TIME magazine has named President Obama its person of the year.
“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 on this morning’s Today show.
“He won re-election despite a higher unemployment rate than anybody’s had to face in basically in 70 years. He’s the first Democrat to actually win two consecutive terms with over 50 percent of the vote. That’s something we haven’t seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” he added.
Stengel admitted that Obama edged out brave Pakistani activist Malala Yousufzai, a schoolgirl shot in the head for defying the Taliban — and who has vowed to continue her fight against their brand of extremism.
Other contenders on the shortlist were Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
“His 5 million-vote margin of victory out of 129 million ballots cast shocked experts in both parties, and it probably would have been higher had so much of New York and New Jersey not stayed home after Hurricane Sandy,” states the TIME article announcing the choice. “He won many of the toughest battlegrounds walking away: Virginia by 4 points, Colorado by 5 and the lily white states of Iowa and New Hampshire by 6. He untied Ohio’s knotty heartland politics, picked the Republican lock on Florida Cubans and won Paul Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. (Those last two data points especially caught the President’s interest.) He will take the oath on Jan. 20 as the first Democrat in more than 75 years to get a majority of the popular vote twice. Only five other Presidents have done that in all of U.S. history.”
It’s the second time Obama has been named Person of the Year. The last time was when he won in 2008.