“In a year where world leaders were tested all through the year, no one was tested the way she was, over and over again,” Gibbs told Savannah Guthrie. “The threat to European peace and security really fell to her.”
The magazine bestowed the title on the 61-year-old world leader for the way she managed the economic crisis over the summer, and the way she’s currently handling the refugee crisis and terrorism threat looming over Europe.
“She has stepped up in a way that was uncharacteristic even for her,” Gibbs said. “She’s been a very long-serving leader, the longest-serving in the west. She controls the world’s fourth largest economy, but this year she really was tested in how she would respond to some of the most difficult challenges that any leader is facing in the world.”
Merkel is the first individual woman to receive the “Person of the Year” recognition since TIME changed its title from “Man of the Year” in 1999. Women, however, have been recognized as part of a group, such as last year’s winner, “Ebola Fighters.” Read more