Barack Obama has been named Time magazine's "Person of the Year," beating out competition from a shortlist that included newly minted Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, Bill and Hillary Clinton and the three scientists who discovered the Higgs Boson particle.
President Obama received the honor largely by keeping his job. Time cites Obama's re-election over Republican challenger Mitt Romney as evidence of a leftward tilt in the American electorate.
The magazine explained his selection in grandiloquent terms, citing Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" to explain the country's shifting demographics and their role in Obama's rise from freshman U.S. senator to leader of the free world.
"The new America is not so much the old e pluribus unum — out of many, one — but, as Ellison says, one and yet many," Time wrote. "That is Obama’s America. 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."
This is Obama's second time receiving the honor. He was named Time's 2008 "Person of the Year" after winning his first presidential election over Sen. John McCain. When Obama was initially selected, Time evoked Shepherd Ferry's iconic election posters and their blazing backdrop of reds and blues.
Four years later, the magazine went with a more somber presidential portrait, depicting the president in shadow, his gaze more reflective.
"The Obama effect was not ephemeral anymore, no longer reducible to what had once been mocked as 'that hopey-changey stuff,'" Time wrote. "It could be measured — in wars stopped and started; industries saved, restructured or reregulated; tax cuts extended; debt levels inflated; terrorists killed; the health-insurance system reimagined; and gay service members who could walk in uniform with their partners. It could be seen in the new faces who waited hours to vote and in the new ways campaigns are run. America debated and decided this year: history would not record Obama’s presidency as a fluke."