Bernanke, other officials among TIME's top people
TIME Magazine named Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke its "Person of the Year" on Wednesday, capping a remarkable year for the nation's top banker.
The magazine's timing couldn't be better, since the Senate Banking Committee will likely clear him today for another four-year term.
"He is not...a typical Beltway power broker," writes TIME's Michael Grunwald. "He's shy. He doesn't do the D.C. dinner-party circuit; he prefers to eat at home with his wife, who still makes him do the dishes and take out the trash. Then they do crosswords or read. Because Ben Bernanke is a nerd."
The TIME honor caps a year of aggressive media outreach by Bernanke in an effort to save his job and ensure the continued relevance of the central bank. In March, he gave the first TV interview by a sitting Fed chair to "60 Minutes" and in July he took direct questions from Americans during a PBS town hall meeting.
In addition to Bernanke's honor, several other government officials earned honorable mentions from TIME:
• President Barack Obama: "Under his guidance, the banks returned to stabilization, the economy began to grow again, and the American auto industry did not evaporate."
• White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: "His hallmark, beyond the salty language, has been a willingness to embrace the realities of legislative compromise."
• House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "She has consolidated more power than any other Speaker in modern history, scholars of the office believe."
• Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal: "McChrystal's assessment and his initial actions in Afghanistan demonstrated a sensitivity that his critics have not credited."
• Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor: "She was sworn in on Aug. 8, becoming the first Hispanic to serve on the nation's highest court, and provided one of TIME's buzzwords of 2009: 'wise Latina.'"
• CDC Director Thomas Frieden: "He made the controversial call in October to release the long-awaited H1N1 influenza vaccine in small batches as soon as they rolled off production lines."
• Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine): "These days, when she leans into a microphone to speak, ears perk up instantly."
• Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.): "Heckling a popular new Commander in Chief at a rare joint session of Congress has proved to have its perils and its benefits."
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| December 16, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
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