Unexpected Political Losers of 2012

Republicans weren't the only ones to end up on the losing end of politics this year.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. speaks in Washington, D.C., Feb. 9, 2012. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
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Cable Television

Maybe it isn't completely unexpected to see cable television be listed as a loser, given that the blanket coverage and continual bloviating often gets on everyone's nerves leading up to the election. But the networks – specifically CNN and Fox – really blew it during the summer with their coverage of the Supreme Court ruling on the federal healthcare law. In the rush to be first to report the decision, both networks declared that the court had ruled against it. The truth was the court ruled to uphold most of the law, leaving both networks looking silly.

Karl Rove

Rove, the former political right-hand-man for George W. Bush, was the first to capitalize on new campaign finance rules that allow for unlimited spending on political campaigns, setting up the powerful American Crossroads political action committee. But at the end of the day, Rove's group ended up with mixed results, despite out-spending its liberal counterparts. Rove only further tarnished his image as a political guru on election night, by continuing to insist Mitt Romney might have won Ohio in the face of news organizations, including Fox News (the channel he was speaking on), calling it for President Barack Obama. What ensued wasn't pretty.

Eric Fehrnstrom

Boston-based Fehrnstrom was living the political adviser's dream, heading up a presidential campaign that at times appeared to have a more than even shot of unseating an incumbent president and the Senate campaign of a candidate with a more than 60 percent approval rating. In the end, Fehrnstrom was on the losing side of both and by wider than expected margins. Romney flopped in all the so-called swing states (North Carolina aside) and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown lost by 8 percentage points in what was thought to be the closest Senate race.

Rep. Michele Bachmann

Bachmann came roaring into the Republican presidential primary, picking up a surprise win in the Iowa straw poll, an early indicator of a candidate's potential viability. An early Tea Party leader, Bachmann held her own in GOP debates by sticking to her core issues – fiscal responsibility, pro-Israel and anti-Iran foreign policy and conservative family values. As it turned out, however, she ended up one of many flashes in the GOP primary pan and her dismal performance in the binding Iowa caucuses was the death-knell for her candidacy. She even had to campaign fiercely to retain her House seat during the general election, barely fending off her Democratic challenger.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice

Rice was entering into probably the most anticipated moments of her career, consideration for the job of Secretary of State, when a deadly terrorist attack and ill-fated television appearances led to her turning into enemy No. 1 for Republican Senators. They punished Rice relentlessly for her role in erroneously describing the events leading up to and impetus for the Benghazi attack that claimed the lives of four American diplomats. She eventually withdrew her name from consideration as the replacement for outgoing top diplomat Hillary Clinton. While she retained the public support of President Barack Obama, it's clear her inability to navigate the choppy domestic waters was a turning point in his decision to nominate Sen. John Kerry for the job instead.

Check out the U.S. News picks for the biggest political winners of 2012.

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