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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Highlights of 2007
Aired December 31, 2007 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty one million seconds, nearly 9,000 hours, 365 sun rises, sun sets and countless stories along the way. Welcome to all the best, all the worst, 360 2007.
I'm Tom Foreman and it was a year that started with so much hope, that our economy would keep booming, that our broken government might be fixed, wars might end, and peace might reign. What were we thinking? Now 2007 has gone the way of the Beta Max, cheep gas and possibly Britney's career. What a long, strange trip it's been.
FOREMAN (voice-over): It was a tough year to be in politics, and entertaining year for entertainers.
The business world spun out of control.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About 300 people needed medical attention.
FOREMAN: Sports turned very un-sporty.
MARION JONES, THOMPSON, FORMER TRACK STAR: I'm Marion Jones Thomson. I want you to know that I have been dishonest.
GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER SENATOR: For more than a decade, there's been widespread, illegal use of anabolic steroids.
FOREMAN: And the Internet grew extroverted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my money!
WILL FERRELL, COMEDIAN: Why do you need your money so fast?
FOREMAN: And we'll be picking all the best and worst with our guest, radio commentator and author Ben Ferguson.
BEN FERGUSON, RADIO COMMENTATOR: I think it was a good year for America.
FOREMAN: Writer and actor Harry Shearer.
HARRY SHEARER, WRITER AND ACTOR: It was a good year for me because I got a Grammy nomination.
FOREMAN: CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It is just a year where not much went well.
FOREMAN: "Politico" Amy Holmes.
AMY HOLMES, "THE POLITICO": I thought it was zany. I thought it was wacky.
FOREMAN: P.R. Guru Ken Sunshine.
KEN SUNSHINE, PR GURU: A mess.
FOREMAN: Actress Janine Garofalo.
JANINE GAROFALO, ACTRESS: I probably won't be in this at all.
FOREMAN: And our money man, Ali Velshi.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 2007, I think, was a confusing year for a lot of people.
FOREMAN: Yes, it was confusing, with so many people in high places getting into such inexplicable trouble. And topping the year of worst career moves --
MICHAEL VICK, NFL PLAYER: I take full responsibility for my actions.
FOREMAN: Atlanta NFL Quarterback Michael Vick.
TOOBIN: I have covered crime for a long time. But it's rare when I cover a crime that I didn't even know existed before. I never heard of dog fighting. I swear. I never knew that people engaged in this.
FOREMAN: The court found Vick's involvement with dog fighting so horrific, he's now serving almost two years behind bars.
HOLMES: It was bewildering to me. He's a handsome man. He's a multi-millionaire, getting to play the game of his life, and that he would throw it down the drain for this ugly, ugly business on his property. I was baffled.
SHEARER: Anybody who sacrificing their career for an inordinately low amount of money will be known as a Vick-head.
FOREMAN: Of course, Vick wasn't alone. Also making the worst career move list, radio host Don Imus.
DON IMUS, RADIO HOST: That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and --
FOREMAN: His ill considered comments about a women's college basketball team cost him his job and earned a public flogging too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To utter such despicable words are not right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't classify women as ho's.
SUNSHINE: He paid a pretty big price for saying something really stupid and going over the line. Powerful, smart people with a lot going for them do stupid things all the time.
IMUS: Dick Cheney is still a war criminal.
FOREMAN: And Imus appears to be getting the last laugh.
IMUS: Hillary Clinton is still Satan.
FOREMAN: With a new radio show.
IMUS: And I'm back on the radio.
FOREMAN: Big-name guests once again.
IMUS: We signed for five years and the reason we did is because that's how long it's going to take to get even with everybody.
FERGUSON: I'm telling you, the biggest fall and rise of anyone in politics this year is Don Imus. He proved that hey, go away, say you're sorry, come back and most people will accept you when you say stupid, stupid things.
FOREMAN: Of course, there were plenty of bad moves in celebrity- land and we'll get to those in a bit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give it up for MC Rove in the house.
FOREMAN: But in just a moment, all the president's men, all the Congress's women, all the best, all the worst of the politics of punching on 360.
SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport.
FOREMAN: Senator Larry "watch your feet" Craig roared into the lead for worst raw politics of the year.
CRAIG: Let me be clear, I am not gay. I never have been gay.
FOREMAN: Nailed for soliciting sex in an airport bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you do anything with your feet?
CRAIG: Positioned them, I don't know. I don't know at the time. I'm a fairly wide guy.
FOREMAN: Craig said he was guilty, then he said he wasn't. CRAIG: To resign from the Senate effective September 30.
FOREMAN: Said he was quitting, then didn't.
CRAIG: You have my statement. That's all I'm saying.
SHEARER: The Larry Craig story was the gift that keeps on giving.
CRAIG: I tend to spread my legs.
SHEARER: You have given me two words to describe this year, they would have been wide stance.
SUNSHINE: Didn't he retire and then he un-retired.
CRAIG: You have my statement.
SUNSHINE: Larry Craig would have been an old story if he hadn't continually given more life to it.
CRAIG: I'm sure this was an issue that is not yet over.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: Today, the American people voted for change and that is exactly what we intend to do.
FOREMAN: Democrats hit the New Year full of life, fresh off their fall capture of the Capital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pelosi.
FOREMAN: Best move? Welcoming the first female Speaker of the House. But neither Nancy Pelosi's gavel nor Harry Reid's rally in the Senate could stop their party's worst defeat, the failure to get America headed out of the Iraq war as promised.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq.
FOREMAN: To the contrary, President Bush and his Republican supporters increased the number of troops.
HOLMES: This was actually a year, I think, that made conservatives a lot more optimistic about the progress in Iraq.
FOREMAN: The Democrats, spurred by collapsing public support for the war, talked exits, impeachment, asked whether the surge had any hope of working.
GEN DAVID PETRAEUS, CMDR MULTI-NATL FORCE IRAQ: The military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met.
SHEARER: Which is not to say that the Democratic Congress did very much besides ask questions; but at least they did that.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The president's credibility --
FOREMAN: Again and again.
BUSH: It would amount to the largest tax increase in American history.
FOREMAN: Bitter words flew.
REID: He's impossible, and has been for seven years, to deal with.
FOREMAN: Almost nothing was settled.
BUSH: Therefore I will use the veto.
REID: For the last seven years, we have seen the same kind of misinformation coming from the White House.
BUSH: We have worked hard and in good faith with the Democrats to find a solution. But we are not going to put our national security at risk.
REID: All we're doing is dialing press releases that come from the White House.
BUSH: Pushing legislation that would undercut our troops just as we're beginning to make progress in Baghdad.
TOOBIN: The big news in politics was gridlock. Republicans couldn't get anything done. Neither could Democrats.
FOREMAN: Even on the hottest issues, Congress went cold.
FERGUSON: Not a darn thing was done on immigration this year. And I think when people see that, whether you're liberal or conservative, a lot of people just look at it as, do something for me; I'm paying all these taxes. Can't you at least fix one problem? Name one problem that was fixed this year. Because honestly, I can't.
FOREMAN: Throw in a steady stream of scandal and public approval of Congress plunged. The president's numbers were better, but still awful as he was hammered by troubles, investigations, embarrassments, defections.
SUNSHINE: For him to be at this percentage for this length of time for approval, that's pretty astounding, considering the guy did win two elections. It's been a terrible year for him.
FOREMAN: So how did the parties respond with the worst time to start the presidential campaign, way too early.?
With enough candidates for a baseball league and primaries pushed up so far, the nominees will probably be picked by Valentine's Day.
SUNSHINE: I think it's insane. What the Hell are we going to do for six months after we know, after Super Tuesday? FOREMAN: Having the worst nightmares? Clinton and Giuliani, front-runners most of the year, but now under serious pressure. The best luck? John Edwards. He invested in a company that found a sunken pirate treasure. Argh!
Worst sense of direction. An Obama campaign plane accidentally landed 100 miles away from where it was intended.
Best Internet connection? Ron Paul pulled in more money in a single day from his rabid online supporters than anyone ever has.
Best friends; turns out Fred Thomson is related to Elvis.
Worst real estate deal. The next occupant of the White House may have to spend a half billion dollars to convince voters that he or she belongs there, because they're just regular folks like us.
GAROFALO: I wouldn't want them to be like me. You know when people say, just plain folks, politicians, or he's a guy or a gal you could sit down and have a beer with. I hope not. I would hope that my president, whoever he or she may be, would be extraordinary.
FOREMAN: Well, we'll see about that. But the best thing about the campaign, a media sensation that elbowed into the spotlight like Tony Soprano at a pasta bar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your situation ain't all bad.
FOREMAN: The wise guy, the wizards and the best of the Internet when 360 2007 returns.
FRED THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I have been a conservative my whole life.
FOREMAN: For all the slick ads --
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to know what you're thinking.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let us never sacrifice our principles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama believes government should work for people.
FOREMAN: And sharp jabs --
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She has never run anything.
FOREMAN: The singular sensation in politics was an Internet interlude.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: This is a CN/Youtube debate.
FERGUSON: The best thing about the election cycle was Youtube being used so average people could ask questions.
FOREMAN: CNN's ground breaking Youtube debate produced record audiences, raw questions --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the response to Hurricane Katrina would have been different if the storm hit an affluent white city?
FOREMAN: Revealing of replies --
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them is ridiculous.
FOREMAN: And rave reviews. Best thing in media, the Internet weighing in on the Democratic process and everything else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The same question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question.
HOLMES: My favorite link this year would have to be the John Edwards "I Feel Pretty."
VELSHI: I think this phenomenon of Youtube has been out of control. We are seeing not just Youtube but other areas where we have taken the idea of downloading video and sharing video to a new level.
FOREMAN: That new level of interactivity sent people dancing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map.
FOREMAN: It let us relive our favorite worst moments.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people out there in our nation don't have that --
FOREMAN: We could re-watch our best moments too.
And it brought in the pros.
SHEARER: I think this was the year that the Internet finally replaced Rock 'n Roll, punk, rap as the instrument with which young people could totally repel and disgust their elders.
FOREMAN: In the traditional media, there were plenty of more or less traditional hits.
STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Colbert/Putin. FOREMAN: The best and worst moment on television, however, was the last time we heard that theme, watched those pictures, saw that face.
GAROFALO: I loved "The Sopranos."
FOREMAN: Ten million people joined Tony, Carmela, Chris, and Polly to say goodbye to the most successful cable TV series of all time. And the ending from creator David Chase was a stunner.
TOOBIN: You know, I too thought that my television broke at the end of "The Sopranos." But ultimately, I was very happy with the ending.
GAROFALO: I was very unhappy about the ending of "The Sopranos." I can't even think about looking at David Chase.
SUNSHINE: I wanted finality and I didn't quite get it because I don't quite get what the hell happened at the end.
SHEARER: We officially this year, I think, reached a point where there were more mobsters on television than in real life.
FOREMAN: The Box Office says the Spider was number one in Hollywood. But look what else flew by, Ogres and outsiders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's McLoven, the 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor.
FOREMAN: Robots and rogues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you'll just work us to death?
VELSHI: If you promise not to put this on TV, I'll tell you that my favorite movies are between "Bee Movie" and "Rattatouie."
GAROFALO: I loved "Rattatouie."
FERGUSON: I'm going to get in trouble for this one, but "Superbad" made me laugh this year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have a baby together.
SHEARER: "Knocked Up" I think had some good stuff in it.
FERGUSON: "Gone, Baby, Gone" is a terrific movie.
FOREMAN: Big titles in the book world pushed sales up about 10 percent. But on film and in print, everything labored in the shadow of the boy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry.
FOREMAN: The latest Harry Potter movie and the last book emerged from J.K. Rowling. Eight million copies vanished in 24 hours. That's almost six thousand sold every minute. TOOBIN: What I loved about the Harry Potter finale is that the whole country was convulsed over a book.
SUNSHINE: She should be knighted or whatever they do over there to glorify people. Do they knight women? No?
FOREMAN: But 2007 was not all fun and games. From the cities of Iraq to the towns of America and everywhere in between, unforgettable stories. When all the best, all the worst 360 2007 continues.
FOREMAN: It is hard to name a best news story in 2007, but the biggest --
TOOBIN: Whoever else you can say about America is we still got a war on. And as far as I'm concerned, the war is the number one story, even though it seems a lot of people are just sick of hearing about it.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. troop death toll now over 3,000.
FOREMAN: The year began with deaths awfully high, public support awfully low. But the military pushed a surge of troops and a new strategy, make deals with enemies, reduce violence, then work on democracy. And by year's end, large parts of Iraq were enjoying, if not peace, then better days.
FERGUSON: I think that was probably the biggest victory for the White House this year, was showing that the troop surge and the will power is still there among the troops to win in Iraq.
FOREMAN: Nearly 4,000 American troops have died and uncounted Iraqis. The debate goes on over whether the gains were worth it or will last.
Some say America's problems in Iraq have energized other U.S. adversaries, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran; all flexed their muscles. The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is adding more uncertainty to an already unstable region. And Afghanistan is also growing more dangerous.
HOLMES: We have Osama bin Laden issuing his tapes from his cave and we still haven't found him. I think it's still a very serious issue with the American people.
SUNSHINE: The biggest story, I think, is probably the downfall of the Bush legacy.
FERGUSON: I think it was overall not a bad year for George Bush. I think now after 911 any president that can make it basically through an entire year without a major terror attack on American soil, that is considered to them I think a good year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you there this morning when this shooting took place?
BUSH: Our nation is shocked and saddened by the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech today.
FOREMAN: Domestically, big stories rumble too.
COOPER: Jarrett Lee Lane (ph) was also buried this weekend.
FOREMAN: Virginia Tech became the site of the worst school shooting ever; 32 students and faculty members were killed.
COOPER: Blood samples from Cho's body are being tested for drugs.
FOREMAN: The gunman too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dozens of cars were on the bridge when the center section began to crumble.
FOREMAN: Thirteen commuters died in a Minneapolis bridge collapse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just completely gave way, the whole bridge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Far worse than Walter Reed's tarnished reputation.
FOREMAN: Medical care for veterans was found sorely lacking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mice and the mold is what is going to make the headlines. But what you don't see is the bureaucratic backlog they're being faced with and that's unfair to these guys.
FOREMAN: Mine officials say they know exactly where the six miners are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could take as many as 48 hours.
FOREMAN: A coal mine in Utah caved in and then caved in again during an unsuccessful search for survivors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday we went from a tragedy to a catastrophe.
FOREMAN: Three men killed while trying to save the six trapped miners.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
FOREMAN: An infamous polygamist went to jail. His followers still loyal. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to know what you think of the Warren Jeffs verdict.
FOREMAN: And on this day, many took evasive measures to avoid talking about what is undoubtedly very upsetting to true believers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the spot where the trouble began. Three white students hung nooses from the branches and were suspended.
FOREMAN: Nooses went up in Louisiana, protests followed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a brutal and relentless fire.
FOREMAN: Chinese-made toys laced with lead stirred fear among parents, calls for boycotts and an outcry in Congress for better control of imports. We worried about the safety of our food and our pets' food as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not just the dogs and cats anymore. Creatures raised for human food are under scrutiny.
FOREMAN: Tainted pet food caused heart aches for dog and cat lovers across the country and flooded veterinary offices with calls for information and help.
MITCHELL: And they distorted the fairness of competition.
FOREMAN: The sports world reeled under the weight of troubles in 2007.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you excited to get back into training camp?
FOREMAN: There was pure tragedy. Professional football player Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor was shot and killed during a robbery of his home. Barry Bonds then. Barry Bonds now.
There was scandal in sports too. Barry Bonds became the home run king, but persistent accusation of steroid use clouded the moment. He was indicted on charges of lying to a Grand Jury about the drugs and pleaded not guilty.
BARRY BONDS, MLB PLAYER: It's just you guys talking. That's all it is. It's just media conversation.
FOREMAN: He's always denied using.
JONES: I have been dishonest.
FOREMAN: Olympian Marion Jones tearfully admitted she did use performance-enhancing drugs. Her medals are gone now and probably her reputation as a great role model for young athletes too.
FLOYD LANDIS, CYCLIST: I have nothing to hide. FOREMAN: And the Tour de France continued to wobble as more of its heroes fell under accusations of cheating through drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Tour de France no longer considers Landis its champion.
FOREMAN: American cyclist Floyd Landis was stripped this year of the Tour de France title he won in 2006 after a panel said he cheated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Federal authorities are looking into whether Donahie (ph) made calls on the court to affect the point spread.
FOREMAN: On it goes. An NBA referee pleaded guilty to betting on a game he was officiating, and making calls designed to affect the final score.
TOOBIN: Look at the sports page, what don't you see? You don't see a single story about sports. It was all about steroids and cheating and sexual harassment by the Knicks. It was unbelievably ugly in the sports world this year.
FOREMAN: No wonder fans argued over how they should even view the accomplishments of professional shorts stars these days.
VELSHI: Even sports stars have realized that there's a limit to what they're permitted to do by virtue of their fame. They've got to be good in the game, but they've got to be good outside of the game, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Organizers say the heat was simply too much.
FOREMAN: Even amateur athletes ran into problems this year. Stifling temperatures caused runners in the Chicago Marathon to fall by the wayside in such numbers the race had to be stopped.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Participants were advised to walk or take an air-conditioned bus back.
FERGUSON: It's too hot to run a marathon. I'm thinking, no, it's just too far to run a marathon. I don't know why anybody would want to run it.
FOREMAN: It was a year of headline grabbing in neighborhoods coast to coast.
FERGUSON: I think that probably the biggest story of the year is the mortgage collapse.
VELSHI: If you're over 30, the word to define 2007 was subprime.
FOREMAN: The mortgage crisis, persistent worries about the cost of health care and education made the economy the story by year's end.
GAROFALO: The Gulf between the haves and the have nots is widening. SUNSHINE: To me the health insurance problem is the most severe. People that work for a living, that want to do the right thing and live the American dream are getting screwed.
FOREMAN: The markets offered sketchy consolation for casual investors or hardly anybody else.
VELSHI: 2007 was not a great year for people who like to invest on the side and go to sleep at night. We have had periods this year where the market has been way up, other periods where it's been way down.
FOREMAN: And of course, gasoline prices fueled every economic worry.
VELSHI: The long-term trend in oil and in gasoline is going to go up. The fact is Americans are probably going to have to start to change their habits with respect to how we consume fuel.
FOREMAN: For many people, the best business trend was the growth of green, products designed to have a limited or even positive impact on the environment. Of course, not everyone buys the marketing yet.
FERGUSON: Give me a good-looking car that looks normal and I'll buy it. Give it to me at a fair price and I'll buy it, and I'll save the environment. But don't make me feel like I'm a horrible person because I want a car with four doors and that a date will actually get into.
FOREMAN: All of our economic worries and eco-sensibilities, however, did not keep us from opening up our wallets for the hot products of the year. Lines around the block said some people had to have an iPhone.
FERGUSON: It was one of the hypes of the year. It sure hyped itself very well.
FOREMAN: Also hot as a pistol, GPS devices for cars, a nifty gadget that may end that age old debate should we stop and ask for directions?
VELSHI: The GPS is going to cause more couples to stay together than any other invention in history.
FOREMAN: Most interesting international leader, France's Nicolas Sarkozy had a chance, a run in with photographers while on vacation in America, a heated walkout during an interview when the split with his wife came up.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raised eyebrows not just for his persistent threats against the west, but also for a startling claim he made during a visit to New York.
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We don't have homosexuals like in your country. FOREMAN: But the crown needs to go to Russia's Vladimir Putin, who rolled up his sleeves and everything else to push the great bear back into the world spotlight. grabbing "Time Magazine's" the Person of the Year title in the process.
SHEARER: I think he read the Russian populous right. He very deliberately tried to embody the image of a resurgent, stronger, fitter, buffer Russia and they bought it.
FOREMAN: Americans, on the other hand, bought an awful lot of this, Paris and Rosie and Britney, oh, my.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All you people care about is readers and making money off of her!
FOREMAN: All their fans, all the best, all the worst, 360 2007, hang in there.
COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper in Times Square. At the top of the hour, 11:00 p.m Eastern, we're going to be counting down to the end of 2007. This year we do have an extravaganza. Comedian Kathy Griffin will join us for the broadcast. A million people expected here tonight. It is warm. It is a great night. Millions more watching us around the world live.
You'll also want to tune in for our i-party. We're going to be showing the best pictures that you send in from your celebrations tonight. You still have time to send them in. Go to CNN.com/iParty to find out how.
Also joining us live, performances from Earth, Wind and Fire, country star Miranda Lambert and southern rockers Wide Spread Panic, with their hit "Up All Night." We'll be up with you throughout the night and into the New Year. There is no other place to be from 11:00 p.m. Eastern, right through to 2008, all the way to 12:30. Stay tuned, join us, just about 20 minutes away.
We'll see you then.
HOLMES: 2007 was the year that I really dove deep into celebrity smut. That is my guilty pleasure. If you link it, I will click.
FOREMAN: Pop culture burned brightly, online, on stage, on screen and on the street, super-fuelled by celebrity scandals. And nothing blazed quite like the worst comeback of all, Britney Spears at the Video Music Awards.
VELSHI: We love comebacks and we love train wrecks and when the two come together in one, it's the best TV you can have.
HOLMES: I thought it was going to be a bad, bad decision, but, luckily for us, extremely entertaining.
FOREMAN: Throw in that scissor hands hair cut and it took the best fan of the year to jump on to the Internet to save her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave Britney alone!
TOOBIN: There was a time when Britney was actually known better as a singer than as a professional and personal train wreck.
VELSHI: The thing about Britney Spears is she's been part of pop culture for so long, you would think she's be about 45 years old. She's still in her mid 20s.
SUNSHINE: In the pop world, I think the biggest lie is that Britney Spears' career is over. Britney is 26 years old. She clearly -- there's talent somewhere beneath the last couple of years of diversion. Don't count anybody out in this culture.
FOREMAN: In other words, we'll always have Paris, and Lindsay, and now Britney's little sister as well, it appears, young folks behaving badly in celebrity circles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Britney's kid sister and a Nickelodeon star is expecting a baby.
FOREMAN: But the degree to which they are showing up in mainstream media, now that's a worse trend.
SHEARER: We have now officially entered the end of the information age and the beginning of the trash containment age.
FOREMAN: The tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith, for example, set off a feeding frenzy about every detail of her life, her fortune, who would raise her child.
SHEARER: A survey that came out in December told us that 25 percent of the American people still think New Orleans is flooded. But we all know who Larry Birkhead is. Makes you proud.
HOLMES: We have United States senators know exactly who Paris Hilton is. That used to be just the providence of 13-year-old girls and their celebrity magazines. But now we're all drenched in it.
FOREMAN: One of the ways we're drenching ourselves in all of this is through explosive Internet socializing, the use of sites for meeting, greeting and comparing everything.
VELSHI: I think Facebook has been a great phenomenon, MySpace, Youtube; these are things that have become so main stream for Americans. Social networking is influential in politics. It's influential in business. It's influential in culture. You can get a sense through the world of blogging and social networking about where any trend is going before it's even started.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is "Project Runway."
FOREMAN: The best of it; sometimes we gathered around pop touchstones like a real community.
TOOBIN: Talk about just a pure guilty pleasure, I am down with "Project Runway." I love "Project Runway." Tim Gunn is a god. I think that guy is so good.
FOREMAN: The worst of it, sometimes we gathered like kids at a schoolyard fight. On "The View," Rosie hits Elizabeth, Elizabeth hits back; we watch it online over and over again.
ROSIE O'DONNELL, "THE VIEW": Do you believe I think our troops are terrorists?
FOREMAN: Rosie hits Donald.
O'DONNELL: He's the moral authority? Left the first wife, had an affair, left the second wife, had an affair.
FOREMAN: Donald hits back.
DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": Taking money out of her big fat ass would be probably something that would be very easy.
FOREMAN: Run Rosie, run.
VELSHI: Rosie is great TV. She really, really is. I thought that that spat with the Donald, unfortunately, it brought out ugliness all around.
SUNSHINE: Rosie gives as good as she gets,and obviously Donald loves the fight.
FOREMAN: Speaking of ugly moments that rose to the top of pop culture, worst interview question. A New York City councilman is tricked by a Norwegian comedy show into what he thinks is a serious discussion about American politics.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't it against the constitution that Barack Obama runs for president, considering he is not an American citizen?
FOREMAN: Which leads to the best stupid response.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Chris, what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do you have me in with these people? Throw these people out of my office.
Barack Obama, get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of my office. What is this? Do I have time to waste on this bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?
FOREMAN: And the next one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of my office before the beat the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of you right now.
FOREMAN: Another ugly moment, the ruckus at a John Kerry political speech, which ended with a man being tasered while uttering a phrase that immediately entered into the pop culture lexicon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't tase me, bro.
FOREMAN: Worst wrong number, actor Alec Baldwin calls home.
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: You are a rude, thoughtless little pig.
FOREMAN: The other worst wrong number, Dog the Bounty Hunter makes racial slurs on the phone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not because she's black. It's because we use the word (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sometimes here.
FOREMAN: And he makes a scene on TV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry for using that word. Please don't think of any less of me. And I am going to fix it.
FOREMAN: Worst scene on TV, Ellen Degeneres gets upset about a dog, I mean really upset.
ELLEN DEGENERES, "ELLEN": I feel totally responsible for it and I'm so sorry.
FOREMAN: Best embrace, America loves Rachel Ray, and with a new talk show she loves America right back.
Worst kiss, Richard Gere plants one on a Boliwood star and protesters fill the streets.
Worst dance maneuvers, Marie Osmund takes the big dive on "Dancing With the Stars" and Beyonce takes the fast way down stairs.
Nicest new hardware, Al Gore gets a Nobel Prize for his work on global warming.
FERGUSON: I think it's proof that if you hang out in Hollywood long enough, you can lose a presidential election, but they'll give you a nice consolation prize.
FOREMAN: Best rock on, split it between the Police and Led Zeppelin. Worst walk-off, the doctor who tended to Kanye West's mom.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: But you came here to speak out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is correct.
FOREMAN: Worst celebrity hype, Beckham hits L.A. with Posh Spice, big contract, big headlines, still big yawns for pro soccer in America.
FERGUSON: It's never going to happen.
FOREMAN: This is the state of Nevada versus Orenthal James Simpson. FOREMAN: And best courtroom drama, well, it's a repeat and a worst too, the return of O.J. Simpson. Sure he wanted his jerseys back, but do we really have to watch this show again?
SHEARER: Who knew that the world of sports collectible dealers was so shady, you know? I thought of them as fine upstanding individuals who if luck had gone a different way would be running banks. And I'm probably right, given what's happened to the banking industry these days.
TOOBIN: How can you not love a case where the alleged victims seem just as sleazy as the alleged perpetrator.
FERGUSON: I hope he goes to jail for a very, very long, long time.
FOREMAN: For now, though, time is running short and we'll have all the best wishes for next year when all the best and worst, 360 2007 comes back.
FOREMAN: The end of any year, for all that year's ups and downs, issues and idiocy, is really just a turn of a calendar page. Nothing changes remarkably for it. We make resolutions and break them. We learn lessons and often forget them. Everything changes and it all stays the same.
But it is a good time to take stock of who and what we are as a nation. What brought out the best and the worst in us? And to make wishes for what the next year might bring.
FOREMAN: We know in politics what is headed our way; the president cannot run for re-election, the vice president won't run, so, by all accounts, this will be a rare event for presidential voters, a contest with no incumbent. Despite all the big name muscle, from Oprah.
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Fired up!
HUCKABEE: Chuck Norris.
FOREMAN: To Chuck Norris, the best wish for raw politics, a bit of a restart for the country, no matter who wins.
TOOBIN: There's a lot of stalemate in our country, and I think we're sort of waiting for 2008, where whatever else happens, it won't be a stalemate.
HOLMES: I want for the American people that everyone is healthy, happy, going into the new year optimistic and looking forward to the Democratic process come November 2008.
FOREMAN: In the media mania that pervades our lives, it's impossible to know where the next sensation is coming from, so the best wish may be just another little taste of this year's best, "The Sopranos."
SUNSHINE: They should have a sequel or a film. "Sex in The City" is having a movie. They should at least have a movie or something.
FOREMAN: With half the population thinking we're already in a recession, some think we should resolve to manage our money a little better, save a little more, prepare for that rainy day. Best laid plans --
VELSHI: If you're in the market to buy a house and your credit is OK, this might be a great year of opportunity for you coming up.
I also think in 2008, Americans are going to learn about their own country, because the dollar is making it too expensive for Americans to learn about other countries, and it's certainly going to change your travel plans. It certainly changed mine. So if anybody has an idea about where I should go for 2008, I'm open to suggestions.
FOREMAN: Or maybe with all the turmoil over the safety of our food and various products, a wish for a little more reliability and peace of mind might be in order. We could do worse.
GAROFALO: I want in 2008 there to be a product invented that truly makes my pores invisible. I mean, for real.
FOREMAN: Pop culture is certain to keep making headlines and spinning scandal, just as it always has. Worst case, we'll keep watching and wondering and laughing over what will happen next in celebrity-land. But the best wish for some, give it a break in 2008.
SHEARER: Get serious, knock off this Britney, Lindsay stuff. We're supposedly the leader of the world. Somebody from Afghanistan or Iraq asked you, what have you been thinking about lately, and you say, well, I'm thinking that maybe Lindsay shouldn't do the 30 days in rehab. That's nothing to be proud of. Let's get serious.
FOREMAN: Best wishes for the world of sports, less sordid stories of cheating and more plays like that mind-blowing endless series of laterals that capped a college game for Trinity University with an impossible win. It was crazy. It was chaotic. But it was what sports was supposed to be, people doing the best they can against the odds, within the rules and winning.
And, of course, there can only be one best wish for all our fellow Americans serving in the military now, in distant lands facing uncertain futures, only one best wish for their families, waiting at home for every scrap of news, only one best wish for Iraq, for Afghanistan, for the Middle East and for all the places in the world where war blows like the wind, a wish for more peace in the coming year.
FERGUSON: We need to remember to say thank you and we love you to all the troops, no matter how we feel about the war. They're are away from their families. They're fighting for this country. And they're allowing us the ability to do what we just did, which was have fun and talk about whatever we want to talk about in this country.
FOREMAN: And the best wish for the big news in our coming near -- no one can predict it -- but let's hope for less -- less conflict and more cooperation, less hurting and more hoping.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will prevail. We are Virginia Tech.
FOREMAN: Less turmoil, more triumph, less sadness, and more celebration for people 360 degrees around the world.
FOREMAN: And with that, we wish the very best and none of the worst of the new year to you and yours, from all of us here at AC 360.
COOPER: And welcome. You are looking at Times Square in New York City. About a million people with us here, they say. The weather is mild, the skies still pretty clear, a perfect night to count down the old year and ring in the new. Let me tell you, Time Square is packed right now.
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