'This Week' Transcript: 2011 Year in Review

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OBAMA: Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top Al Qaida leaders who've been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement.

KARL: Number four. They could have been contenders. Trump, Palin, Daniels, Barbour, Ryan -- they all flirted with running. But it was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who Republicans practically begged to run. Who could forget this moment at the Reagan Library?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need you. Your country needs you to run for president.

(APPLAUSE)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: I thank you for what you're saying, and I take it in and I'm listening to every word of it and feeling it.

KARL: Poor Mitt Romney must have been thinking, "What about me?" But Christie opted out.

CHRISTIE: New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me.

KARL: Number three.

MARK KELLY, HUSBAND OF GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: She's now starting to open her eyes spontaneously.

KARL: The miraculous return of Gabby Giffords. She not only survived a gunshot wound to the head, but shocked the nation with a surprise visit to the House floor to cast an historic vote to raise the debt ceiling.

Months later, she and her husband talked about their ordeal with Diane Sawyer.

DIANE SAWYER, ANCHOR, "WORLD NEWS WITH DIANE SAWYER": Is there a word for Mark?

REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, D-ARIZ: Brave.

KELLY: That's what I think of when I think of you, too.

KARL: Number two. Jobs, or lack thereof. That could be the determining factor if Obama keeps his job. Job fairs around the country were inundated. In L.A., over 10,000 showed up for a single job fair, and thousands more lined up in the summer heat in Atlanta, even camping out overnight in their best business attire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a child (ph), you got kids, got bills. You got to stay somewhere. You don't want to be homeless.

KARL: The year started out with an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. It improved ever so slightly, but by year's end, it was still too high, and over 14 million Americans were still searching for work.

Number one. The boom and bust Republican primary. In August, Michele Bachmann looked like a frontrunner.

BACHMANN: Thank you, everyone. We did this together.

KARL: She won the Iowa straw poll and them promptly flamed out. Next up, Rick Perry shot to the top, but not for long.

PERRY: The -- Commerce, and let's see, I can't. Oops.

KARL: Herman Cain had his turn, but he, too, was at a loss for words.

CAIN: OK, Libya. No, that's a different one.

KARL: Throughout it all, Mitt Romney stayed steady, about 25 percent in virtually every poll as the others rose and fell. One Romney aide called it Whac-A-Mole. Bang, bang, bang -- every time one candidate went down, another popped up. The last one standing: Newt Gingrich, and maybe even Ron Paul.

GINGRICH: I'm going to be the nominee.

KARL: Who would have thought? Gingrich was dead and buried over the summer. The Greek cruise, the $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany's, the mass resignation of his campaign staff. But Newt would rise again. Just ask Mitt Romney.

DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: Top 10 things Mitt now would like to get off his chest.

ROMNEY: Newt Gingrich? Really?

LETTERMAN: Yes, yes. That's right.

KARL: With this year in politics 2011, I'm Jonathan Karl -- Christiane?

AMANPOUR: As ever, thank you, Jon Karl.

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