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Sorry, Enda: Barack Obama named TIME's Person of the Year

This is the second time Obama has won; this time for retaining public trust “through crises and gridlock”.

Image: TIME Magazine

Updated, 13:05

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has been named TIME Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ for 2012.

The award, announced this lunchtime, is the second time that Obama has been given the honour – the first time was following his first presidential election win in 2008.

In its citation, the magazine said Obama had managed to retain the trust of the US public – and win a second term in office – despite the United States facing “crises and gridlock” in an increasingly partisan political environment.

“In 2012, he found and forged a new majority, turned weakness into opportunity and sought, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union,” the magazine said.

It also noted that Obama is the first Democratic president since Franklin D Roosevelt to win more than 50 per cent of the popular vote in successive elections, and the first President since the second World War to win a second term with an unemployment rate of 7.5 per cent.

“The new America is not so much the old e pluribus unum — out of many, one — but [...] one and yet many. That is Obama’s America,” the magazine’s editors said.

“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.”

Shortlist of eight

Pakistani blogger and activist Malala Yousafzai – who was shot by the Taliban over her outspoken stance on women’s issues – was named as the runner-up.

Others on the shortlist included Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, Apple chief executive Tim Cook, former president Bill Clinton and his wife, current US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Yahoo! chief executive Marissa Mayer.

Other nominees included the ‘Undocumented Americans’, and the Higgs Boson – the so-called ‘God Particle’ – which had been dubbed ‘particle of the year’.

An online poll preceding the official result saw North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Un score a runaway victory, though TIME said this had been attributed to irreverent campaigns on websites including 4chan.

Obama now joins a select group of people who have been given the accolade more than once – including former US presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Harry Truman, Lyndon B Johnson, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, as well as Soviet premier Josef Stalin, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, and Chinese communist leader Deng Xiaoping.

Franklin D Roosevelt is the only person to have the award three times.

2011: Time Magazine’s Person of the Year is…. The Protester

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Gavan Reilly

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