Barack Obama is Time's Person of the Year

17:35, 17 December 2008
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While Mr Obama...

United States president-elect Barack Obama has been named as Time magazine`s Person of the Year, according to

The accolade is awarded annually to a man, woman, couple, group, idea, place or machine who has done the most to influence the year`s events, for better or for worse.

Mr Obama, 47, was named as Person of the Year for "having the confidence to sketch an ambitious future in a gloomy hour, and for showing the competence that makes Americans hopeful he might pull it off".

"In one of the craziest elections in American history, he overcame a lack of experience, a funny name, two candidates who are political institutions and the racial divide to become the 44th president of the United States," Time magazine said.

The four runners-up were named as outgoing US treasury secretary Henry Paulson, Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, French and EU president Nicolas Sarkozy and Zhang Yimou, the Chinese film director that masterminded the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

While Mr Obama was for many an obvious choice for Time magazine Person of the Year in 2008, previous years have been less easy to predict.

In 2007 then Russian president Vladimir Putin was chosen by the magazine, while internet users, the US soldier and George Bush (twice) had previously been named.

The magazine also infamously named Adolf Hitler as its Person of the Year in 1938.

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