Barack Obama becoming the 44th President
5. John McCain - ran a horrible campaign; missed many opportunities including stating outright that Obama wasn't qualified because of his church, his political friends, and his lack of inexperience; also if he had opposed the bailout he would have been on the right side of history and proven his point that "he puts the country before politics"
4. Hillary Clinton - if she could run a campaign including learning the caucus rules, and knowing when to destroy the competition, Obama would have never caught fire; she never had a coherent plan to win--she thought she was inevitable; when it came to it she wouldn't "say or do anything to win"; Obama could have been knocked out after the Wright controversy but Hillary flinched
3. Tim Russert - he set the agenda as far as what was conventional wisdom; his idea that "super delegates won't take the nomination away from the first African American who had the most votes" was a bogus construct, but since he was the leading political guru it worked for Obama. In addition, earlier on, he was determined not to let Democrats "coronate" Hillary and set out to savage her.
2. Chris Matthews - His cheerleading was appalling, yet effective. He along with Keith Olbermann and others actually designed plays to help Obama. They were a daily counterbalance to Hillary Clinton and John McCain's campaings. What he did should have been considered a campaign donation. Like Russert, he set the agenda, but for him it was on cable and it was very apparent. He was able to shape the best possible message for Obama night after night, and being that he is a political pro it worked. Matthews wanted the first black President, and he got it.
1. Barack Obama - even with all the media help; the country's desire to vote for a black man; the sad shape of the Republican Party; and the weak campaigns that were run against him, Obama overcame several mistakes and won this election for himself. The most important thing he did was to set reachable goals. While others might not have thought so, it became clear that he believed.
Winners win, and he won. So he is a Winner.