It’s that time of year again, the time of year when Americans are busy with last minute holiday shopping, decking the halls, putting up Christmas lights, and of course, watching Barbara Walters ask national figures uncomfortable, and at times inappropriate, questions during her“Most Fascinating People” special on ABC.
A December tradition, the 2o12 list featured the usual up and coming singing sensations (this year boy band One Direction was awarded the honor) as well as powerful political figures, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former CIA Director David Petraeus (OK, a once powerful political figure) who Walters selected as the most fascinating person of the year for his shocking fall from power last month.
Ever since Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, Chris Christie has been a busy man. From touring the absolute destruction of the beloved Jersey Shore, to lobbying members of Congress to allocate money for disaster relief efforts so that the long process of healing and recovery can begin, Christie has been in the headlines nearly every day since the storm. But instead of talking with Christie about his hard work as Governor of the state of New Jersey, Walters chose to focus the interview instead on Christie’s so-called political flaws.
First, she picked on Christie for openly working with President Obama after the storm, which garnered Christie very public criticism from fellow Republicans during the final few days of the presidential campaign. This led Walters to go out on a limb and suggest that Christie may have cost Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney the election by showing too much cooperation with Obama. Christie responded to Walters’ audacious implication by rightfully saying, “I was doing my job as the governor of New Jersey.”
But the subtle attacks on Christie by Walters didn’t stop there.
Next, Walters asked Christie about his physique, pointing out that he is “a little overweight.” To this Walters simply asked “Why?” To which Christie wittily responded, “If I could figure it out I would fix it.”
Then it was Hillary’s turn in the spotlight. While Walters’ interview with Chris Christie interview was a biased attempt at having an embarrassing discussion with a national political figure rather, her conversation with Clinton made it seem like the former First Lady was about to receive some kind of major award for all her hard work in the past.
From the beginning Walters touted the fact that Secretary Clinton had made trips to 67 foreign countries and was inspirational in getting the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas (that turned out to be more of a we cease, and Hamas fires situation rather than a peace agreement; no shocker there), as well as calling her, “One of the most acclaimed Secretaries of State in modern history.”
Despite being a predominately postive pick-me-up kind of interview, Walters did take time to badger Clinton about her future plans (no doubt she hopes she’ll get the chance to vote for her over “overweight” Christie in the general election). The ABC News anchor asked Clinton about running for president in 2016 not once, but an astonishing three times, until Hillary finally said, “I’ve said I really don’t believe that that’s something I will do again. I am so grateful I had the experience of doing it before.”
The most fascinating person title was awarded because of what Walters called a “Washington scandal.” David Petraeus topped Walters’ list only two years ago, but this year it was for very different reasons. “This is about military honor colliding with sex and lies in the digital age,” Walters said. Petraeus himself was not interviewed in the TV special (for obvious reasons), but Walters gave her voice to a photo and video montage of the former CIA director’s career and scintillating downfall.
Walters gleefully explained how Petraeus had been idolized for his military service and honor, only to have the sex scandal shake his image to the core. “The keeper of the nation’s secrets was unable to conceal his own,” Walters said. Despite the serious nature of the sex scandal, especially in its relation to national security, Walters was surprisingly upbeat about the former CIA director’s embarrassing impropriety. Walters’ tips for what can be learned from Petreaus included being mindful of what you name your book (Petraeus’ biography was titled “All In”), not making anyone in the FBI angry and to be careful in Florida (whatever that means).
The other seven most fascinating people were British royal Prince Harry, popular boy band One Direction, gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, “Family Guy” creator Seth Macfarlane, reality TV sensation Honey Boo Boo, actor Ben Affleck and “50 Shades of Gray” author E.L. James.
Francesca Chambers and Kelsey Osterman contributed to this report.
Walters’ monologue on Petraeus:
Walters’ interview with Clinton:
Walters’ conversation with Christie: