TIME magazine’s 2012 Person of the Year is: President Barack Obama.
“He is the first president since [Franklin D. Roosevelt] to win with the majority vote in consecutive terms. He did that against an unemployment rate that was higher than anyone’s except FDR 75 years ago,” said Rick Stengel, the magazine’s managing editor, on Morning Joe Wednesday.
This is the president’s second time earning the honor in four years (Ben Bernanke, Mark Zuckerburg, and protesters captured the title in the interim years.)
The president was chosen in part because his administration marks a major cultural, political, and demographic shift in America, Stengel said.
“Mitt Romney won the same percentage of the white vote as George Herbert Walker [Bush] did in 1988 when he won 436 electoral votes, that’s just stunning,” Stengel said. “It’s not just a demographic change, it’s a cultural change. Obama represents a cultural shift in how we think about politics, how we think about government, how we think about each other.”
TIME explained their choice:
Obama doesn’t see his legacy in terms of an ideological imprint, like Ronald Reagan’s claim that “government is the problem” or Bill Clinton’s admonition that the “era of Big Government is over.” He says he just wants smarter government and a set of results that he can claim as he leaves office in early 2017: “That we had steered this ship of state so that we once again had an economy that worked for everybody, that we had laid the foundation for broad-based prosperity and that internationally we had created the framework for continued American leadership in the world throughout the 21st century.” Recent history and current -headlines suggest he will fall short of achieving all those goals. But if he succeeds, it wouldn’t be the first time this leader beat expectations.
The president competed against Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani education rights activist shot by the Taliban in October, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the so-called Higgs Boson ”God particle”, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and undocumented Americans for the top title.