The 10 Most-Read Stories on Washington Whispers This Year

From Sandy to White House heckling, it's been a wild 2012 for Washington Whispers.

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For nearly eight decades, Washington Whispers has sought to both inform and amuse its readers with a fun, insider's view of politics and Washington. This year was no different. Here are the 10 stories you liked, commented on, and shared the most.

1. Sen. Sherrod Brown's Wife Makes Conservative Blogger Look Silly

In July, a conservative blogger tried to expose columnist Connie Schultz as fraternizing with a politician—only that politician happened to be Schultz's husband, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. Schultz resigned from the Cleveland Plain Dealer more than a year ago, citing the conflict of interest with her husband's Senate race.

2. Donald Trump's Big Obama Announcement: $5 Million in Exchange for Obama's College, Passport Records

Donald Trump trolled America once again in October when he promised a "very, very big" announcement concerning President Barack Obama. The news turned out to be just a rehash of the real estate mogul's "birther" theory that Obama was not born in America.

3. Scott Walker Recall Disturbed by Voter Issues

In a contentious recall election of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in June, hundreds of voters reported voter issues, including being asked to show photo identification even though it wasn't a requirement. Walker survived the election by wide margins despite opposition from the nation's biggest unions.

4. President Obama Has Outspent the Last Five Presidents

Whispers received lots of mail for this story on research that showed federal spending as a percentage of GDP was higher under President Obama than the last five presidents. As we noted then, there are many ways to reflect a president's spending—this was just one way. A similar and also popular story on Whispers in April found that gas prices grew more under Obama than under President Jimmy Carter.

5. Obama Heckled by Daily Caller Reporter During Immigration Speech in Rose Garden

Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro unceremoniously interrupted President Obama during a speech in the Rose Garden in June announcing that the U.S. would stop deporting some illegal immigrants. Some felt the "heckling" by Munro was uncalled for, while The Daily Caller said it was proud of the reporter for "doing his job."

6. Mitt Romney Calls U.S.A. a 'Foreign Country' in His Tax Returns

When Mitt Romney released his much-anticipated 2011 tax return in September, he (or his tax preparer) mistakenly referred to the U.S. as a foreign country. The mistake sparked jokes about the then-GOP nominee's bank account in Switzerland and Cayman Islands investments.

7. No, Mitt Romney Did Not Bring Cheat Notes to the Debate

Reddit thought it had a "gotcha" moment when a video was posted to the social news site showing Mitt Romney pulling what appeared to be white paper out of his pocket during the first presidential debate. The paper was actually a handkerchief.

8. Conspiracy Theorists Say Obama Engineered Hurricane Sandy

When a mega-storm hit the Eastern seaboard just days before the presidential election, a number of conspiracy theorists said they believed President Obama engineered Hurricane Sandy to ensure re-election. How could a president engineer a storm? With the help of the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, of course—a government research program that studies the upper atmosphere and a longtime target of conspiracy theorists.

9. Study: Black Americans Feel Less Empowered Than They Once Did

Hundreds of Whispers readers commented on a story on a study from Washington University in St. Louis that found many black Americans feel less free under President Obama than they once did. The study found that feelings of empowerment faded among conservative and religious blacks since the 2008 election, as these voters gradually realized the ideological differences they had with the president.

10. New Ad Implies Obama Is Cozy With the Muslim Brotherhood

A conservative advocacy group sought to ride the wave of anger over an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya by releasing an ad implying President Obama was cozy with the Muslim Brotherhood in September. The ad tying Obama to the influential Islamic movement that's designated as a terrorist group by some came just two months before the election.