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President Obama named as TIME magazine's 'Person of the Year' for the second time in four years
TIME: 'Obama is the beneficiary and author of a new America'
17:42 GMT, 19 December 2012
Iconic: President Barack Obama has been named as Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2012
President Barack Obama has been named TIME's Person of the Year for 2012, allowing him the honour for the second time in four years.
The magazine cited the president's historic re-election last month as symbolic of the nation's changing demographics amid the backdrop of high unemployment and other challenges.
'He's basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind of new America – a new demographic, a new cultural America that he is now the symbol of,' TIME editor Rick Stengel said as he announced the choice on the Today show on Wednesday.
'He won re-election despite a higher
unemployment rate than anybody's had to face in basically 70 years.
He's the first Democrat to actually win two consecutive terms with over
50 per cent of the vote. That's something we haven't seen since Franklin
The 'Person of the Year' accolade is given to the
person or thing that has most influenced the culture and news throughout the year for good or for ill.
was named as Person of the Year in 2008, with Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and 'The
Protester' filling the years in between.
year, Obama edged out Malala Yousufzai, a Pakistani girl shot in the
head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education, for the honour. She
was named as runner up.
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Runners up: Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi missed out on the honour
Shortlist: Obama also edged out Malala Yousufzai (pictured with her father and brothers), a 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education
'Since October her message has been
heard around the world, from cramped classrooms where girls scratch out
lessons in the dirt to the halls of the U.N. and national governments
and NGOs, where legions of activists argue ever more vehemently that the
key to raising living standards throughout the developing world is the
empowerment of women and girls,' TIME wrote in a profile.
Other finalists included Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Higgs boson physicist Fabiola Gianotti.
In its latest edition and cover story, TIME explained its decision to name Obama as the winner.
'We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Barack Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America,' the editors wrote.
'In 2012, he found and forged a new majority, turned weakness into opportunity and sought, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union.'
In a cover story, TIME's White House correspondent Michael Scherer explained the 'Obama effect'.
Celebration: TIME said Obama 'is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of a new America'
Popular: TIME added that Obama, pictured at a campaign stop in November, could not even get Republicans to find negative things about him 'because they liked him personally'
'It could be measured – in wars stopped
and started; industries saved, restructured or reregulated; tax cuts
extended; debt levels inflated; terrorists killed; the health-insurance
system reimagined; and gay service members who could walk in uniform
with their partners,' he wrote.
Scherer added that after this year's election, Obama started working on a '40,000-foot' list of issues to tackle in his second term in the White House.
The list included climate change, the soaring cost of college, electoral reform and prison reform.
Scherer also spoke about his personal attributes – and how Republicans struggled to be negative against him.
'There was almost nothing that would stick to this guy, because they just liked him personally,' Romney deputy campaign manager Katie Packer Gage told the magazine.
VIDEO Time executive editor talks about their decision
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ON TIME: THE LAST DECADE OF 'PERSON OF THE YEAR'
2012 Barack Obama – President of the United States
2011 The Protester – Those involved in demos from the Arab Spring to the 'Occupy' movement
2010 Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook founder and CEO
2009 Ben Bernanke – Federal Reserve chairman
2008 Barack Obama – Then president-elect of the United States
2007 Vladimir Putin – Then president of Russia
2006 You – As a contributor to social media sites like Facebook and YouTube
2005 The Good Samaritans – Specifically Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates
2004 George W. Bush – Then president of the United States
2003 The American Soldier – Then fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
2002 The Whistleblowers – Specifically Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom, Coleen Rowley of the FBI and Sherron Watkins of Enron