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Politics 2010: A Twist on the Year-End List

Republicans and Democrats
CBS/AP
CBS/AP

2010 is almost over. Whew!

As many in the world of political punditry look back on the year's winners and losers, they are looking at the year as a whole. Here's a take at the best/worst list for politics in 2010 by half . . . not necessarily 6 months split evenly, but just whose good first half turned into a bad second half, and vice versa.

Best First Half

Nancy Pelosi: The first woman Speaker of the House rallied her troops and got through major reform legislation for health care and financial services — neither a small feat, and she accomplished both.

Barack Obama: Pelosi's marshaling of the President's signature issues got him victories that many thought were not possible.

Sharron Angle: The Senate candidate came out of a crowded field of Nevada Republicans and instantly ran neck-and-neck with the Majority Leader in a tough battle for Harry Reid's re-election.

Joe Miller: With Tea Party backing and Sarah Palin's blessings, the Alaska lawyer knocked off a sitting Senator in the GOP primary.

Scott Brown: A Republican who actually won a Senate seat in Massachusetts, with Tea Party backing, he quickly became a D.C. darling.

Special Report: 2010 Year in Review

Worst First Half

John Boehner: Despite unified opposition behind him, the House GOP leader couldn't stop the Democrats' steamroll of legislative accomplishments.

Lisa Murkowski: The Alaska Senator's re-election bid was caught flat-footed by the upstart Miller, and her own party left her in the dust by embracing the new candidate.

Harry Reid: Six different Republicans were lining up to take him down, and the Majority Leader was all but declared politically dead.

Arlen Specter: The longtime Republican-turned-Democrat lost his re-election bid as Pennsylvania Dems turned away from him in the primary.

Best Second Half

John Boehner: Turning the "Party of No" to the "Party of Yes" with a record Republican victory in the mid-terms.

Lisa Murkowski: However you spell it, her write-in candidacy was an unprecedented success in the modern political era.

Harry Reid: The Majority Leader held on and beat the polls that had him down in his re-election bid.

Barack Obama: Not necessarily back from the dead, but he turned around a bad November with star-studded achievements in the lame duck Congress.

Worst Second Half

Nancy Pelosi: She became the rallying cry of the Tea Party against the liberal left in Congress, and couldn't turn the Democrats' legislative success into victory for the party in a bad economy.

Joe Miller: The upstart Tea Party darling was beat by the incumbent in a last-ditch write-in campaign. He also got into a fight with Palin - not a good thing.

Mitch McConnell: GOP pickups in the mid-terms closed the gap with SenateDemocrats, but Tea Party candidate losses also cost him Majority Leader - and Obama's lame duck wins came at his expense.

Federal Workers: The new demons as Tea Partiers takes aim at government spending; Obama freezing their pay doesn't help.

This time next year, we'll all be looking at the GOP primary and the upcoming Iowa caucus. My, how time flies!

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.