'World News' Takes a Look at a Decade in Politics

As the decade comes to a close, we look back at some of its defining moments. Today, we look at the people and events in politics that have made history and shaped our world:

2000 Election -- The Hanging Chad
It all came down to the state of Florida and the infamous hanging chads. With the presidency hanging in the balance, the chad controversy went all the way to the Supreme Court. A 5-to-4 vote sent George W. Bush to the White House.

It was not long before the new president and the country would be tested with the nightmare of 9/11. The attacks quickly made Osama bin Laden the most wanted man in the world. Standing on the rubble of the twin towers, President Bush declared, "The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." Within a month, the United States had launched military operations in Afghanistan.

VIDEO: The Politics of 2000-2009Play

War in Iraq
Soon, though, the White House turned up the heat on another man, Saddam Hussein, launching a controversial offensive in Iraq.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said to the U.N. Security Council, "Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option."

Powell was part of President Bush's war room, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Forty-three days after the war began, we saw that famous sign, "Mission Accomplished." But the war was far from over.

2004 Presidential Election
Democratic challenger Howard Dean rose quickly by channeling anger over the Iraq war. But one scream on an over-modulated microphone, played again and again on television, brought him down even faster.

John Kerry ended up challenging George Bush. On Election Day, it all came down to Ohio, and Bush was re-elected.

Scandals of the Decade
There were, of course, the scandals we all remember.

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who paid for a high priced prostitute.

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, arrested in an airport bathroom where he was allegedly seeking sex from the man in the next stall.

South Carolina Gov Mark Sanford, "missing" on the Appalachian Trail -- and turning up on a flight back from Argentina, where he had visited his mistress.

And Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose corrupt plan to sell a Senate seat generated almost as much talk as his hair.

2008 Presidential Election
But it would be this last presidential election that would write the most history this decade. For the first time, it came down to a woman and an African American vying for the Democratic nomination.

With the electoral math against her, Hillary Clinton would, in the end, point to a different number -- the 18 million votes she called cracks in the highest glass ceiling.

Come fall, it was Barack Obama against John McCain.

And who could forget that Friday afternoon announcement, shrouded in secrecy. McCain introduced the little-known governor of Alaska onto the national stage. The self-styled "hockey mom," Sarah Palin, was quickly revered by many, and ridiculed, too.

With 365 electoral votes, Obama won. And while the country may have been politically divided, it couldn't be divided on this: The nation had witnessed history, electing its first black president.