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Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:10 AM

2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama, the President [View all]

Source: Talkingpointsmemo/Time

In mid-December, as Obama settles into one of the Oval Office’s reupholstered chairs — brown leather instead of Bush’s blue and gold candy stripes — the validation of Election Day still hovers around him, suggesting that his second four years in office may turn out to be quite different from his first. Beyond the Oval Office, overwhelming challenges remain: deadlocked fiscal-cliff talks; a Federal Reserve that predicts years of high unemployment; and more unrest in places like Athens, Cairo and Damascus. But the President seems unbound and gives inklings of an ambition he has kept in check ever since he arrived at the White House to find a nation in crisis. He leans back, tea at his side, legs crossed, to explain what he thinks just happened. “It was easy to think that maybe 2008 was the anomaly,” he says. “And I think 2012 was an indication that, no, this is not an anomaly. We’ve gone through a very difficult time. The American people have rightly been frustrated at the pace of change, and the economy is still struggling, and this President we elected is imperfect. And yet despite all that, this is who we want to be.” He smiles. “That’s a good thing.”

Two years ago, Republicans liked to say that the only hard thing Obama ever did right was beating Hillary Clinton in the primary, and in electoral terms, there was some truth to that. 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.”

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/time-names-obama-2012-person-of-year?ref=fpb

Read more: http://poy.time.com/2012/12/19/person-of-the-year-barack-obama/

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Reply 2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama, the President [View all]
flpoljunkie Dec 2012 OP
Liberal_Stalwart71 Dec 2012 #1
malibea Dec 2012 #33
sheshe2 Dec 2012 #38
malibea Dec 2012 #46
Liberal_Stalwart71 Dec 2012 #61
malibea Dec 2012 #62
Liberal_Stalwart71 Dec 2012 #64
malibea Dec 2012 #66
RBInMaine Dec 2012 #35
Liberal_Stalwart71 Dec 2012 #60
Eric the Reddish Dec 2012 #2
RBInMaine Dec 2012 #36
donheld Dec 2012 #57
malibea Dec 2012 #45
plethoro Dec 2012 #54
avebury Dec 2012 #3
Ineeda Dec 2012 #5
MADem Dec 2012 #26
malibea Dec 2012 #34
RBInMaine Dec 2012 #37
sheshe2 Dec 2012 #39
StevieM Dec 2012 #40
iemitsu Dec 2012 #4
Pirate Smile Dec 2012 #9
Hamlette Dec 2012 #11
iemitsu Dec 2012 #53
Orrex Dec 2012 #16
malibea Dec 2012 #47
erpowers Dec 2012 #6
duhneece Dec 2012 #7
jsr Dec 2012 #10
sheshe2 Dec 2012 #8
Voice for Peace Dec 2012 #22
malibea Dec 2012 #48
Myrina Dec 2012 #12
BumRushDaShow Dec 2012 #13
Hamlette Dec 2012 #14
MADem Dec 2012 #27
Adenoid_Hynkel Dec 2012 #31
sheshe2 Dec 2012 #42
malibea Dec 2012 #49
Bucky Dec 2012 #15
LTR Dec 2012 #17
neffernin Dec 2012 #18
amuse bouche Dec 2012 #19
Odin2005 Dec 2012 #20
Beacool Dec 2012 #21
Drunken Irishman Dec 2012 #28
Beacool Dec 2012 #29
Drunken Irishman Dec 2012 #30
Bodhi BloodWave Dec 2012 #67
Beacool Dec 2012 #70
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malibea Dec 2012 #69
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malibea Dec 2012 #72
StevieM Dec 2012 #41
Beacool Dec 2012 #50
StevieM Dec 2012 #51
Beacool Dec 2012 #52
bullwinkle428 Dec 2012 #23
SaveAmerica Dec 2012 #24
quaker bill Dec 2012 #43
malibea Dec 2012 #63
femrap Dec 2012 #56
closeupready Dec 2012 #25
Tx4obama Dec 2012 #32
pegasis Dec 2012 #44
femrap Dec 2012 #55
Beacool Dec 2012 #65
underpants Dec 2012 #58
underpants Dec 2012 #59
Ironblood Dec 2012 #68