NPR Double Take looks back over the year.
Dave Granlund and John Trever aren't citizens united over the SCOTUS decision.
In January, the Supreme Court upended the decades-old system of campaign finance, and ruled on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The decision allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. The ruling struck down part of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and split the court 5-4.
Randy Bish and David Fitzsimmons don't brake for large corporations.
In February, Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota, appeared before Congress where he apologized for the company's manufacturing defects. Toyota's faulty accelerator pedal had led to multiple deaths and a recall of millions of vehicles. The problems extended to one of Toyota's top sellers: the Prius hybrid.
R.J. Matson and John Darkow provide some second opinions on the new health care law.
In March after a long struggle with the Legislature, the president signed the Affordable Care Act into law. The bill was a sweeping overhaul of the country's health care system. Within minutes of the signing, 13 attorneys general had filed federal suits, claiming provisions of the law were unconstitutional.
Eric Allie and Pat Bagley make some slick observations about the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
In April, BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 people, and starting an environmental disaster. Millions of barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf, killing wildlife and damaging the livelihoods of Gulf residents. BP has set aside more than $40 billion to pay for the damage caused by the spill.
Mike Keefe and Nate Beeler offer a strong brew to the primary victors.
In May, the conservative activists known as members of the Tea Party were riding high with exciting primary wins. Ophthalmologist Rand Paul defeated his opponent Trey Grayson in the Kentucky Republican Senate primary, and Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) was deemed not conservative enough for his state convention, which ousted him.
John Cole and Randy Bish cover the general run over by a Rolling Stone.
In June, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, resigned his post following a controversial interview he gave to a Rolling Stone reporter. In the article he criticized many of the president's top advisers, including Vice President Joe Biden. President Obama announced that Gen. David Petraeus would replace McChrystal.
Dave Fitzsimmons and Joe Heller document Arizona's attempt to police its borders.
In July, federal Judge Susan Bolton of Arizona blocked a key part of Arizona's controversial immigration law, which would have taken effect the following day. SB1070 required law enforcement to check on the immigration status of people stopped by police for other reasons if there was reasonable suspicion that they were in the country illegally.
Dave Fitzsimmons and R.J. Matson ask, is it truly the beginning of the end?
In August, President Obama officially ended combat operations in Iraq and 100,000 troops returned home. More than 1 million U.S. soldiers had served in Iraq since the war began seven years earlier. 50,000 troops remain on the ground. The president has said that all troops will be withdrawn completely by December of 2011.
Steve Greenberg and Eric Allie re-define the parties' redefining efforts.
In September, election-mania heated up. Polls began to show that Republican candidates were leading their Democratic rivals. House Republican leaders crafted a "Pledge to America," which laid out their proposals to the American people should they take control of government in the November elections.
John Darkow and Pat Bagley foreclose on the mortgage messes.
In October, the housing industry experienced two messes. In the first, mortgage companies that had rushed through paperwork on thousands of foreclosures were forced to suspend many of these proceedings. A mortgage-bond mess also came to light when the New York Fed and other investors asked Bank of America to buy back thousands of toxic loans.
Mike Lester and Jen Sorensen offer their own returns on the midterms.
In November, the midterm elections were held. Republicans won control of the House. President Obama referred to his party's losses as a "shellacking," a term that caught on in popular culture. The president blamed the defeat on his own failure to communicate with the American people.
Eric Allie and Mike Keefe take a look at the lame duck session.
This December, the 111th Congress met for a lame duck session. They repealed the ban on gays in the military, ratified the New START nuclear treaty, extended health care for Sept. 11 first responders, and agreed on a tax deal, all projects that were supported mostly by Democrats. The Congress failed to pass the DREAM act however, which would have given some young illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
NPR Double Take remembers those who have left us this year.
George Steinbrenner and Ted Stevens
Kirk Walters and Dave Granlund say goodbye to the Yankees' George Steinbrenner and Alaskan Sen.Ted Stevens.
George M. Steinbrenner III, longtime owner of the New York Yankees, died of a heart attack at age 80. Steinbrenner is remembered as an intimidating and influential figure in the world of sports.
Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican senator, died in a plane crash at the age of 86. He had been Alaska's representative and a powerhouse senator for 40 years.
Paul the Octopus and Richard Holbrooke
Frederick Deligne and Jimmy Margulies say goodbye to Paul the Octopus and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
Paul the Octopus rose to fame during the 2010 World Cup, where he correctly predicted the outcomes of all of Germany's seven games, as well as Spain's victory in the final round. Paul was two-and-a-half.
Richard Holbrooke was the special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and had served in diplomatic positions for many years. He was the principal architect of the 1995 Bosnia peace accords. He was 69 years old.
Leslie Nielsen, Jerry Bock and Joseph Stein
Dave Granlund and Steve Greenberg mark the passing of Leslie Nielsen and "Fiddler" team Bock and Stein.
Leslie Nielsen began his career playing serious roles in The Poseidon Adventure and Forbidden Planet, but became more well known for his comedies, which included Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies.
Jerry Bock and Joseph Stein died within weeks of each other. Bock was 81, Stein was 98. The musical team was most famous for their collaboration on Fiddler on the Roof, a show about a Jewish family living in Russia.
George Blanda and John Wooden
Sports greats George Blanda and John Wooden are recalled by Randy Bish and Steve Greenberg.
Football Hall of Famer George Blanda, who was known as the "Grand Old Man," died at the age of 83. Blanda played for a record 26 seasons.
Legendary UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden passed away at the age of 99. The "Wizard of Westwood" was a teacher and a mentor. His teams won 10 national titles and held the record for the longest winning streak of 88 games.
J. D. Salinger and Elizabeth Edwards
Milt Prigee and Joe Heller pay tribute to J.D. Salinger and Elizabeth Edwards.
J.D. Salinger was the author of many books, but is best remembered for his classic novel The Catcher in the Rye. He was a famous recluse and stopped publishing his work after 1965. He was 91 years old.
Elizabeth Edwards, estranged wife of former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, succumbed to cancer at the age of 61. Edwards was known for being a crusader in the fight against cancer, and speaking openly with the public about her husband's infidelity and the death of her teenage son.