Monday, December 27, 2010
7 News Investigations: 7's Top 7: National
Big debates in Congress led to big upsets in congressional elections. Natural disasters and man-made messes: all made national headlines this year. 7's Craig Stevens takes a look.
WSVN -- President Barack Obama: "At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem."
The year 2010 began as 2009 ended, with President Obama trying to find consensus in a Congress deadlocked over healthcare reform.
Man: "This is the people's house."
Heated protests and death threats marked the closing days of the debate, but in the end...
President Barack Obama: "Today, after over a year of debate, today, after all the votes have been tallied, health insurance reform becomes law in the United States of America."
But the soon-to-be Republican-controlled House is vowing to repeal it.
Congress did repeal the "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" policy that had banned openly gay men and women from serving in the military. The Pentagon warned that the transition to the new policy could take some time.
It didn't take much time for Florida's newly-elected republican senator to take the national spotlight.
Sarah Palin: "Marco Rubio is a wonderful spokesperson for what it is that republicans stand for."
Rubio easily defeated Governor Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek for the Senate seat. He will be joined by three other new faces from South Florida: Republican Congressman Allen West and David Rivera and Democrat Frederica Wilson, who was elected to the House.
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens retired. Former Harvard Law School President Elena Kagan was confirmed.
Arizona's bold new immigration law sparked massive protests. People there were angry after the state passed a law that allows police to check immigration status of people on the street.
Man: "Everyone off the steps. Let's go!"
In May, America once again faced a terrorist plot. A car loaded with explosives came within minutes of exploding in Times Square.
Faisal Shahzad: "I have been trying to join my brothers in jihad since 9/11 happened."
Faisal Shahzad was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The wounds of 9/11 were opened again after plans were announced to build a mosque near Ground Zero. One Florida pastor took his opposition to the extreme by planning to burn the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11.
Pastor Terry Jones: "Our burning of the Koran is to call attention that something is wrong. Something is wrong."
The threat from Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville caused outrage around the world. At the last minute, he called off the burning.
Flames were the problem onboard Carnival Cruise Line's Splendor.
Passenger: "The worst part, I guess, was trying to go eat. The lines were about two hours long."
An engine room fire left the ship adrift at sea off the coast of California without power and basic services. The military was forced to drop in supplies as the ship was towed back to port.
Auto giant Toyota was forced to recall more than eight million cars for acceleration problems.
Woman: "The car speeds to over 100 miles an hour down the interstate."
The company was fined $16 million.
Nothing but rubble was left in a California neighborhood after a huge gas pipeline explosion.
Man: "We have extreme heat. We have possibly several blocks on fire at this time."
Seven people were killed and dozens of homes were destroyed.
More than 20 people were killed in Nashville, Tennessee after the city is devastated by massive flooding. The stars of country music stepped up to raise money for the city and its people.
And finally, he was the subject of a national debate. A JetBlue flight attendant quit his job with a profanity-laced tirade and a trip down the inflatable emergency chute, beer in hand.
Steven Slater: "I was just thinking, 'I'm free. I'm finally free.'"
Craig Stevens: "He may be free, but he's trying to cash in on his newfound fame. That flight attendant, Steven Slater, is now a 'professional rapper.'"