The 18 best political pictures of 2013

The past year proved -- yet again -- why we love politics. There was the sublime (the country and its politicians' reaction to the shootings in Newtown, Conn.) and the ridiculous (virtually everything else). We spent a few days gathering a series of pictures that tell the story of the year in politics. Our picks are below. What did we miss?

1. President Obama's second inauguration was the high point of his year.

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - President Barack Obama arrives at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

President Obama arrives at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

2. Soon, scandal was everywhere. There was Benghazi.

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

3. There was the NSA. There was the IRS. And there was even "umbrella guy."

epa03703704 A US Marine (R) holds an umbrella for US President Barack Obama (L) during light rain as Obama delivers remarks at a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (not pictured) following their bilateral meeting, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington DC, USA, 16 May 2013. Obama and Erdogan met to discuss an array of issues including international security and the situation in Syria.  Obama's meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister occurs as his administration simultaneously faces three scandals; the 2012 Benghazi attack on a US diplomatic post, Justice Department collecting the phone records of the Associated Press journalists and the IRS hindering conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status.  EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

4. Things on the foreign policy front weren't much better.

RNPS - PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2013 - U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland June 17, 2013.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque   (NORTHERN IRELAND - Tags: POLITICS TPX)

President Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

5. Then this happened.

This December 3, 2013 photo shows a woman in Washington, DC reading a message indicating that a connection cannot be established with the HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace internet site. The troubleshooter appointed by President Barack Obama to overhaul a bungled health care website rollout said December 1 that improvements had made a

This Dec. 3, 2013 photo shows a woman in Washington, D.C., reading a message indicating that a connection cannot be established with the HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace internet site. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER

6. Also, this happened.

-- AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2013 --US President  Barack Obama (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a selfie picture with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt (C) next to US First Lady Michelle Obama (R) during the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013. Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, died in Johannesburg on December 5 at age 95.   AFP PHOTO / ROBERTO SCHMIDTROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama (right) and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a selfie picture with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt next to first lady Michelle Obama during the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013. AFP PHOTO / ROBERTO SCHMIDT

7. The one piece of good news for President Obama was that Republicans in Congress were even worse off.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens as President Barack Obama speaks to media, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, before a meeting with between the president and Congressional leaders to discuss the situation in Syria. Boehner said he will support the president's call for the U.S. to take action against Syria for alleged chemical weapons use and says his Republican colleagues should support the president, too. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

8. Ted Cruz became the face of the "no retreat, no surrender" crowd after leading a nearly 24-hour-long filibuster to stop President Obama's health-care law.

epa03883630 Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz exits the floor of the Senate after speaking for more than 21 hours in opposition to the Affordable Care Act in Washington, DC USA, 25 September 2013.  The Senate will proceed later today with a vote to begin debate on the budget bill to try and prevent a government shutdown.  EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz exits the floor of the Senate after speaking for more than 21 hours in opposition to the Affordable Care Act in Washington, DC USA, 25 September 2013. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

9. It didn't work. But it did lead to a government shutdown that Republicans got blamed for.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01:(BEST OF 2013 PACKAGE)  A U.S.  Park Police officer stand guard in front of the closed Lincoln Memorial, October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. The National Mall and all monuments and large sections of the government will close due to government shut down after Congress failed to agree on spending.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A U.S. Park Police officer stand guard in front of the closed Lincoln Memorial, October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC.Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

1o. All of which led to John Boehner's "Are you kidding me?" moment.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio vehemently rebukes conservative groups who oppose the pending bipartisan budget compromise struck by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner said the GOP leadership has had enough tea party-driven intransigence in Congress and he doesn’t care what they think. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

11. Add it all up and you get a Congress that's less popular than car salesmen. Yes, really.

FILE - Cloudy skies shroud the Capitol in Washington, Monday morning, Oct. 14, 2013 as Senate Democratic and Republican leaders remained at odds over spending in their last-ditch negotiations to end the government shutdown. At a time when many people say that the political system and societal institutions aren't working, the news in 2013 provided multiple sources of confirmation, both at home and abroad. It was the year when things broke down - or at least it often left many people feeling that way. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

12. Outside Washington, things weren't any better. Anthony Weiner did it again.

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, left, listens as his wife, Huma Abedin, speaks during a news conference at the Gay Men's Health Crisis headquarters, Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in New York. The former congressman says he's not dropping out of the New York City mayoral race in light of newly revealed explicit online correspondence with a young woman. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, left, listens as his wife, Huma Abedin, speaks during a news conference at the Gay Men's Health Crisis headquarters, Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in New York. The former congressman says he's not dropping out of the New York City mayoral race in light of newly revealed explicit online correspondence with a young woman. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

13. And the world met Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses the media outside office in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, after the release of a video. A new video surfaced showing Ford in a rage, using threatening words including

City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses the media outside office in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, after the release of a video. A new video surfaced showing Ford in a rage, using threatening words including "kill" and "murder." Ford said he was “extremely, extremely inebriated" in the video, which appeared Thursday on the Toronto Star’s website. AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Nathan Denett

14.  . . . .

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford yawns during an executive committee meeting in Toronto December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Aaron Harris  (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford yawns during an executive committee meeting in Toronto December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Aaron Harris

15. It wasn't all bad news for politics and politicians though. Chris Christie had a great year.

FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2013 file photo, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie celebrates his election victory in Asbury Park, N.J., after defeating Democratic challenger Barbara Buono. A dominant re-election victory in hand, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is charging forward on a path to bolster his resume as a get-it-done Republican leader while broadening a national network of political allies, an aggressive course designed to strengthen Christie’s appeal as he weighs a 2016 presidential bid. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

In this Nov. 5, 2013 file photo, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie celebrates his election victory in Asbury Park, N.J., after defeating Democratic challenger Barbara Buono. AP Photo/Mel Evans

16. And New Yorkers fell in love with the de Blasio family.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 file photo, New York Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio embraces his son Dante, left, daughter Chiara, second left, and wife Chirlane McCray after polls closed in the city's primary election in New York. De Blasio and his wife settled in the Park Slope neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York largely because they felt that their interracial relationship would be accepted there, the mayor-elect has said. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

In this Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 file photo, New York Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio embraces his son Dante, left, daughter Chiara, second left, and wife Chirlane McCray after polls closed in the city's primary election in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File

17. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton looks like he is having  a good time alongside Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.

Photo courtesy of Glen Stubbe. Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

18. And Joe Biden always has a good year. Always.

PANMUNJOM, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 07:  U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visits to observation post Ouellette at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on December 7, 2013 in Panmunjom, South Korea. Vice President Biden has been visiting Japan, China and South Korea this week. Some of the main issues to discuss are the Trans-Pacific Partnership, diplomacy on the East China Sea and the South China Sea, economic relationship with China, implementation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and alliance issues in both Japan and Korea.  (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

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