Time magazine names Barack Obama its “Person of the Year” for 2012, after first giving him the honor in 2008. The issue includes a behind-the-scenes look at Obama’s re-election win, never-before-seen photos inside the White House, and a 48-hour Obama photo diary.
In Michael Scherer’s exclusive interview with the president, Obama reveals his immediate reaction to “Lincoln,” a film he screened with its star, Daniel Day-Lewis, at the White House.
Though he begins by saying a president should not compare himself to Abraham Lincoln, Obama falls short of fulfilling that demand for himself.
“What made [Lincoln] such a remarkable individual, as well as a remarkable President, was his capacity to balance the idea that there are some eternal truths with the fact that we live in the here and now, and the here and now is messy and difficult,” says Obama.
He then draws the inevitable comparison to his own presidency: “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.”
When asked if he felt like, viewing the film, he had just spent three hours with Lincoln, Obama replies, “Daniel Day-Lewis was sitting next to me, or right behind me. And so, even after the movie, I felt like I was still hanging out with Lincoln. He was masterful in that role.”