A year ago, we predicted that Barack Obama would win the presidency with 353 electoral votes and pick a Clinton as his secretary of state. (OK, we said Bill Clinton and pegged Al Gore as Obama’s running mate and Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee. Nobody’s perfect.)

Here is how 2009 might unfold:


Congress passes a $1.5 trillion economic stimulus-alternative energy bill. Caroline Kennedy is appointed to the New York Senate seat. The Senate refuses to seat either Minnesota candidate, pending an investigation. The Secret Service announces that White House reporters must remove their shoes before presidential news conferences. Karl Rove is elected Republican National Committee chairman.


Indianapolis defeats the New York Giants in an all-Manning Super Bowl. Former President George W. Bush returns as managing partner of the Texas Rangers. Hillary Clinton names Bill Clinton special Middle East negotiator; the White House expresses surprise. Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich wins a special Illinois Senate election. Following television reports that Vice President Joe Biden is missing, the Secret Service locates him riding the Acela to Wilmington.


The Obama budget projects a $1.2 trillion deficit for the current fiscal year; he blames Bush. Sarah Palin resigns as Alaska governor to host a talk show on Fox News. Congress passes a sweeping expansion of health coverage. Rangers boss Bush fires manager Ron Washington, hires Dick Cheney. Chris Matthews says he’ll seek a Pennsylvania Senate seat.


The Secret Service bans shoes at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Obama announces that 25,000 U.S. troops will leave Iraq by June 30. Blagojevich is forced to resign from Senate after conviction in Illinois. The governor names Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. as his successor. Obama ends U.S. travel ban to Cuba.


Manager Cheney trades two Rangers pitchers after discovering they are Democrats. The budget deficit is projected at $1.5 trillion. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires; Obama names Sen. Caroline Kennedy to succeed her. After a constitutional change, Vladimir Putin is re-elected to the Russian presidency. Toyota and General Motors merge.


The San Jose Sharks edge the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup finals. The Boston Celtics beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Fox talk show host Sarah Palin moves her program to Des Moines, Iowa.


The Senate says it can’t decide the winner of the Minnesota Senate race and calls for a new election. New York Gov. Paterson names Tina Fey to succeed Caroline Kennedy in Senate. Mitt Romney buys the Des Moines Register and moves to Des Moines, denying a political motivation. Yankees lefthander C.C. Sabathia wins his 16th straight game, cutting the Red Sox lead to three games.


Congress leaves for its August recess with soaring job approval after passing record spending legislation. Obama, in Cuba, meets with Raul Castro, who agrees to elections in return for moving the Florida Marlins to Havana. The Dallas Cowboys are favored to win the Super Bowl. The Rangers’ Bush visits Havana to scout Cuban players. Honda and Chrysler merge.


Obama meets Putin and reports that he looked into his eyes and saw hammers and sickles. Congress cuts the deficit in the next fiscal year to $1 trillion. Wolf Blitzer resigns from CNN to seek New York Senate seat.


Castro is named to manage the renamed Havana Fidelistas. The Yankees edge the Red Sox as Sabathia wins his 28th game. The Rangers finish third and fire Cheney.


The Mets edge the Yankees in the World Series. Republicans win New Jersey governor’s race; Democrats take Virginia. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens retires; Obama names Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to succeed him. Republican Coleman finally wins Minnesota Senate seat.


Bill Clinton announces he will seek the New York Senate seat. Former Yankees pitcher Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez is elected Cuban president. Toyota-GM and Honda-Chrysler merge with Ford.

Carl P. Leubsdorf is the former Washington bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News.

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