Obviously Barack Obama is the Person of the Year, for Time and probably anyone else for that matter. Who knows, considering the state of the country he is about to take over he may very well turn into the Person of the Century. At yesterday’s Time Person of the Year luncheon (watch video highlights here) convened to discuss such matters ‘iron man’ panelist Brian Williams (he’s the longest running panelist) said that Obama matches “every qualification that we have [in the POY] book” and that “we have but one choice.” Elizabeth Edwards said that it was too early to award the man Obama (he may very well be POY next year) but felt it was more what he represented.
The interesting part, however, was that at (Obama’s) Person of the Year lunch almost all the talk was about the economy. Suze Orman, in her deep commanding (somewhat frightening) way, informed the audience that in terms of the tanking economy “we haven’t seen anything yet” (at which point the Time exec behind us grabbed our arm in not so fake panic). Later she suggested that perhaps the Wall St. types and the American consumer should be nominated in a “negative way” as the ones that have “honest to God, not just changed the economy of the United States but have brought down the economy of the world.” Then she said “Shame on you!” (quite loudly, in fact). Also, apparently Orman was the person fellow panelist Seth Meyers called for advice on whether to buy an apartment — the answer is no, see earlier statement re: we haven’t seen anything yet. After which, Brian Williams explained to us why he had his blackberry strapped to his chair so that he could feel it vibrate.
Turns out it was because the markets were so volatile yesterday that BriWi felt that there was a good chance he would have to leave on a moment’s notice to go report on it. Later he suggested that President-elect Obama may do well to initiate some sort a works program a la Roosevelt and then proceeded to read to us from his blackberry (video below, apologies for the sound quality!). Also, there is apparently no love lost between BriWi and the mylar mirror “You” cover of 2007, he suggested this coming year may be a walking back and lament of the focus on self that that cover celebrated: “In 2009 we have to hand out black curtains for a shiva on your mylar mirror.”
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Seth Meyers advised future presidential candidates to perhaps consider not choosing a running-mate who looks “like one of the most famous comedy writers in America.” And later Rep. Artur Davis said that the election of Obama likely will “reinforce our sense of country…the story may be that we are closer than we’ve ever been to being whole.” Also, the food was excellent.
- Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Mark Thompson Talk Advertising and Family Legacy at the Times
- Gabriel Sherman Talks Fox News and Roger Ailes at New America NYC
- An Afternoon Dishing With Martha Stewart
- AFAR Conversations: Media Pros Talk Tourism