe trailer, was that armored as well?
COOPER: My wardrobe trailer? No.
GRIFFIN: I heard you had about four or five, just wardrobe trailers. Armored?
COOPER: Had a small bag, actually, I traveled pretty light.
GRIFFIN: Was it armored, though? With the Prada?
GRIFFIN: Now, when you were in Afghanistan, did you prefer the Four Seasons over the Ritz? Which did you?
COOPER: As you know there's neither a Four Seasons or - in fact, the --
GRIFFIN: They didn't build one for you?
COOPER: The hotel I stayed in two years ago was bombed just a couple weeks ago.
GRIFFIN: Way to take -- buzz kill. Buzz kill.
COOPER: Hey, I'm just keeping it real. I'm just keeping it real.
GRIFFIN: OK, so let's keep it more real. There's a rumor "The New York times" called and heard I swore.
COOPER: You did not swear.
GRIFFIN: I know, but I love the idea that I swore.
COOPER: I know, they think you did, but that's all right.
GRIFFIN: Can they put it as a headline?
COOPER: They're apparently going to look back at the tape and see if you did.
GRIFFIN: Can it be a headline in the entertainment page?
COOPER: No, it's not going to happen. Because you didn't.
GRIFFIN: What about TMZ?
COOPER: Not even TMZ.
GRIFFIN: Come on, that's a news organization.
COOPER: John Zarrella is in Key West.
GRIFFIN: I bet he swore. He swore.
COOPER: No he didn't.
COOPER: He swore and "The New York Times" is confirming it. \
GRIFFIN: And so did Poppy and Don Lemon, too.
COOPER: I don't know where we're going. John Zarrella in Key West with one of our New Year's tradition. Sushi, who's lowered in a giant red shoe. Just happened at the stroke of midnight. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Party in the USA.
COOPER: There it is. I see. It's always a little disorganized which is part of the tradition.
GRIFFIN: Part of the chaos is part of the fun. Not unlike tonight. COOPER: It's a tradition they've been doing for a long time. We've been showing it for eight years now. It's one of those uniquely American traditions. There we go. That was the scene in Key West.
GRIFFIN: None of them wearing coats, or gloves, or look uncomfortable, or are in the rain.
COOPER: Yes. That is true. John Zarrella is in Key West right now.
GRIFFIN: Oh, cry me a river.
COOPER: Cry you a river?
GRIFFIN: Oh, poor John Zarrella.
COOPER: John, how are you doing?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we're just doing great.
GRIFFIN: John is not even talking to us.
ZARRELLA: I have Cher here with me.
I'm talking to you. Can't you hear me? I'm talking to you.
COOPER: We've got you, john.
I've got Cher here with me.
UNIDENTIFIED SHEMALE: Happy New Year, John! Happy New Year, Kathy, Anderson.
ZARRELLA: Sushi, everybody is stunned. You said this was your last year after --
UNIDENTIFIED SHEMALE: I think it might be, yeah. I've been in the shoe for, like, 12 years. And Kathy has not even said hello to me.
ZARRELLA: Kathy, you need to say hello.
UNIDENTIFIED SHEMALE: Kathy, you haven't even said hello to me.
GRIFFIN: Hello, hello, hello, I love you, hello.
ZARRELLA: She's saying hello.
GRIFFIN: Hey, girl.
UNIDENTIFIED SHEMALE: Love you, baby.
GRIFFIN: Tell him I say, hey, girl.
ZARRELLA: She gave you the, Hey, girl.
UNIDENTIFIED SHEMALE: Is it nice standing next to Anderson Cooper that sexy man?
GRIFFIN: Girl, I am running him. I'm taking him down one gray hair at a time.
COOPER: It's not hard to take me down. Hey, John --
ZARRELLA: She's taking him down one gray hair at a time.
ZARRELLA: I can't hear you.
COOPER: We're going to -- John, has your -- John, did your family come with you this time?
ZARRELLA: Yeah. They did. Look, they're here. There's the family. The whole crowd, look.
COOPER: The whole family is there.
GRIFFIN: I think I see Carrie Prejean somewhere in that crowd. No?
ZARRELLA: Girlfriends, friends, sons.
ZARRELLA: It gets bigger and better every year.
COOPER: We want to wish John and Sushi and everybody in Key West, a great New Year's. Also in Las Vegas. Still ahead, we're going to have more from Times Square where the celebration is sure to continue. There are a lot of people trying to -
GRIFFIN: We are keeping it going here, people. "The New York Times" has called. This night is a scandal. Turn off Ryan Seacrest, turn off Univision.
COOPER: There's no scandal.
GRIFFIN: You're not going to even believe what Anderson said live. I can't -- I'm about to walk off. You're being inappropriate.
COOPER: She's making this up. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT: Hi, everyone, my name is Fred Pleitgen, coming to you from the German capital, Berlin, where 1 million people are about to usher in the year 2010. Let's listen in.
(FIREWORKS, CHEERING CROWD)
A happy New Year from Berlin.
The weather has been absolutely horrible this entire evening. It's been snowing. It's been raining and it's also freezing here in the German capital. One thing's for certain, the party here is going to go on all night. Back to you, Anderson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was New Year's Eve a short time ago, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Happy New Year from New York's Times Square. We're here with Kathy Griffin.
GRIFFIN: Can you explain this picture, Anderson?
COOPER: This is a picture of me pretending to read your book.
GRIFFIN: You can't read? Fantasia did a movie about that from "American Idol" on Lifetime. It was really touching. I'm glad you are reaching out to the illiterate community.
COOPER: Fantasia, really? She did that.
GRIFFIN: Fantasia can't read.
Anyway, please buy my book, and his, too, whatever.
COOPER: Let's check in at Las Vegas where the New Year has yet to arrive. Lance Bass is there.
Lance, how is the crowd?
LANCE BASS, CNN CO-HOST, NEW YEAR'S EVE: It's getting crazy, Anderson. Happy New Year, Anderson, Kathy, and Happy New Year to the East Coast.
GRIFFIN: Happy New Year.
BASS: As you can tell -- happy New Year. Your party is just winding down, but ours is just getting started. I'll just donned my Hugo Boss tuxedo.
Let's go talk to the crowd a little bit. We have someone from Saudi Arabia. What's your name? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maslas Rass (ph)
BASS: And what's is your New Year's resolution?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of resolutions but the main thing is to have peace in Middle East between Israel and Palestinians. To have peace throughout the Middle East.
BASS: That sounds good. We have a little one. It might be a little bit past her bedtime. Are you having fun here in Vegas?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. My name's Ross. My New Year's resolution is for everybody to have the best New Year.
BASS: That sounds good to me.
Like I said, things are getting really, really crazy here. We're just getting started. Again, happy New Year in New York and the East Coast and, yeah, hopefully we'll remember tonight, tomorrow.
COOPER: All right, Lance, thanks very much. There's other -- the other moment we had this past year was on my birthday, you surprised me with a birthday cake.
GRIFFIN: It was a treat for me. Anything that includes Orman is good and makes money.
COOPER: It was you and Suze Orman - very nice. Let's take a look at this.
GRIFFIN: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Happy Birthday, Anderson.
GRIFFIN: We got I dressed up for you and everything.
SINGING: Happy birthday to you.
COOPER: Wow. Watch your step. Watch your step.
GRIFFIN: Look at the confetti. This was an awesome party.
COOPER: Thank you.
GRIFFIN: Really, it's packed.
SUZE ORMAN: Happy birthday, Anderson.
COOPER: Wow. Thank you. That's very sweet. Thank you very much. Very nice. Wow.
GRIFFIN: I'm so surprised you still have this job and everything. Things are going great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Last time we were together I was very surprised.
GRIFFIN: I would use the word, trepedacious.
COOPER: Trepedacious, I was trepadacious. I was a little fearful as well.
GRIFFIN: Who did you really want it to be? Because clearly you were, I don't know.
COOPER: I couldn't have wished for a more pleasant birthday.
GRIFFIN: All right. If there's your story.
COOPER: We're going to have more from Times Square in a moment. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back. We're live in Times Square where it is already 2010.
GRIFFIN: I can't believe it. It's flown by.
COOPER: It has flown by.
GRIFFIN: And your hair is frizzing.
COOPER: I don't know what that means.
The crowd -you know, one of the things that's interesting about Times Square is that after like 12:15.
GRIFFIN: Boom, the clean it up.
COOPER: It clears out incredibly quickly.
COOPER: I think we have some shots, where we can kind of show you the crowds disperse quickly. The cleaning crews move in very quickly.
GRIFFIN: And you can be honest, is that one of your side jobs?
GRIFFIN: Just to pitch in?
COPPER: You know, we all got - (INAUDIBLE).
GRIFFIN: Just to make ends meet. It's been a tough year.
COOPER: I'm (INAUDIBLE). You got to do what you can.
GRIFFIN: All right. I understand. Me too. On Bravo, "My Life on the D List."
COOPER: But look at that -- the crowd - I mean, they were - we're talking a matter of minutes. They're already pretty much - this thing is emptying up pretty quickly.
GRIFFIN: There's a little stumbling. Don't act like a few people aren't going to roll home.
COOPER: I'm sure a few people will roll home, but... GRIFFIN: And maybe make some new friends.
COOPER: But the police did a very thorough and good job as they do every year in Times Square of keeping this thing very safe. There were some...
COOPER: ... very heavy security.
COOPER: And it was a great - I think it was good.
GRIFFIN: Yes. It was - as far as I know, no one got hurt - just your career. Took a little hit.
COOPER: Well, you know, we do what we can. It's all right.
GRIFFIN: It's over for Lance Bass. Let's face it. No, I tease - Lance Bass. I love that guy.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman I think may still be running.
GRIFFIN: What is he running from? I mean, really. It's obviously an emotional issue.
COOPER: No. There's the fun run in Central Park.
GRIFFIN: Have you ever tried to get him counseling?
COOPER: Look he's right - Gary, where are you now?
GRIFFIN: Gary, what's wrong?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wait, Kathy thinks I need counseling? I'm so insulted by this. I thought we were doing a wonderful thing. Are we doing a wonderful thing here everybody?
COOPER: You are.
TUCHMAN: How do you feel about running on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day? People from all over the world, one mile up to the race. My daughter, Samantha is telling me I cannot quit, so I will not quit. When we're done, (INAUDIBLE), but I promise you, next year, at 2011, I'll tell you my final time.
Anderson, Kathy, happy New Year.
COOPER: Gary, happy New Year. I am incredibly impressed.
GRIFFIN: You don't think they paid those seven people?
GRIFFIN: (INAUDIBLE) $10? COOPER: And last year, Gary went - ran with his daughter, and she - she completed the race as well.
GRIFFIN: Was that his real daughter or...?
COOPER: It absolutely was. So what do you - how long are you going to be in New York for now? What is next for Kathy Griffin?
GRIFFIN: Well, as a matter of fact, I'm doing a very special episode of "Law and Order: SVU".
COOPER: Oh, yes?
GRIFFIN: And so I'll be here, filming it and I'm very...
COOPER: I love "Law and Order: SVU."
GRIFFIN: It's - it's a little different side of me. I'm (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: I always call it "SUV" though.
GRIFFIN: Yes. My mother calls it "SUV" - a pretty crime drama about a jeep Cherokee. But it's really the "SVU" one, and it's got some twists, as that show does. So, I'll be doing that. And then, of course, follow me on Twitter and get the book and watch "The D List" and come see me live in Madison Square Garden and anywhere. I got a tour around the world.
COOPER: It's like a - it's like a machine. You're plugging just everything.
GRIFFIN: Really, Andy?
COOPER: Let's take a look - let's take a look at the ball drop again, just ringing in the New Year. Let's take a look at how it went down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And that was the scene.
GRIFFIN: Is that Poppy?
COOPER: That was Poppy in the crowd.
GRIFFIN: I thought that was Poppy making out with that guy.
COOPER: No, it was Poppy exhorting people to dance.
GRIFFIN: Can we admit that Poppy is the real story of the night, though? It's kind of all about Poppy. COOPER: For Kathy and for all of us on both sides of the camera at CNN, I hope you have a good year, a great year...
GRIFFIN: Happy New Year!
COOPER: A happy and safe New Year, a good decade and a safe night.
Up next, Tom Foreman with "ALL THE BEST AND ALL THE WORST OF 2009." Bye-bye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): 2009 exploded across America like a million points of hope and promise.
KANYE WEST, PRODUCER/SINGER: But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.
FOREMAN: But it soon fizzled down to the 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 the times are still tough.
FOREMAN: Jobs ran short, 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; "LA 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: 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 seemed 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.
FOREMAN (voice-over): 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 - 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 full of cash.
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, Tom. When I fish now, I fish for dinner. Before I fished for sport. It's a little different now, bro.
FOREMAN: Worst waiting list - almost 16 million Americans at one point looking for paychecks and not finding them.
JOEL STEIN, COLUMNIST, LA TIMES: If all the unemployed people did, like, the Hands Across America, they could circle the Lower 48. Why aren't we working on that? 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 what $1 trillion is. I - I have negative $30 in my checking account right now. So, no - $1 trillion - no.
CHO: Yes. I don't even know how many zeros that is. It's hard to fathom.
J. STEIN: It was shocking how much the government could spend, even in the recession. They - they're just crazy with the credit card. I think it's online shopping that's done this.
B. 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 have been an absolute catastrophe.
FOREMAN: Worst job fair tote board - the White House's job website, which tracked fictional jobs along with factual ones and relied heavily on the worst bureaucratic double speak of the year, jobs created or saved.
J. STEIN: I always got this 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 a 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 bomb, all the mortgages still out there, teetering on the brink of foreclosure and the banks that keep falling like dominos.
B. 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 housing market, the stock market, I don't know blackjack, roulette - it's - it's kind of all the same to me now. So I try not to play any of them, you know?
CHO: I think that I'm willing to give faith and have faith that things will change. I mean, things have been so awful for it to last so long.
FOREMAN: Enough on the economy. There were plenty of other things to take our breath away this year, including...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN (voice-over): I don't think we're in Alaska anymore, Toto.
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.
FOREMAN: 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.
OBAMA: 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.
SANCHEZ: Let's be real, whether he was a Republican or a Democrat, anybody walking in those shoes was going to have a hard time.
CALLOWAY: You know, he's walked into a job that has a lot of complexities, and, you know, you got to - you got to deal with a lot of variables in order to make change happen.
BEHAR: The Republicans hate it when we keep - keep bringing it up that it was Bush's fault, but it was Bush's fault.
CHO: There was so much enthusiasm and excitement about Obama taking over, and everybody thought that everything would change overnight.
J. STEIN: I don't think we ever defined the destiny of change that well, right? We just 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...
OBAMA: The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
REP. JOE WILSON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You lie!
FOREMAN: ... goes 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're 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?
SANCHEZ: And 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 (ph) do not see it that way.
FOREMAN: 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.
J. STEIN: You know, I'm a huge tea drinker, and these tea parties lacked a lot of tea.
BROWN: I think the tea parties were really against being marginalized.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will eat away our freedom.
BROWN: Some people were against taxes, some people were pro-life. Some people were going on about health care. There really wasn't a unified theme except the sense of having been dissed.
BEHAR: There's always an angry group of people in every country, though. It's just that they get a lot of press because they're more entertaining than, you know, 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 2000 pages, is still on the table.
B. STEIN: I imagine the health care bill in one form or another will pass, and there will be 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 - Sonya Sotomayor, the first Latina on the Supreme Court.
Worst photo op, you could give it to Air Force One buzzing New York, or the beer summit.
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.
SANCHEZ: Hillary Clinton looks like a rock star, very bipartisan looking, very pro-American, and very high marks in 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, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: 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?
CHO: It's really brilliant because she invigorated the Republican Party in a way that just - I've never seen ever. I mean, it was like this revolution.
BROWN: There's a great, visceral vitality about Sarah Palin.
J. STEIN: I think she's just - she's an amazing populist.
GRAY: 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.
B. STEIN: And she's a dynamic, exciting woman, but as president where life and death decisions, her entire world are involved, I would be quite frightened of having her there. But, I have to tell you, frankly, I'm quite frightened of having Mr. Obama there, too. F
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 it all hang out" Johnston. I think - I mean, he's a genius. I have to say, 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."
BROWN: One of the things that's so curious, in a way, about today's collective (ph) culture is that people put pictures of themselves, you know, 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.
SANCHEZ: It's a great family. To see them experiencing things in that way, it was a very strong, positive image for this country. That's something I think that all of us can appreciate.
BEHAR: I can't get that excited about a woman's arms. I mean, I know the country was just in love with her arms, and she's a lovely person. I have met her. She's very nice.
FOREMAN: 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, when ALL THE BEST, ALL THE WORST OF 2009 continues.
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 protestors ran beneath the banner of a young woman. The Pan-Am terrorists walked free. Iraq and Afghanistan heard plans for American troop build-ups and pull-outs even as the military community dealt with tragedy close to home and concern for the growing number of veterans 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 everyone on the run. It was less deadly than feared.
J. STEIN: I don't want to come off as pro-pandemic, but I feel like I've been cheated. Like when - 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 to what the government would do if it was really a serious (INAUDIBLE), you got a terrible picture of a government unable to cope.
CALLOWAY: It's one of those things that if you say, I don't want to come in today, and your boss is like, well, why? You can easily say, well, I got swine flu, and then you're excused. I think swine flu became, like, the biggest excuse not to go to work.
FOREMAN: On the other hand...
B. STEIN: I do think that there's concern that the vaccine has some - some kind of government trick or government mind control to wreck people's lives. That's just pretty silly.
FOREMAN: Airplanes had their share of serious troubles, including the air transjet 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 can just imagine him up in the cockpit, knowing the geese hit the - 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.
B. 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 videotape swirled out of her past.
CHO: I think that she - she really is proof that looks are not everything.
J. STEIN: And did anyone see her sex tape? I don't think she had sex. Like it's just tease, tease, tease with her. I need more - I needed more or less Carrie Prejean, but this level of Carrie Prejean, no thanks.
GRAY: And then she goes on Larry King and tries to walk off Larry King.
CARRIE PREJEAN, FORMER BEAUTY QUEEN: Larry, you're being inappropriate.
BEHAR: Larry was like, what do you mean I'm inappropriate? He should have said to her, eight sex tapes - that's inappropriate.
SANCHEZ: She's somebody who stood for strong, Christian, conservative values, but someone 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: Oh, 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: I mean, you can't go around beating up women.
CHO: And I - I think that it just - it sends a terrible message to young men out there.
GRAY: You're voted off the island.
FOREMAN: Best handling of a bad situation, David Letterman admitted sex with staff members after an alleged extrusion 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. Such a - an elegant, just perfect way to handle something that could potentially be really ugly.
SANCHEZ: But the reason that he went forward was because of the extortion, that he knew that it was going to go public. That's not exactly a sincere effort to kind of, you know, show you my - my transgressions.
B. STEIN: The women who were involved with him did it. Totally consensual. 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.
J. STEIN: Look, married men can go missing for about eight minutes before they need a very, very good excuse when - i.e. coming home. So, yes, once you pass like the four-hour mark, you're a very, very missing as a husband.
GRAY: You can imagine that call. His staff, you know, "how was the hike"? "Oh, it was so good. Oh, I - I hiked twice. I haven't hiked twice in - since college. It was 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.
Best crime news, the surprising rescue of Jaycee Dugard, 18 years after she was kidnapped. Worst - there are too many to choose from. Shootings, robberies, fires all coming in steady supply all year long.
FOREMAN: And, with that, thanks for joining us. 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.