The Top Political Stories of 2012

The political stories that captured the nation's attention.

Top of the News - Elections are exhausting affairs for candidates and voters alike. The 2012 presidential campaign will dominate most lists of the year's most compelling political stories, including this one. Keep reading for those and other events that made the headlines. – Joyce Jones  (Photos from left: Mark Kegans/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

1 / 18

Top of the News - Elections are exhausting affairs for candidates and voters alike. The 2012 presidential campaign will dominate most lists of the year's most compelling political stories, including this one. Keep reading for those and other events that made the headlines. – Joyce Jones (Photos from left: Mark Kegans/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Obama Wins Re-election - Americans made history again when they re-elected President Obama to a second term, choosing him over Republican rival Mitt Romney. (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)

2 / 18

Obama Wins Re-election - Americans made history again when they re-elected President Obama to a second term, choosing him over Republican rival Mitt Romney. (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Mitt Romney Wins Republican Nomination - After a long primary battle, Mitt Romney secured the GOP nomination, ultimately beating eight other candidates.   (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

3 / 18

Mitt Romney Wins Republican Nomination - After a long primary battle, Mitt Romney secured the GOP nomination, ultimately beating eight other candidates.  (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Jesse Jackson Jr. Resigns - Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. could have had it all. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder earlier this year, he resigned weeks after winning re-election under the cloud of House Ethics Committee and FBI investigations.   (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

4 / 18

Jesse Jackson Jr. Resigns - Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. could have had it all. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder earlier this year, he resigned weeks after winning re-election under the cloud of House Ethics Committee and FBI investigations.  (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Herman Cain Suspends Presidential Campaign - Herman Cain used three simple words, "nine-nine-nine," to transform his Republican presidential bid from an impossible dream to a viable option. But, as happens with powerful men, allegations of sexual improprieties with women who were not his wife brought him down just as he was flying high. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

5 / 18

Herman Cain Suspends Presidential Campaign - Herman Cain used three simple words, "nine-nine-nine," to transform his Republican presidential bid from an impossible dream to a viable option. But, as happens with powerful men, allegations of sexual improprieties with women who were not his wife brought him down just as he was flying high. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

ADVERTISEMENT
Eric Holder Held in Contempt by Congress - Attorney General Eric Holder became the target of a House Oversight Committee investigation into the controversial Fast and Furious gun-walking program — and some say the scapegoat of a vendetta against Obama. When Holder refused to produce certain documents, the GOP-led House cited him for contempt, a first for a sitting cabinet member.  (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

6 / 18

Eric Holder Held in Contempt by Congress - Attorney General Eric Holder became the target of a House Oversight Committee investigation into the controversial Fast and Furious gun-walking program — and some say the scapegoat of a vendetta against Obama. When Holder refused to produce certain documents, the GOP-led House cited him for contempt, a first for a sitting cabinet member. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare - The U.S. Supreme Court gave Obama a significant win in June when it voted by 5 to 4 that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Perhaps more surprising than their decision was the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts was the tie-breaker.  (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

7 / 18

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare - The U.S. Supreme Court gave Obama a significant win in June when it voted by 5 to 4 that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Perhaps more surprising than their decision was the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts was the tie-breaker.  (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rod Blagojevich Goes to Prison - A Google search for "Rod Blagojevich" these days produces more stories about Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. than the disgraced former Illinois governor. But Blagojevich made his own headlines earlier this year when he left home in March to begin serving a 14-year sentence after being found guilty of corruption. (Photo: Frank Polich/Getty Images)

8 / 18

Rod Blagojevich Goes to Prison - A Google search for "Rod Blagojevich" these days produces more stories about Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. than the disgraced former Illinois governor. But Blagojevich made his own headlines earlier this year when he left home in March to begin serving a 14-year sentence after being found guilty of corruption. (Photo: Frank Polich/Getty Images)

Allen West Loses Re-Election Bid - Florida Rep. Allen West earned a reputation in Congress as a firebrand lawmaker unafraid to speak his mind or risk offending others. But despite his status as a tea party favorite and one of the House's most prolific fundraisers, he lost his first bid for re-election to political neophyte and Democrat Patrick Murphy. (Photo: REUTERS/Robert Sullivan)

9 / 18

Allen West Loses Re-Election Bid - Florida Rep. Allen West earned a reputation in Congress as a firebrand lawmaker unafraid to speak his mind or risk offending others. But despite his status as a tea party favorite and one of the House's most prolific fundraisers, he lost his first bid for re-election to political neophyte and Democrat Patrick Murphy. (Photo: REUTERS/Robert Sullivan)

Maxine Waters Cleared of Ethics Charges - Following an extended investigation, the House ethics panel cleared California Rep. Maxine Waters of charges that she'd improperly used her role on the Financial Services Committee to secure a federal bailout for a bank on whose board her husband sat and owed shares in. It also cleared the way for her to become the financial committee's top Democrat in January.  (Photo: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

10 / 18

Maxine Waters Cleared of Ethics Charges - Following an extended investigation, the House ethics panel cleared California Rep. Maxine Waters of charges that she'd improperly used her role on the Financial Services Committee to secure a federal bailout for a bank on whose board her husband sat and owed shares in. It also cleared the way for her to become the financial committee's top Democrat in January. (Photo: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

ADVERTISEMENT
Ethics Violations Derail Rep. Laura Richardson - California voters gave Rep. Laura Richardson the boot after she was reprimanded by the House for forcing her congressional staff to perform campaign and personal duties and fined $10,000 for having a bad attitude.  (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

11 / 18

Ethics Violations Derail Rep. Laura Richardson - California voters gave Rep. Laura Richardson the boot after she was reprimanded by the House for forcing her congressional staff to perform campaign and personal duties and fined $10,000 for having a bad attitude.  (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Voter Suppression Efforts Fail - Instead of keeping African-Americans, young adults and certain other demographics away from the polls, tougher new voting laws in 33 states cemented their determination to cast ballots. Exit polls showed that minority voters increased their participation from 26 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2012.   (Photo: Julie Denesha/Getty Images)

12 / 18

Republican Voter Suppression Efforts Fail - Instead of keeping African-Americans, young adults and certain other demographics away from the polls, tougher new voting laws in 33 states cemented their determination to cast ballots. Exit polls showed that minority voters increased their participation from 26 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2012.  (Photo: Julie Denesha/Getty Images)

Rep. Donald Payne Loses Battle With Colon Cancer - Rep. Donald Payne, New Jersey's first African-American congressman, died at age 77 in March, less than a month after disclosing that he'd been diagnosed with colon cancer. The former Congressional Black Caucus chairman was the CBC's go-to man on any issue related to Africa.  (Photo: Courtesy of The US House of Representatives)

13 / 18

Rep. Donald Payne Loses Battle With Colon Cancer - Rep. Donald Payne, New Jersey's first African-American congressman, died at age 77 in March, less than a month after disclosing that he'd been diagnosed with colon cancer. The former Congressional Black Caucus chairman was the CBC's go-to man on any issue related to Africa. (Photo: Courtesy of The US House of Representatives)

Mia Love Wins GOP Congressional Primary - Mia Love, a Republican, Mormon and mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, captured national attention when she won her congressional primary race. If her bid had succeeded, Love, who had the backing of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and House Speaker John Boehner, would have become the first Black Republican woman to serve in the House. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

14 / 18

Mia Love Wins GOP Congressional Primary - Mia Love, a Republican, Mormon and mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, captured national attention when she won her congressional primary race. If her bid had succeeded, Love, who had the backing of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and House Speaker John Boehner, would have become the first Black Republican woman to serve in the House. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Artur Davis Crosses the Ideological Aisle - Former Alabama congressman Artur Davis angered former Democratic colleagues and tickled Republicans pink when he switched his political allegiance from blue to red. Skeptics say he became a Republican to seek future office after losing his bid to become Alabama's first Black governor.  (Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

15 / 18

Artur Davis Crosses the Ideological Aisle - Former Alabama congressman Artur Davis angered former Democratic colleagues and tickled Republicans pink when he switched his political allegiance from blue to red. Skeptics say he became a Republican to seek future office after losing his bid to become Alabama's first Black governor. (Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

ADVERTISEMENT
Romney Disparages 47 Percent of Americans - In the final leg of the presidential campaign, a video was released of Romney at a May 2012 fundraising dinner condemning 47 percent of the American population as overly dependent on government services.   (Photo: Courtesy of Mother Jones)

16 / 18

Romney Disparages 47 Percent of Americans - In the final leg of the presidential campaign, a video was released of Romney at a May 2012 fundraising dinner condemning 47 percent of the American population as overly dependent on government services.  (Photo: Courtesy of Mother Jones)

Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage - Facing mounting pressure to make a commitment, Obama in May said "I do" support same-sex marriage. He is the first president to publicly back marriage equality. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

17 / 18

Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage - Facing mounting pressure to make a commitment, Obama in May said "I do" support same-sex marriage. He is the first president to publicly back marriage equality. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Bobby Rush Reprimanded for Hoodie on House Floor - Rep. Bobby Rush took a stand for slain teenager Trayvon Martin and by wearing a symbolic hoodie on the House floor. “Racial profiling has to stop. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum," he said. Rush was escorted away and reprimanded.  (Photo: C-Span)

18 / 18

Bobby Rush Reprimanded for Hoodie on House Floor - Rep. Bobby Rush took a stand for slain teenager Trayvon Martin and by wearing a symbolic hoodie on the House floor. “Racial profiling has to stop. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum," he said. Rush was escorted away and reprimanded. (Photo: C-Span)