December 31st, 2008
08:15 AM ET
12 years ago

From Obama-mania to Palin power: '08's top political stories

Barack Obama's campaign inspired a huge grassroots movement and broke fundraising records.

Barack Obama's campaign inspired a huge grassroots movement and broke fundraising records.

(CNN) - From an historic presidential election to a wealth of political scandals, 2008 has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Here's a look back at some of the top political stories of the year.


From a junior senator from Illinois to the next president of the United States, Barack Obama broke down barriers and inspired an unprecedented grassroots movement in 2008.

He defeated one of the most powerful families in politics to get the Democratic nomination, and easily took down long-time Sen. John McCain in the general election.

Obama's campaign was marked by his eloquent speeches, passionate supporters and worldwide fanfare for the Democratic candidate.

The Democrat's ground team helped him smash fundraising records and sail into the White House, making him the first African American to win the presidency.

Palin power

Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, Joe Lieberman - they were considered the front-runners for the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket. But, in one of the biggest surprises of the year, John McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

The first-term governor went from obscurity to superstar fame overnight. She energized the Republican base and brought record crowds to McCain's campaign events.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Sarah Palin
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Roger

    All Americans should be proud of this monumental and historic election and wish nothing but the best for our new President. He has a monumental task ahead of him and we as a country need to "listen" rather than "react". Unless and until the Republican party purges itself of the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter, gets a new mindset and becomes more inclusive rather than devisive, they will be nothing but nomads for years to come and I really don't believe that Sarah Palin is the answer to their problems!!!

    December 31, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Keith in CA

    Sure Sarah Palin was popular, but so was pro wrestling.

    December 31, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. gary n.

    Sarah Palin is trailer trash...period.

    December 31, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. Jim

    Irritated in Fl: I hope they do nominate Palin in 2012 that will ensure 4 more years of Democratic leadership. You are an idiot.

    southern cousin: Understand your subject before you spout off Limbaugh and Hannity talking points. People like you should not be allowed to vote cause you don't understand anything unless Limbaugh or Hannity tell you. Take all of your Retardlican friends and go lick a window.

    Pat: Same to you as southerncousin. All you know about the real world I could cover with my spit. Take all of your Retardlican friends along with southerncousin and go lick a window.

    welcome to the obama show: You are just a complete idiot. Take a look at history. The majority of prosperous times in American history have come while Democrats were in power. Terrible economic times (i.e. Great Depression/severe recessions) come while Retardlicans are in power. So yes I can't wait to see what is coming anything will be better than the last eight years under monkey boy.

    And yes I am a disgusted Democrat. It is disgusting to me that you still have idiots that believe the Retardlican party has the average Americans best interest at heart. They are nothing more than liars and thieves that have almost single handedly destroyed the greatest country on this planet. Wake up America, a vote for Retardlicans is a vote for economic terrorism against the American people.

    December 31, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Empty suit, empty promises

    Palin power is a true statement as if there ever was one.

    You non-believers that hate her because she isn't Princess Caroline or the other chosen one, Obambi, get used to her being around, she struck a chord in many peoples minds.

    How can I make that bold a statement you may wonder, simple, the media went into instant attack mode.

    Remember sheep, McCain (no fan of) was WINNING THIS RACE until the money woes happened, the money woes that were blamed on Bush and McCain even though BOTH tried to regulate the industry over the last 6 years (look it up, there are RECORDS proving this) and Obambi DID NOTHING and the media carried his water for him.

    I call it like I see it, just like Bush, Obambi is a empty vessel who uh, uh, uh uh, will do nothing to better this country.

    December 31, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Once you vote Black

    Either this is the most corrupt person ever fixing to be President or is so gullable the Putin's, Chavez's and Kim's of the world are fixing to walk over him like a door mat.

    Thats rich. But either way we are sunk is that it Patty? Well there is still time for rats to leave ths ship. Try Coasta Rico. I hear it is nice down there. Less Muslims. Last, look at it this way. You told the nation that he was no good. He was born out of the country, he is muslim, what else, he follows Wright, the list goes on, so nobody cn blame you. But perhaps that is what we want in a President, ever think of that?

    December 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. Al, NY NY

    Sarah Palin being one heartbeat away from the presidency is the SCARIEST moment of the year. The flat-earth, dinosaurs & humans were together, creationist dolt was a true disaster and I hope she gets the nod in 2012. It will guarentee an Obama victory. Ghouliani and his "Me, me me" tour falling flat is another favorite

    December 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. billy-bayou

    The author of this article is as stupid as the majority of Americans who have been suckered.

    barak obana is NOT fth first "African American" President.

    barak obama is Americas first negro President.

    Negros born within the boarders of the United States are Amerisans,

    Not African American. Words have meaning, Learn to live with it.

    December 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. Timothy

    To "Welcome to the Obama Show": Revelation is a book of myths based on hallucinations and dreams – kind of like you are now after drinking the conservative kool aid.

    December 31, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    McCain should've chosen Pawlenty. He has the qualifications.

    Many people didn't know Pawlenty-but then again, many had no clue who Palin was either.

    Pawlenty was very loyal to McCain from day one. Has legitimate foreign policy experience, is a loving father and a Christian.

    The GOP base would have accepted him with open arms.

    But he didn't have a vagina so he was cancelled out at the last minute.

    (Did I mention he was very loyal to McCain??)

    I was sure McCain was going to choose Pawlenty--but when I woke up and saw on the news that McCain chose Palin instead, I jumped for joy.

    All I could say was, "McCain just threw his "experience" argument out the window. And "Clinton supporters won't be fooled".

    McCain blew it.

    I am sure Pawlenty was very disappointed.

    Thanks Mac for shooting yourself in the foot!

    Obama thanks you too!

    December 31, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Angie

    WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!! December 31st, 2008 10:42 am ET

    Hey welcome. What chapter in Revelations does it mention President elect Obama? Things have gotten so bad in the last 8 years I thought it was bush. So if we believe in God (and I do) and in what the bible says then I'll wait for God to expose the anti christ.
    you must be a true repub (loser) who wants to continue with the hate and fear mongering. that is the repubs way. that's how bush won 2 terms. lying,cheating and being a fear and war monger.

    December 31, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. ohio man

    Irritated in Fl December 31st, 2008 10:04 am ET

    LOVE Sarah Palin. She's the only good thing that came out of this election year. Hopefully in four years she will be the next leader of this country and get it back on track.

    and then you woke up .. whewwww what a nightmare right .. it's ok's ok .. you was just having a nightmare ... but that happens when you tend to play in your parents medicine Cabinet.. becareful next time dont want you saying crazy things again

    December 31, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. the idiot

    How come no mention of Charlie Rangel, the former and for some reason (ask Pelosi) current head of the Ways & Means committee who got caught cheating on his taxes. Nothing bad happened to him, though.

    December 31, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. Meh

    If I never hear about Palin again, it will be too soon.

    Obama Show> Really? Prove it! They've said the same thing about every charismatic leader (good or bad) since like...forever. Even your precious Ronald Reagan was said to be the anti-christ. So, really, I'd like some proof. Is it because he's black? It's ok, you can say it.

    December 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. Franky


    She didn't even do nothing! LOL!! All she did was smile all the time and she got everything she wanted...which by the way, my sister's have been doing that for who knows, LOL!! If I wanted to look at a beutiful smile I would just look at Amy Holmes or at another beautiful woman at CNN. They have better smiles than her...and by the way, can also speak accordingly as well, LOL!!

    December 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. ohio man

    WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!! December 31st, 2008 10:42 am ET



    hey can you let me know what the lotto gonna be this weekend since you can see the future ... or is it those leaves you found on the ground making you see things again

    December 31, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |


    Don't worry the "end of days" is not "scheduled" until 2012, so the neo-cons and rabid right will still have a chance to vote in the real anti-Christ!

    December 31, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. Meh

    Irritated in FL> Really? You think political rallies that resemble Klan rallies are a good thing? Palin screwed the RNC for the next millenium.

    December 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. Kevin B

    OBAMASHOW- I just want to be sure I understand you. Are you saying that the bible speaks OF PE Obama.

    Where ??

    Dude, you really need to get a are going to have an emotional breakdown.

    "Peace be still"

    December 31, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. Mike - Missouri

    Sarah has too much drama in her own personal life, to become president. The story of her covering up for her daughter 1st child Trigg is still a Mystery, Bristol was out of school for the first 5 to 6 months earlier this year. Than poof Sarah announces she was with child in March, than poof she had a child the following month. The The Alaska media even reported that she simply didn’t look pregnant at 7 months – she was even taken pictures during that timeframe. What a cover-up and what drama. Keep Sarah in AK. – I guess she will know the name of a few new's outlet if she reappears.

    December 31, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Janet-NY

    I never forget how Sarah Palin's speech for 30 min in RNC Convention
    has been still impacting her power to me and most American no matter who loved or hated her. I clicked again the speech CNN provided just before. I was still having a butterfly in my stomach while I was listening it again just before. I've been long time resident in NY.
    Caroline Kennedy who doesn't have experiences at all wants the Senete Seat of Hillary. The Kennedy who is lack of experiences, disillusional living style just reminds that excatly WHAT NY NEEDS NOW. It's the Sarah Palin who have proven record to cut tax, budget as well as to increase revenue through gas pipe line, to creat jobs for residents in AK. Also she spawned "drill baby drill" American needs now. I LOVE & RESPECT SARAH 2012.

    December 31, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. Tom

    All I have to say is that we dodge a "dimwit" when the McCain and beauty queen didn't win. McCain,out of desperation forced Palin on the world and he (McCain) in ture abandon his principles.

    December 31, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. former republican

    WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!! December 31st, 2008 10:42 am ET



    Once you vote Black December 31st, 2008 11:09 am ET

    Get ready for the Obama Show to use his middle name to get things done. It is better to have our own Husain standing in the tent looking out then to have him on the outside looking in. Or something like that. The bright side is we now have a Muslim fighting for us instead of against us.

    Its people like YOU is why I am no longer a registered Republican! President Elect Obama is NOT a Muslim! President Elect Obama is NOT mentioned in Revelations! If you actually read the Bible YOU would know the TRUTH!! Your lies, slander, etc., is what is driving people from the Republican party in droves!!!! We need to unite this party, and the best way to start is by telling the TRUTH!!!

    December 31, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Anonymous

    I love it when liberals come on here trying to compare Obama with John Kennedy. Different era, different time. By no means you can compare the two.

    December 31, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Bob

    I for one am very grateful for Sarah Palin..
    Thankfully, she gave Obama the presidency on a silver platter.

    December 31, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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