After a grueling campaign and a second election win behind him, Bush remains a polarizing figure in America and around the world, and that's part of the reason the magazine selected him, said Managing Editor Jim Kelly.
"Many, many Americans deeply wish he had not won," Kelly said. "And yet he did."
Bush, tapped in 2000 by Time, joins six other presidents who have twice been named the magazine's Person of the Year: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower (first as a general), Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Franklin Roosevelt holds the record with three nods from the editors.
The 2004 Person of the Year package, on newsstands Monday, includes an Oval Office interview with Bush, an interview with his father, former President George H. W. Bush, and a profile of Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove.
Bush was recognized for "reshaping the rules of politics to fit his 10-gallon-hat leadership style," according to Time.
The magazine's editors recognized Bush "for sharpening the debate until the choices bled, for reframing reality to match his design, for gambling his fortunes and ours on his faith in the power of leadership."
Bush attributed his victory over Democratic candidate John Kerry to his foreign policy and the wars he began in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The election was about the use of American influence," Bush says in the Time article.
Continuing: "I think the natural instinct for most people in the political world is that they want people to like them," Bush said. "On the other hand, I think sometimes I take kind of a delight in who the critics are."
Asked on ABC's "This Week" how Bush reacted when he learned of Time's decision, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said the president was "not worried about what pundits might be saying."
Card praised Bush as a "great liberator" for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and lauded Bush's tax cuts, education and Medicare reform packages and plans to remake Social Security.
Other candidates included Moore and Gibson, "because in different ways their movies tapped in to deep cultural streams," and political strategist Rove, who is widely credited with engineering Bush's win. Kelly said choosing Rove alone would have taken away from the credit he said Bush deserves.
Kelly said Bush has changed dramatically since he was named Person of the Year in 2000 after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency.
"He is not the same man," Kelly said. "He's a much more resolute man. He is personally as charming as ever but I think the kind of face he's shown to the American public is one of much, much greater determination."
This is the first time an individual has been named since 2001, when then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was celebrated for his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The magazine featured the American soldier last year; in 2002, it named Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who wrote a critical memo on FBI intelligence failures, and Cynthia Cooper and Sherron Watkins, who blew the whistle on scandals at Enron and Worldcom.