“We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America,” Time Editor Rick Stengel commented on the choice at the “Today” show, where he announced the selection on Wednesday.
“For finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union, Barack Obama is TIME’s 2012 Person of the Year,” the editors write.
In an interview with Time, Obama said his re-election “may have been more satisfying a win than 2008.”
“We’ve gone through a very difficult time,” Obama told the magazine. “The American people have rightly been frustrated at the pace of change, and the economy is still struggling, and this president we elected is imperfect, and yet, despite all that, this is who we want to be. That’s a good thing.”
In a lengthy piece explaining the choice, TIME highlights the fact that Obama won the 2012 elections contrary to many experts’ predictions. TIME’s Michael Scherer also argues that Obama is perhaps now more experienced and better positioned to solve some issues which plagued the first four years of his presidency.
Among them such problems as climate change, early childhood education, college costs, electoral reform and prison reform.
“After four of the most challenging years in the nation’s history, his chance to leave office as a great President who was able to face crises and build a new majority coalition remains within reach,” concludes Scherer.
He also reports on the difficulty Republicans had going negative against the president.
“There was almost nothing that would stick to this guy, because they just liked him personally,” Romney deputy campaign manager Katie Packer Gage told Time.
According to the Washington Post, Stephen Law, who as president and CEO of American Crossroads spent $85 million on anti-Obama ads, commented: “The kind of traditional negative campaign that the Obama campaign did was not available to our side.”
The ABC News reports that last year, Time honored “The Protester,” citing dissent across the Middle East that spread to Europe and the United States, saying the protesters reshaped global politics.
Time’s “Person of the Year” is the person or thing that has most influenced the culture and the news during the past year for good or for ill. In the year of 2010, Mark Zuckerberg,Facebook founder and CEO, received such an honor.
Other previous winners have included Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Bono and President George W. Bush.
Runners up include Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl who raised her voice against the Taliban regime, Egypt’s new president Mohamed Morsi, Italian particle physicist Fabiola Gianotti and Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has so far been mostly successful in leading one of the world’s largest companies following Steve Jobs’ death.