General David Petraeus: Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person of 2010

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REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

She chose Bieber, Bullock, and LeBron to round out the list, but the top spot didn’t go to a celeb.

General David Petraeus is Barbara Walters’ most fascinating person of the year. GTL and queens-to-be had nothing on the top U.S. military official in Afghanistan. “A lot depends on General Petraeus and his combination of humanity and strength,” Walters said. She didn’t interview Petraeus, most likely because he was halfway across the world, just a bit busy handling the day-to-day affairs of the war in Afghanistan.

(See the top 10 U.S. news stories of the year.)

Petraeus was called on in June by President Obama to replace former General Stanley McChrystal as the top commander in Afghanistan. It’s a job filled with intense pressure and scrutiny. But Walters praised the General’s grace under fire. “In life, it seems, there are people who break things and people who fix them,” Walters said. “This man is a fixer.”

Walters ended Thursday night’s program by announcing her previously under-wraps pick, and a list of primarily pop-culture icons was surprisingly topped by two political types.


Sarah Palin took second place to Petraeus and spoke to Walters about the usuals: her family, her potential 2012 Presidential bid, and her consistently criticized media image. But the interview wasn’t all old hat. We finally got the answer to Katie Couric’s long-standing question, learning which publications Palin reads regularly. “I read a lot of C.S. Lewis when I want some divine inspiration. I read Newsmax and The Wall Street Journal. I read all of our local papers of course in Alaska because that’s where my heart is,” Palin told Walters.

(See the top 10 of everything for 2010.)

Rounding out the list:

3. Future princess Kate Middleton
4. Miami transplant LeBron James
5. Idol rater Jennifer Lopez
6. Broken-hearted, Oscar-toting Sandra Bullock
7. The “smush-ing” cast of Jersey Shore
8. The perfectly coifed Justin Bieber
9. Facebook maven Mark Zuckerberg
10. Golden oldie Betty White

(via ABC)