December 17, 2008 / 3:17 PM / 10 years ago

Obama is Time Person of the Year; who are runners-up?

A handout photo shows the cover image of the December 29, 2008/January 5, 2009 double issue. Time magazine named U.S. President-elect Barack Obama the Person of the Year after he became the first African-American to win the White House. REUTERS/Shephard Fairey/TIME/Handout

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time magazine named U.S. President-elect Barack Obama the Person of the Year in 2008 after he became the first African-American to win the White House, but the real contest may have been for the runners up.

The other finalists were U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Chinese director Zhang Yimou, Time said on Wednesday.

“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,” the magazine said.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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