Wow! Has there ever been another President who has been selected to be TIME’s Person of the Year twice during their reign? Barack Obama was TIME Person Of The Year in 2008 (http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2011/10/16/time-magazine-person-of-the-year/) and he has earned a repeat in 2012 (http://poy.time.com/2012/12/19/person-of-the-year-barack-obama/). He’s a baaaad man!!!
Obama was chosen because of his remarkable re-election victory. Obama is only the second Democratic President to be re-elected with over 50% of the popular vote. It is as much about what he accomplished as it is how it accomplished it. Obama built a coalition that reflects the future of America, a truly diverse multicultural, young, female army of voters who propelled him to his second term in the face of a tough economy and high unemployment rate. Unprecedented.
TIME MAGAZINE PERSON OF THE YEAR
In 2012 the GOP hoped to cast him as an inspiring guy who was not up to the job. But now we know the difference between the wish and the thing, the hype and the man in the office. He stands somewhat shorter, having won 4 million fewer votes and two fewer states than in 2008. But 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. 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.
There are many reasons for this, but the biggest by far are the nation’s changing demographics and Obama’s unique ability to capitalize on them. When his name is on the ballot, the next America — a younger, more diverse America — turns out at the polls. In 2008, blacks voted at the same rate as whites for the first time in history, and Latinos broke turnout records. The early numbers suggest that both groups did it again in 2012, even in nonbattleground states, where the Obama forces were far less organized. When minorities vote, that means young people do too, because the next America is far more diverse than the last. And when all that happens, Obama wins. He got 71% of Latinos, 93% of blacks, 73% of Asians and 60% of those under 30.
That last number is the one Obama revels in most. When he talks about the campaign, he likes to think about the generational shift the country is going through on topics like gay marriage — an issue on which he lagged, only to reverse himself last spring. He connects it to the optimism he felt as a young man, the same thing he always talks about with staff in the limo or on the plane after visits with campaign volunteers. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” reads one of the quotes stitched into his new Oval Office rug — an old abolitionist cry that Martin Luther King Jr. repurposed while marching on Selma, Ala. Obama believes in that, and he believes he is more than just a bit player in the transition. “I do think that my eight years as President, reflecting those values and giving voice to those values, help to validate or solidify that transformation,” he says, “and I think that’s a good thing for the country.”
Listen to the editors of TIME magazine talk about why they picked Barack Obama for the second time in his presidency.
Here are a few more of Pete Souza’s amazing pictures of President Obama’s first term. You can see the rest of his portfolio at http://lightbox.time.com/2012/10/08/pete-souza-portrait-of-a-presidency/#1.