For the second time, President Barack Obama has been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. The first time the president earned the honor was in 2008, when he became the nation’s first black president, and now having won re-election four years later, Obama stands as a symbol for the ongoing cultural shift in America. Time’s managing editor Richard Stengel revealed the magazine’s choice for 2012 Person of the Year on NBC’s “Today” show.
“There has been much talk of the coalition of the ascendant — young people, minorities, Hispanics, college-educated women — and in winning re-election, Obama showed that these fast-growing groups are not only the future but also the present.” Stengel wrote on Time’s website. “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.”
While on “Today,” Stengel retraced the president’s difficult path to re-election, including startling unemployment rates, the fiscal cliff and gay marriage controversy. However, the editor made it clear that it wasn’t Obama alone who retained the white house, but the rising voice of American minority groups.
“He’s basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind new America – a new demographic, a new cultural America that he is now the symbol of,” Stengel said.
“In an age of lost authority, Obama had managed to maintain his,” Time contribute Michael Scherer wrote in the 2012 Person of the Year article.
A repeat as Time’s Person of the Year can be added to the president’s long list of achievements, including a Nobel Peace Prize. Other finalists for the honor included Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Apple CEO Time Cook, Bill and Hilary Clinton, and Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban on her school bus for publically advocating for girls’ education.