Time's Person of the Year: Obama Anointed 'Architect of the New America'

By Susan Jones | December 19, 2012 | 9:27am EST

Time magazine has named President Obama its 'Person of the Year' for the second time in four years. (Time Magazine cover)

(CNSNews.com) - Things aren't perfect, but "this is who we want to be," President Obama said in a Dec. 12 interview with Time magazine, which has just anointed him "Person of the Year" for the second time in four years.

"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. That’s a good thing. All right?" Obama told the magazine.

Time hailed Obama as the "Architect of the New America."

Elsewhere in the interview, Obama was asked about big government:

"Well, I’m not arguing for government to do more; I’m arguing for government to do more of the right thing," he said. "So I haven’t been arguing for greater government spending per se. I think it makes sense for us to spend less on wars and more on research and development.

"In sectors like energy, I haven’t been arguing for more spending per se; I’ve been arguing that it doesn’t make sense for us to spend $4 billion subsidizing an oil industry that’s mature and very profitable. We should be using that money to finance clean energy of the future."

Obama says his job as president is to deal with the "messy" here-and-now, while "tacking in the right direction."

"And you recognize...you’ll never arrive at that promised land, and whatever seeds you plant now may bear fruit many years later. So being able to project across a very long timeline while still being focused on the immediate tug and pull of politics ,I think is a useful lesson, and an accurate portrayal of how I think about my work day to day."

Obama said one of the proudest achievements of his first term is his commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights:

"I think I’ve helped to solidify this incredibly rapid transformation in people’s attitudes around LGBT issues — how we think about gays and lesbians and transgender persons. A lot of that just has to do with the fact that if you talk to Malia, the idea of making an anti-gay remark at her school is just unimaginable. They just don’t get that."

Obama says the United States is becoming a "more diverse and tolerant country that embraces people’s differences, and respects people who are not like us." He called it a "profoundly good thing."

Obama, asked about "criminal justice reform" in his second term, said he's a "law-and-order" man when it comes to violent crime.

"But there’s a big chunk of that prison population, a great huge chunk of our criminal justice system that is involved in nonviolent crimes. And it is having a disabling effect on communities," he said. "You have entire populations that are rendered incapable of getting a legitimate job because of a prison record."

The president conceded that he "potentially" would consider alternative sentencing for non-violent criminals.

The interview with Time's editors was conducted two days before the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which moved gun control to the top of Obama's criminal justice agenda.

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