Gen. David Petraeus was recognized for his compassion overseas

By Alison Schwartz
December 10, 2010 09:35 AM
Credit: Thomas Peter/Reuters/Landov

The cast of the Jersey Shore may have made headlines for their GTL routine. Justin Bieber earned attention for his hair. But, ultimately, the person Barbara Walters dubbed the most fascinating of the year Thursday night wasn’t a pop culture phenomenon.

It was General David Petraeus, the “American hero,” who became the lead commander of the war overseas.

Although Petraeus, 58, was honored alongside entertainers like Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and freshly-minted American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez, Walters cited his compassion for civilians and his impact in Afghanistan.

“In life, it seems, there are people who break things and people who fix them,” Walters said. “This man is a fixer.”

Sandra Bullock, who also topped the list, talked to Walters about her year’s highs and lows: her Oscar win and her very public divorce from Jesse James.

Other fascinating people, as deemed by Walters, included Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, princess-to-be Kate Middleton, Betty White and basketball superstar LeBron James.