U.S. President Barack Obama was named TIME’s Person of the Year for 2012, citing his historic re-election last month as symbolic of the nation’s changing demographics amid the backdrop of high unemployment and other challenges.
TIME editor Rick Stengel announced the choice on NBC’s “Today” program on Wednesday.
“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,” he said.
“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,” Stengel said, citing the president who served during the Great Depression and World War Two.
The short list for the honor included Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head for advocating for girls' education.
It also included Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and scientist Fabiola Gianotti.
Mr. Obama also received the honor in 2008, when he was President-elect.
Last year, “The Protester” got the honor.
Time's “Person of the Year” is the person or thing that has most influenced the culture and the news during the past year for good or for ill. In 2010, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg received the honor.
Other previous winners have included Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Bono and President George W. Bush.