Last night, I got to take part in TIME's annual Person of the Year debate along with Wyclef Jean and Meghan McCain. It was a tough task to make a recommendation for the world's most influential person in a year that has included some truly historic and groundbreaking events.
But in the end, one person stands front and center as the person of the year -- Nancy Pelosi.
Love her policies or hate them, she has proven herself to be one of the most effective Speakers in history. The 111th Congress has been the most productive in modern history, passing sweeping health care and financial reform, just to name a few of the bills Pelosi helped push through. And she didn't back down even when others in her own party didn't think it could be done. Case in point, when the President was willing to throw in the towel on Health Care it was Pelosi who went to him and convinced him it could still be passed and then proved herself correct by passing it.
Her actions drove the nation's policy as well as the politics that exploded with the worst defeat either party has suffered in 50 years in the House. So, based on influencing a President, setting policy and in igniting the political forces of 2010 general election the choice for 2010's Person of the Year is clear.
You can vote on your pick for Person of the Year on TIME's website. So far Julian Assange is leading in the readers choice ratings: