NEW YORK, Dec 19 – Time magazine on Wednesday named recently re-elected US President Barack Obama as its person of the year for 2012 – the second time it has accorded him the accolade.
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 honour 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 percent of the vote in two straight elections and the first president since 1940 to be re-elected despite a jobless rate above 7.5 percent.
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 won his historic first presidential election.
Perhaps the most poignant alternative to Obama on Time’s shortlist was Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who continued to campaign for the right to education after being shot and nearly killed by the Taliban.
The others were Apple CEO Tim Cook, Egypt’s post-revolutionary President Mohamed Morsi, and atomic physicist Fabiola Gianotti.
Person of the year, or what was long called “man of the year,” acknowledges what the magazine considers to be the world’s biggest newsmaker, or influential mover.