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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

The Best and Worst of 2012

Aired December 31, 2012 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Shuffle the deck, roll the dice, and give the wheel a spin. America took chances this year. Gambling on whether to keep the old president or pick a new one. Betting on a better economy. Coming up snake eyes in some places and dealing wild cards in others. Now, we've got the oddsmakers to break it all down. From CBS's "The Talk," Aisha Tyler, all around smart guy, Ben Stein, Sirius XM Julie Mason, and stand-up guy Pete Dominick. CNN's own Isha Sesay, and the cake boss Buddy Valastro on AC 360's "All the best, all the worst 2012."

Welcome. I'm Tom Foreman, and this was a year for living dangerously. Whether flirting with the fiscal cliff or skydiving from the edge of space or just buying a Powerball ticket, risk taking was back en vogue. And as we head into the new year, we're going to look back at all of the risky business that brought us here in the economy, in entertainment, in sports, in pop culture, in technology, and in the biggest, baddest game of all.

Give it to the twin pillars of politics, the relentless candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, for waging the best and worst presidential campaign of the year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you.

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.

OBAMA: Thank you.

ROMNEY: Thank you so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: This because it was a time the riveting battle for control of the nation. Worst because it often became a war of cheap shots, questionable facts, and everything else that just exhausts voters.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: I don't think there's anything else that immediately so completely sucked up all of the energy or oxygen in the air.

FOREMAN: Worst Republican roulette, the party primary that seemed to have a new up and coming favorite every ten minutes. Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum.

JULIE MASON, HOST SIRIUS XM'S "PRESS POOL": What a freak show, right? That whole primary season, but it was fun. I mean it was democracy in all its messiness and glory, with, you know, issues but then also some crazy stuff.

HERMAN CAIN: America ...

MASON: It was fascinating to watch the party sort of trying to define itself.

CLINT EASTWOOD: What do you want me to tell Romney?

FOREMAN: Worst empty chair supposedly occupied by the president.

EASTWOOD: I can't tell him to do that. Can't do that to himself.

FOREMAN: The one that actor Clint Eastwood spoke to during his mumbling, stumbling convention speech.

EASTWOOD: Go ahead.

AUDIENCE: Make my day.

FOREMAN: Worst empty podium supposedly occupied by the president, the one he actually stood at during the first debate.

UM: Everybody gave Clint Eastwood such a hard time about that empty chair. That empty chair was exactly who showed up at the first debate.

JIM LEHRER, PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE MODERATOR: The audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent.

BUDDY VALASTRO, THE CAKE BOSS: Well, I think that Barack Obama definitely in the first debate got smoked.

OBAMA: Trillion dollar plan.

ROMNEY: You've been president for four years. You've been president four years. You said you would cut the deficit in half. It's now four years later, we still have trillion dollar deficit, the CBO ....

SESAY: Quite the roller coaster where for a long time it was thought to be a foregone conclusion that the president would win.

ROMNEY: You mentioned the other one. Let's talk --

LEHRER: No, no, let's not. Let's let him respond.

FOREMAN: While Mitt Romney came on strong, the president's lackluster performance, looking down, scowling, growling, left many Democrats stunned. MASON: They all assumed the fetal position and sobbed in unison. That was terrible. It was hard to watch, but some of the analysis afterwards I think really exposed some deficiencies in the Democratic machine.

FOREMAN: For the Republicans, it was arguably the best moment of the whole year for their candidate.

AISHA TYLER, CO-HOST, "THE TALK": I don't think his campaign really kicked into high gear until that first debate when he started to get some momentum.

FOREMAN: Unfortunately for Romney ...

It was also the best wake-up call for President Obama who came alive in the next two encounters.

OBAMA: We've got to reduce our deficit, but we've got to do it in a balanced way.

FOREMAN: Worst number 47 as in percent.

ROMNEY: There is 47 percent of people who will vote for the president no matter what.

FOREMAN: Mitt Romney may have said it only once during that fund-raiser, but he heard it over and over and over again.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have had it up to here with this notion, that 47 percent. It's about time they take some responsibility here.

OBAMA: When he said behind closed doors that 47 percent of the country consider themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about.

VALASTRO: They both beat each other often. At the end of the day, I don't think either one was a bad guy.

FOREMAN: Best campaigner or a guy who was not even running, former President Bill Clinton. Best comic relief, Vice President Joe Biden. Best trend in political reporting, the big bump in fact checks, even though the candidates pretty much ignored them. Best budget wonk pin-up to drive the Democrats crazy, VP candidate Paul Ryan.

TYLER: There was a lot of Googling about, you know, what does Paul Ryan think about the economy. What does Paul Ryan think about entitlements. The number one Googled item about Paul Ryan was Paul Ryan shirtless.

FOREMAN: Worst way to show your true colors. The guy who had the Romney/Ryan logo tattooed on his face. Hey, pal, ever hear of bumper stickers? Best fund-raising. Both sides stuffed their piggy banks until they squealed. Total amount raised and spent by the parties and their supporters, nearly $6 billion or enough to hire 3,600 extra teachers for ten years. Just saying.

Worst running mates, other Republican candidates who crushed their party's hopes for taking the Senate with comments about women, rape and abortion. Not that Democrats exactly thrilled America either. Worst thing in all of politics once again this year, the United States Congress, which according to Gallup voters now trust just slightly more than car dealers.

TYLER: I mean the good thing for Congress is that there's nowhere to go but up.

MASON: And they have like no faith in the government at all.

FOREMAN: Best way to keep the polls going down. That delaying tactic called sequestration. Neither party wanted to tackle tough budget issues before the election, so they kicked the can down the road right to the edge of the fiscal cliff, and of course, they blamed each other.

Best surprise for supporters of gay rights, state victories and Supreme Court consideration for same-sex marriage, the election of the first openly lesbian U.S. senator, and President Obama finally coming around to their cause.

OBAMA: My expectation is that when you look back on these years, you will see a time in which we put a stop to discrimination against gays and lesbians, whether in the office or in the battlefield.

VALASTRO: It's equality, you know, people should be able to do whatever they really want in life.

FOREMAN: Worst disappointment for supporters of comprehensive immigration reform. The president promised, but won't be able to deliver until his second term, although he did issue an executive order allowing children of many undocumented workers to stay in the U.S. for college. Best Supreme Court win for the White House, health care reform remains the law of the land.

SESAY: I'm sure we'll still be talking about it in 2013, but, you know, the big overhaul that, you know, was promised by Republicans, that's not going to happen.

FOREMAN: Worst caveat for the administration. The court said no getting around it, it does involve taxing the middle class. Worst loss for antidrug forces, legalized marijuana is gaining ground.

BEN STEIN, AUTHOR, "HOW TO REALLY RUIN YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE AND PORTFOLIO": I hate marijuana, I loathe it, I think it's a really bad thing, but it's not up to me to tell people whether or not they can use it.

FOREMAN: And ultimately, the best thing for the Democrats, Mitt Romney's persistent, perplexing and positively crushing inability to connect with voters.

PETE DOMINICK, HOST, SIRIUSXM "STAND UP WITH PETE DOMINICK": He went into a hardware store, he came out, reporters asked him what he got. He actually said --

ROMNEY: Hardware stuff.

DOMINICK: Everyone, Mitt Romney reached down and shook hands with a six-year old boy. Reached down and shook hands. The kid is six, Mitt.

STEIN: I do not think Mr. Romney ran a great campaign. I think he was -- he's not a charismatic person. I think a charismatic Republican would have won. I don't think we had a particularly great platform. I don't think we invited in Hispanics the way we should have. But it will be - it will change next time. Maybe we'll get a better candidate. But meantime, life goes on, and little by little, our problems will get solved.

FOREMAN: And come election night, at least one of Barack Obama's problems was solved. Best end for Democrats to a long, troubled race -- re-election.

(APPLAUSE)

FOREMAN: Coming up, high rollers, Honey Boo Boo, and the prince who had no pants. When all the best, all the worst rolls on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOREMAN: In this year of big bets, quite a few high rollers grabbed headlines with their very bold wagers and yet few came up winning quite like one lady who has been in the game a while.

Best royal flush, the whole British royal family, starting with the queen who celebrated her diamond jubilee. That's 60 years on the throne and still swinging a scepter.

STEIN: There is a sign of continuity in a world of change that England still has a monarchy and that queen has been there so long and served so incredibly, unbelievably well. God bless her.

MASON: She's old. She's wicked old. But you know, still awesome.

VALASTRO: You know, if you make it to the diamond jubilee birthday, you deserve a big cake. Too bad the queen didn't call me. I would have loved to have made her cake. That was the only problem. They messed up. They should have had me bake the cake.

FOREMAN: Worst play on the eight ball, Prince Harry spotted with his cue out in Nevada.

TYLER: God bless him. God bless him. I -- if I was a prince, I probably would be doing -- play strip pool, too. I mean the guy has been cooped up in a palace his whole life.

VALASTRO: He was in Vegas with his buddies and partying. Probably got a little crazy. You know, I feel bad for him. Well, you know, I mean, he should have been smarter to make sure nobody took any pictures.

FOREMAN: Speaking of over-exposures, worst spy cam, the one that caught Duchess Catherine topless on vacation.

DOMINICK: That's just wrong. I never looked at those, by the way. But I did look at the Harry nude photos. Now those were exciting.

MASON: It's one of these movie stars or whatever who are always like tweeting pictures of themselves topless, Kim Kardashian, Courtney Love, that kind of thing, it's like, yes, whatever, I can draw those from memory, but Kate is -- she's modest.

FOREMAN: Still, there was some best news for the newlyweds, the palace is expecting the pitter-patter of a little prince or princess soon.

On this side of the pond, it was a hard year to be in the privileged class. As politicians and voters declared, they've had enough of the rich getting richer.

MASON: It really became like group sports, didn't it? Like we're hunting them with pitch forks and we're brandishing torches. At'em! But there's a real mood afoot in the country with regard to the very rich right now.

FOREMAN: The powerful took hits, too. Hardest fall from a high place, David Petraeus. Whose biographer turned out to be writing not so much between the lines as between the sheets.

SESAY: Whoa. It was so salacious. It was something that you'd expect to find in a tabloid on the front page of a tabloid.

TYLER: Everybody liked him. Both sides of the aisle were big fans of David Petraeus, but it just goes to show you that power corrupts and ultimate power gets you laid.

STEIN: Paula Broadwell, she's a very capable, durable human being. She'll emerge from this with a huge book deal and maybe her own talk show. But Mrs. Petraeus I just feel terrible for.

FOREMAN: Other bad breaks, "Newsweek" magazine folds, at least the print edition, going away after almost 80 years. It's all digital now. "Hostess" beaten down by financial troubles and pink slips to 18,000 workers and walking papers to its signature products including Twinkies. The Nobel committee inexplicably designs this year's peace prize should go to the entire European Union. That's more than a half billion people.

MASON: Hasn't the Nobel Peace Prize has been like somewhat devalued in the last few years? So of course the E.U. got one. You're going to get one next. I got one, I got three. It's all right.

FOREMAN: And Lance Armstrong, supercyclist, cancer fighter, and all around American hero was sent rolling right out of the record books for doping. Say it ain't so, Lance.

STEIN: I couldn't believe that, I really couldn't. I mean it amazed me how often he won, and it just is heartbreaking. Say it ain't so.

FOREMAN: Actually, he has a lot of times. It's just that sports officials aren't buying it anymore.

TYLER: I think we have to look at cycling as a whole, as a sport. Because I think the thing to take away wasn't that Lance Armstrong cheated, but that everybody cheats.

And maybe, and I'm not saying this is the way to go, but maybe you just stop banning substances. Let everybody go nuts and these top giant guys with huge roided muscles on tiny little bikes riding around like circus bears.

FOREMAN: This really high roller, Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from space 24 miles up and fell faster than the speed of sound to break the world skydiving record held since 1960 by Joe Kittinger.

DOMINICK: I was very disappointed to hear that the skydiving record was broken by an Austrian. Come on, American daredevils. Fly high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one.

FOREMAN: And the highest high roller of all, we're tempted to give it to SpaceX, the private company that made headlines on Earth with its heavenly activities this year, but the award goes to NASA's Curiosity rover, which flew 354 million miles to make a spectacular landing on Mars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that was fantastic.

(cheers and applause)

TYLER: I haven't seen those photos, and I know that there was some kind of big discovery they were announcing, like it landed and it found, it's like - like a Funyun's bag or something.

VALASTRO: It's pretty amazing, you know, what we're able to do. I don't know exactly how far it's going to go, but like we did go land on the Moon, I think that in my lifetime, I will see somebody land on Mars. And you know what, I hope it's America.

FOREMAN: In a moment, the big stories that made the year madder.

Plus, all the best music, all the baddest TV shows, and Facebook faces the music. All the best all the worst continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOREMAN: To be sure, not everything was fun and games in 2012. And some things turned out to be quite risky indeed. Especially when it came to the big news story that rocked American shores and stunned the rest of the world.

SESAY: There was a lot of tragedy, so I couldn't call it, you know, a good year. I don't think that's how I view it, how I feel about it.

FOREMAN: Worst blind date, Superstorm Sandy. Ripping up the East Coast just days before the big election, it was no longer a hurricane when it hit New York and New Jersey, but it was horrible just the same. Taking lives, devastating thousands of homes and businesses.

VALASTRO: We were out of business for eight days. I mean, in 100 years, Carlos has never closed for more than a day.

I've got to be honest with you, we were lucky. A lot of families, a lot of people, a lot of businesses got destroyed.

FOREMAN: Stunning pictures like this one showing blackouts in Manhattan appeared as millions lost power, some for days, some for weeks.

DOMINICK: I never thought I would find out how long it takes to charge up my iPhone in a Honda Civic. You know, in the first couple of days, without power, it was fun, it's like oh, I'm camping inside. And the third day, I'm like, I'm going to kill my neighbor for his generator.

FOREMAN: Best bipartisan problem solving amid the wreckage. Republican Governor Chris Christie and Democratic President Barack Obama. Best guy too crazy to come in from the rain? Our own Ali Velshi.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this point, if you haven't left, don't go out.

DOMINICK: Great job, Ali Velshi. Next time, get a helmet and anchor.

FOREMAN: Speaking of anchors, worst drag on the economy, the relentlessly bad unemployment rate. Sure, it got a little better, but 12 million Americans are still out of work. Worst realization, fixing that may take much longer than even the pessimists fear.

TYLER: We can't always have three percent growth, maybe we've just got to be happy with 0.2 percent growth and we are going to like it. You are going to have to eat your vegetables, America. Eat your vegetables.

STEIN: And the chickens are coming home to roost. We're going to - and we'll have some bills to pay. There's going to have to be a tax increase on pretty much on everyone in the United States.

FOREMAN: Extreme violence struck several places this year. An attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin took six lives. The gunman was wounded by police, then killed himself. Another mass shooting in Colorado at a midnight premiere of "Batman" left 12 people dead, 58 wounded and a lot of questions about the alleged gunman. The incident that stunned the nation the most, however, happened in Newtown, Connecticut, when authorities say a gunman descended on a school and killed 20 first graders in addition to a half dozen adults, his mother, and himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People responded once they heard about the scene, about the situation. They responded to come and retrieve their children. And when they couldn't find their children, the fear set in, panic set in, pain set in. It was fear of the unknown. And when the notification finally had to be made, it was absolutely heartbreaking.

FOREMAN: The incident sparked an immediate and continuing debate over mental health services and gun control.

OBAMA: The discussion has reemerged as to what we might do not only to deter mass shootings in the future, but to reduce the epidemic of gun violence that plagues this country every single day. That conversation has to continue, but this time, the words need to lead to action.

FOREMAN: Down in Florida, a single shooting grabbed headlines. Teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in a nighttime encounter with George Zimmerman who was part of a neighborhood watch program. Debate has raged ever since over whether it was self defense or something else. Zimmerman faces trial on a second degree murder charge.

MASON: It touches a nerve, a hot nerve, and people get emotional about it very quickly on both sides.

FOREMAN: Overseas --

VALASTRO: You know, I think it was definitely a rough time for the world.

FOREMAN: Worst trouble balancing a budget, give it to the Greeks, although much of the European Union also had a rough time with the economy this year. Worst flight plan, North Korea's missiles. Worst power play, Iran's nuclear program. Worst continuing conflict, Syria. Worst strike against American diplomacy, the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed American ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

Best boots on the ground, U.S. troops in Afghanistan, almost a dozen years after they were sent, still waging the longest war in American history, and best and worst continuing turmoil, give it to Egypt, a big player in the Arab Spring, it is still stumbling toward better days.

TYLER: Democracy isn't easy. We have been cruising on awesome democratic autopilot for a long time now. And, you know, our idea of democracy is signing a Facebook petition, so we're seeing what real democracy, what fighting for real democracy is like.

FOREMAN: Worst navigation, the Costa Concordia sailed into the headlines and stayed there for weeks after as many as 32 people were killed when the cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy.

MASON: That ship listing around and just the horrible stories that came out of it, that was awful to watch.

FOREMAN: Best antidote to all the worst international news, the Summer Olympics in London.

TYLER: It was a wonderful time for Britain.

STEIN: The opening and closing ceremonies were totally bewildering. I mean, the work of mad people. But the sports themselves were fabulous.

FOREMAN: The U.S. won the most medals, and the guy doing the best imitation of Flipper won the most of all, the Baltimore bullet Michael Phelps, now has, count them, 22.

VALASTRO: I mean, you look at all the medals he has, and he looks like he's got the Mr. T. starting kit on. I am just very proud of him, and proud that he's American.

FOREMAN: The U.S. also had big wins in tennis, shooting, boxing, and the Fab Five got it on in gymnastics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love Gabby Douglas, the flying squirrel. I'm not sure if that's a great nickname or not, but she won the gold, she captured America's heart.

FOREMAN: Best and worst reaction to it all, Michaella Maroney, not impressed.

MASON: That was hilarious, she did not approve. What a cutie. She just brings the darkness, but you know, great athlete.

FOREMAN: As for the best of best in America's pro sports in baseball --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Giants won the World Series.

FOREMAN: In basketball, Miami brought the Heat to take the trophy. In hockey, Los Angeles took the Cup, then the whole league took a powder over a labor dispute.

MASON: People don't want to hear it. Shut it, get on the ice, lace them up.

FOREMAN: Pass is caught by Knicks. In football --

VALASTRO: I'm a Giants fan, baby. That's right. We won the Super Bowl this year, just saying.

FOREMAN: The contract dispute that had refs sitting out early this fall gave us the worst blown call. Get the police, Green Bay was robbed, and even though Alabama and Notre Dame are headed for a colossal college division, give the play of the year to Lincoln University's Marquee Tanner. Hello is right. (END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: Next, going Gangnam, Amazon makes a huge bet, and faking Amish. It's "All the Best, All the Worst," and it's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOREMAN: The world of pop culture came up aces this year as performers around the planet tried to stave off the economic blues in movies, television, music, and especially in one internals international set.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN (voice-over): Love it or hate it, the best song of the year, "Gangnam Style" from South Korean pop star, Psy was viewed close to a billion times on YouTube, and parodied over and over again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a huge fan, and I think that "Gangnam Style" is a song we have all been introduced to because of the ridiculous sports fan that adorable slightly rotund Psy who is the cutest thing ever. You want to pinch his cheeks. He's like a Pokemon character.

FOREMAN: Another big hit was the best call of the Canadian wild from Carly Jepsen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anybody really like "Call Me Maybe?"

SESAY: I'm a fan of that song and I have watched the video more times than a grown woman should, so yes.

FOREMAN: There were plenty of other strong contenders for musical honors, the Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift. Fun had a blast, Springsteen took care of his own, and Gaultier got noticed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it hit a million views on YouTube, I noticed something crazy was happening.

FOREMAN: But for our money, best new band, Alabama Shakes. The jumping jack still flashing award goes to Mick and the Boys, still Rolling Stones after 50 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, the Rolling Stones are actually older than the median age on the U.S. Supreme Court. How did that happen? What? And yet they still kind of rock, though, don't they?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How rare is it for a band of rock 'n' rollers to still be playing long after they're living on ensure and have had multiple hip replacements.

FOREMAN: In television, speaking of throwbacks, best end to a long run, ABC soap opera "One Life To Live" finally died after 43 years on the air. STEIN: I was a speechwriter for Mr. Nixon, long, long years ago. One of my great delights to take my mind off the horror of Watergate was to watch soap operas on TV. I'm sad to see them disappearing.

FOREMAN: That's OK. Nothing really dies on TV. Does it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All about walking dead, all about zombie fiction.

SESAY: I'm all about the true blood and the game of thrones. And those really are my shows.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have always believed that.

FOREMAN: Other fan favorites, "Homeland" "Magic City" "Dexter."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could I pass up an opportunity to look at our future house?

FOREMAN: "Parks and Recreation" and reality TV grinds on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This season is going to be amazing. It's going to be the best season ever.

FOREMAN: With dance moms, tattoo kings, punk and chunkers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to do some extreme couponing.

FOREMAN: And the best reality star of the year, Honey Boo Boo.

VALASTRO: Yes, Honey Boo Boo actually was hilarious, and to me, it was really funny. We enjoyed it. We watched it. You know, kind of like a guilty pleasure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honey Boo Boo, God bless her. As they say in the south, God bless her heart.

FOREMAN: Reality TV also gave us the absolute worst show on television. "Breaking Amish" or as some call it "Faking Amish," the improbable chronicle of supposedly Amish young folks living large in the big apple.

STEIN: It's not just making fun of them. It's trying to portray them as kind of like sex maniacs and secretly -- secretly sex obsessed underneath their straight laced exterior, and I don't see what purpose that makes. Young people are all sex obsessed no matter what. It seems like it was mean spirited.

MASON: How have they harmed us? What have they done to us? They live quietly. They deserve a better show than that one.

FOREMAN: Best survivor, the Kardashians, still hanging around, still getting attention, and with Kim taking up with Kanye West, still finding ways to dazzle the star gazers.

SESAY: I know. Kim K. and Kanye? What? I have a secret addiction to watching the Kardashians, so, you know, I'm letting all my business hang out in this end of year review show.

STEIN: I don't want to say anything bad about them because I often find myself sitting near them in restaurants in Beverly Hills, so I'm not going to say anything bad about them. Let's just say I don't understand them.

FOREMAN: Worst loss, Whitney Houston's untimely death at the age of 48.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was disappointed, but I wasn't necessarily surprised.

FOREMAN: Best comeback from the edge of calamity, Lindsay Lohan, starring as Elizabeth Taylor in "Liz And Dick." Worst fall right back to where she was --

SESAY: I know, Lindsay Lohan, the trouble just doesn't end for her. You know, she may win the prize for person who had one of the worst years certainly the prize among celebrities.

FOREMAN: At the movies, best box office goes to marvel's "The Avengers." It made more than $600 million so far, according to Box Office mojo. But not far behind, look out, here comes "The Dark Knight."

SESAY: I'm a huge Batman fan, so I was absolutely thrilled by that movie and how it ended and how it set up this next chapter as we saw the birth of Robin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They'll irritate your eyes at first.

FOREMAN: Fantasy adventures pretty much ruled the silver screen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm officially off "Twilight" and onto "Hunger Games," but that's like saying you're off tea and on to slightly weaker tea.

DOMINICK: I don't get to see a lot of movies because I have kids, but I saw one, and that was Lincoln. Give Daniel Day-Lewis the academy award right now.

FOREMAN: Best animation, call it a draw between "Brave" and "Wreck-It Ralph." Most tedious -- Anna Karenina even the book seemed shorter. Hotty of the year, Channing Tatum, although some might say he can't act.

MASON: Because he did that stripper movie, right? Didn't he? Yes, hello. Nice. Sure, yes, sure. Bring that. That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where hell have you been?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enjoying death.

FOREMAN: And the best run away revival that had everyone talking --

STEIN: I love, love, love the new James Bond movie "Skyfall."

SESAY: Did you just say Bond?

FOREMAN: Lucky 007 blew the doors of the theatres and Daniel Craig rolled out what many are now calling the best bondage of all time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's the best Bond ever. Sorry, Sean. He's the best Bond ever. I will fight somebody over it. I will slap fight an old lady.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: Don't go anywhere. The book that gave adult websites a run for their money is just "50 Shades Away."

And Mayans should try a swimsuit calendar. "All The Best, All The Worst" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOREMAN: The internet kept growing up this year, and in this tough economy, for many people, it became less about fiddling around and more about finding real solutions online and offline.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: Worst status update, after years of anticipation, Facebook went public, investors liked, but they did not love it.

VALASTRO: I think they were way overvalued.

STEIN: I never thought it was going to be worth a heck of a lot. I still don't see where all the revenue is going to come from that's going to make it a wildly profitable company.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you peel it open, what's in there? Fluff, a lot of people with kitten photos and topless pictures at strip clubs and pictures with their cousin sleeping with sharky written on his forehead.

FOREMAN: Twitter, on the other hand, just kept growing.

MASON: This is the first presidential campaign that played out on twitter. Even though not everyone is on Twitter and it's only 140 characters, I don't think we can underestimate it.

FOREMAN: Tumblr tumbled on, and Instagram became another big hub to share, well, everything about yourself.

VALASTRO: Instagram is crazy.

FOREMAN: But the best internet action, amazon.com with a share of 20 percent of everything that's sold online. Amazon has emerged as a retail supergiant. Not just books anymore. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can buy a refrigerator now. You can buy a couch. You can buy anything. That company is an amazing steam roller. I have never seen a company like that ever in any area of anything in my life.

FOREMAN: Best electronic gadgets, the tablet wars heated up. New smartphones dialed in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I own every device. I have a pad, a tablet, a mini tablet. It's just a matter of time before all my friends are robots.

FOREMAN: The best new number in tech land, 5, as in iPhone 5. Although Apple stock fell, initially it shot through the roof when it was so popular, it struggled to meet demands.

DOMINICK: Before the iPhone came out, there were economists predicting that it was going to stimulate the economy, and it did.

FOREMAN: Unfortunately, the best way to find an Apple store was relying on the iMap. Maybe that's why they were pushing on the wildest tech concepts, the self-driving car. Three states have already made them legal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The self-driving car. I don't know if it's a good idea or not.

FOREMAN: Will you buy one?

STEIN: No, but the next car I get is going to have that automatic parallel parking feature. That seems like an incredible feature.

FOREMAN: Off the road, e-readers found their way into many more hands this year.

MASON: I think this really was the year when e-books, the Kindle, all these other products really became so popular that it's not odd to see someone holding it anymore.

FOREMAN: All the better with which to bruise some of the year's best books. There were plenty of top sellers including "The Hunger Games" collection.

MASON: Jake Tapper's book about Afghanistan called "Outpost," what a fantastic book.

STEIN: The best book I read this year by far was a book called "Ruby Ridge."

SESAY: They made a great book called "Moon Walking With Einstein," which is all about memory.

FOREMAN: But the runaway red hot best seller of the book world was all about the gray, 50 erotic shades of it. VALASTRO: My wife did read "50 Shades of Grey," and she enjoyed it, and I have to say, things got more interesting in the bedroom just saying.

MASON: Not a fan, but the ladies who need that, I'm for it. You go to it. Get it on with that stuff.

FOREMAN: And finally, in the spirit of getting on with it, worst calendar. Give it up for the Mayans. An asteroid passed by earth late unexpectedly in the year, but their 5,000-year-old calendar predicted something much worse, what would have been the worst end to any year ever.

DOMINICK: Didn't the world end a few days ago. According to the Mayan calendar, the world was supposed to end a few days ago, so I don't even think this year end special is on right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: Well, the Mayans missed the mark, the world did not end, but our time is running out. So in just a moment, we will have our best for "All The Best, All The Worst," in the New Year.

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SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta with the top news stories. The town of Webster, New York, is in mourning after a gunman shot five firefighters responding to an early morning blaze. Two firefighters were murdered. Another two seriously injured. The killer then took his own life. Authorities don't have a motive for the deadly ambush.

Nobody wants to pay higher taxes next year, but is it too late to stop it? Washington have just seven days to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff, and right now, President Obama and House Speaker Boehner are still far apart on an agreement. They'll be back to work on Thursday to try to prevent this looming financial disaster.

He played the grouchy Oscar on the "Odd Couple," and tonight, Hollywood is remembering Jack Klugman, the versatile character actor died at his California home today. From "12 Angry Men," he had decades of memorable roles on film and TV. He was 90 years old.

Well, it could be a Christmas of extreme weather for much of the U.S. a major storm is developing and gaining strength in the south. And it could lead to tornado outbreak. There are also warnings of hail, high winds, and heavy rain across the region. Stay with CNN for the very latest on the threat of this dangerous weather.

And on a much more cheerful note, here comes Santa and his reindeer. NORAD is watching the jolly fellow, as is the tradition since 1955, tracking St. Nick as he delivers all of those presents to kids around the world. Right now, he's in Greenland. Keep watching, keep waiting.

I'm Isha Sesay in Atlanta with a look at the headlines this Christmas Eve. More of "All the best and All the Worst of 2012" still ahead.

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FOREMAN: Our time and luck are both running out, but let's go all in and ask our odds makers as we always do, to place their bets on whether the New Year will be coming up aces or going bust.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VALASTRO: I would bet that in 2013, America is going to do better than we did in 2012.

TYLER: If I was in a place to bet in the united states on 2013, explosive economic growth, we avoid the fiscal cliff, and I can't wait to see it all.

MASON: I would bet on movie prices going up, things getting worse before they get better.

DOMINICK: Hopefully Hurricane Sandy is the Cuyahoga River moment of 2012 and more Americans will finally realize that even though one storm can't be connected to climate change, the aggregate of extreme weather we had in 2012 should be a big story and a big concern for everybody in this country.

SESAY: It will be interesting to see in 2013 what the political situation is like, what the political consensus is like in Washington.

STEIN: I would bet on a lot indebtedness by the federal government, and I would also add a prayer that the Democrats and Republicans would work together to avoid that. We have just got to get together. Disaster is not red or blue. It's going to be American, and we don't want it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: And we don't want to cash in our chips, but that's the final hand. Our thanks to all of our guests for being here and to you for watching. On behalf of all the folks at "AC 360" and CNN, I'm Tom Foreman wishing you all of the best and none of the worst in 2013.