Time Magazine names its "Person of the Year"

There was no real mystery or drama as Time Magazine announced its "Person of the Year" Wednesday morning.

Barack Obama was the unanimous choice.

Could it really have been anyone else?

"He is a transformational figure," said Time's Richard Stengel as he announced the selection.  "He has done something extraordinary."

Obama, a man that half the nation said they had never heard of just two years ago, was elected as America's first black president.

Available on-line today and at news stands Friday, the "Person of the Year" issue says the President-elect was selected for "having the confidence to sketch an ambitious future in a gloomy hour" and "the competence that makes Americans hopeful he might pull it off".

The magazine includes never before seen photographs of Obama taken by a classmate at Occidental College in 1980 and an in-depth interview about the problems he will inherit along with the White House.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Chinese film director Zhang Yimoh, who organized the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing, were named runners-up.