The hard-fought presidential election dominated headlines for much of 2012 but there were some other political stories that also caught the nation’s attention. Here’s Politico’s Deputy White House Editor Edward Isaac-Dovere’s picks for the biggest political stories of the year.
1- Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law
The Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care law in late June, preserving President Obama’s landmark legislative achievement. In a 5 to 4 vote, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. joined the court’s four more liberal members in supporting the law. “The health care decision could have changed the presidential election in a significant way,” said Dovere on Jansing & Co., “Especially when you look at the fact that John Roberts was the deciding vote, the swing vote to uphold the health care law. That is a significant and important thing that will have a lasting effect on politics and policy for years to come.”
2- Wis. Gov. Scott Walker Survives Recall Election
Following passage of his bill to remove collective bargaining for most public employees in 2011, opponents of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker started a campaign to remove him from office in November of last year. Following months of legal challenges, the recall election was held on June 5th and Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by a margin of 172,000 votes. Dovere says the Wis. Governor’s win revealed a change in public attitudes towards unions and the rights unions have.
3- Mitt Romney’s 47% Comment
During a fundraiser in Florida, one supporter secretly video recorded Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney saying, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what – who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.” Romney then commented that it wasn’t his job to worry about those people. A string of missteps like this made the former Massachusetts Governor appear out of touch with ordinary Americans.
4- First Presidential Debate
Mitt Romney had Pres. Obama on the ropes after the first presidential debate in October. The businessman was aggressive and in control of much of the debate while the President looked tired and uninspired, often looking down at his notes. The President even jokingly acknowledged his lackluster performance at a celebrity event shortly after the face-off, saying he didn’t always “perform flawlessly night after night.”
5- Gun Control/ Newtown Tragedy
The nation was shocked and deeply saddened at the deaths of the 20 children and six educators killed in the December 14th shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragedy pushed the issue of gun control back into the national spotlight. “It was a horrible event but it has spurred a conversation about gun control and what we’re doing as a country with guns that wasn’t going on for years,” Dovere said on Jansing & Co.