Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. (Jim LoScalzo; Rick Wilkin/EPA)

Isn’t the vice-presidential nominee supposed to stand in the shadows? Not in 2012! The gaffe-prone veep posed with bikers, cameo’d on “Parks and Recreation,” laid sod for his daughter’s wedding and conquered the Internet with a glad-handing trip to Costco. Also: Said embarrassing things like “malarkey.” His Gen-X rival sported a game-changing widow’s peak, lowballed his marathon time, got testy with local reporters and bravely wore a backward baseball cap to a workout-themed photo shoot. Also: Bragged embarrassingly about his iPod playlist. We salute 2012’s No. 2’s: the sitcom dads of American politics.

(Read on for the Person of the Year Runner-Up and Honorable Mentions)


The Kennedys

Jackie and Jack in 1963. (Alexander Arroyos via AP)

A former White House intern shocked the world with her memoir of a JFK affair. Taylor Swift hooked up with RFK Jr.’s kid. Arnold vowed to get Maria back. And now the fourth generation cometh: Joe Kennedy III, just elected to Congress. It’s just never gonna end, is it?


Clint Eastwood (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Clint Eastwood: He started the year with a provocative Chrysler ad that had us all wondering where Hollywood’s one-man Mount Rushmore stood on politics. By the fall, he and the empty chair made it clear.

Roseanne Barr: Was the failed candidate good or bad for the Green Party? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Kristi Noem: Already a career success, she still made a point of finishing her college degree — while serving in Congress.

Eva Longoria (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Eva Longoria: George Clooney grabbed the spotlight (VIP dinners, an arrest at the Sudan embassy), but the former Desperate Housewife and big-time Obama fundraiser emerged as the real Hollywood power broker. Also: Dated Mark Sanchez.

More Reliable Source 2012 in Review:

Zing! Best quotes of 2012: Bryce Harper, Martin Short, Ronan Farrow, Madonna and others

The Reliable Source Year in Controversies

The Reliable Source Year in Love: It’s Complicated

Last year: The Reliable Source Person of the Year 2011: Anthony Weiner

View Photo Gallery: Here’s a look at the lucky few to be named Reliable Source person of the year from 2007-2012, as well as the honorable mentions.

Earlier in Reliable Source: White House Christmas shopping; Sam Donaldson; Romney Christmas card; Taft Bridge lions