The Best of 2008: Counting Down ABC News' Most Popular Stories

Obama's Pastor: 'God Damn America'

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who was President-elect Barack Obama's pastor for 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side, has a long history of what even Obama's campaign aides conceded was "inflammatory rhetoric," including the assertion that the United States brought on the Sept. 11 attacks with its own "terrorism."

Wright married Obama and his wife, Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book "The Audacity of Hope."

An ABC News review of dozens of Wright's sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the United States based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

Read the story: Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11.

Obama: McCain Scoring 'Cheap Points'

Then-Sen. Barack Obama told ABC News' Charlie Gibson that the personal attacks levied against him by the campaign of his presidential rival, Sen. John McCain, particularly references to his association with 1960s anti-war radical Bill Ayers, were an attempt to "score cheap political points."

"Why don't we just clear it up right now," Obama told Gibson in an exclusive interview for "World News". "I'll repeat again what I've said many times. This is a guy who engaged in some despicable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old. By the time I met him, 10 or 15 years ago, he was a college professor of education at the University of Illinois. ... And the notion that somehow he has been involved in my campaign, that he is an adviser of mine, that . . . I've 'palled around with a terrorist,' all these statements are made simply to try to score cheap political points."

Obama said that the McCain campaign is making personal attacks "the centerpiece of the discussion in the closing weeks of a campaign where we are facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and we're in the middle of two wars."

Read the story: Obama: McCain Scoring 'Cheap Political Points' .

Watch the video: Obama Speaks on Market Turmoil.

Read the full transcript: Full Excerpts: Charles Gibson Interviews Barack Obama.

List of Troubled Banks Worries Wall Street

The economic crisis and recession received a great deal of coverage at the end of 2008, and one popular story focused on banks in Colorado, Maryland, Georgia and California that topped privately prepared lists of troubled banks being circulated on Wall Street and in Washington.

While the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) kept secret its official list of 90 troubled banks, ABC News obtained other lists prepared by several research groups and financial analysts.

The lists use versions of the so-called "Texas ratio," which compare a bank's assets and reserves to its non-performing loans, based on financial data made public by the FDIC in March.

Analysts say banks with a ratio more than 100 percent would be the most likely to fail, based on what happened to Texas savings and loans during the 1980s.

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