NEW YORK: Time magazine on Wednesday named the recently re-elected US President Barack Obama as its person of the year for 2012 – the second time it has accorded him this honour.
Obama now not only has a re-election as America’s first black president and a Nobel peace prize under his belt, but he beat fancied runners-up, including brave Pakistani girls’ rights activist Malala Yousafzai, to be enshrined again as Time’s dominant personality of the year.
The venerable American news magazine put Obama on its cover, striking a thoughtful, statuesque pose, and said he deserved the accolade as “the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America.”
The magazine lauded Obama’s campaigning prowess, noting he was the first president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win more than 50 per cent of the vote in two straight elections and the first president since 1940 to be re-elected despite a jobless rate above 7.5 per cent.
Obama beat Republican Mitt Romney soundly in November’s election to win a second four year term, despite presiding over a chronic economic slump.
“In 2012, he found and forged a new majority, turned weakness into opportunity and sought, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union,” said Time, which had named Obama person of the year back in 2008 when he became America’s first black president.
The others considered for the weekly magazine’s traditional annual honour were Apple CEO Tim Cook, atomic scientist Fabiola Gianotti, and Egypt’s post-revolutionary President Mohamed Morsi.
But Obama swept to the head of the pack as because of what Time said was his ability to grasp the demographic and social changes shifting the United States.
“The truth is,” Obama told Time, “that we have steadily become a more diverse and tolerant country that embraces people’s differences and respects people who are not like us. That’s a profoundly good thing. That’s one of the strengths of America.”