Obama, McCain and Palin TIME Magazine Covers

All the TIME covers from the past year featuring Obama, McCain and Palin.

(Note: Updated to include November 3 cover.)

One of my commenters asked me yesterday about the coverage of Obama vs. McCain on the cover of TIME Magazine. I found conflicting reports online, so I decided to compile the information myself. There have been fifteen issues of TIME Magazine in the last twelve months with pictures of the current presidential and vice-presidential candidates on the cover. Here is the numerical breakdown of total appearances. (Note: On some of the covers two candidates appear together.)

  • Barack Obama appeared on 12 covers (all but three)
  • John McCain appeared on 5 covers
  • Sarah Palin appeared on 1 cover
  • Joe Biden appeared on zero (sorry Joe!)

I don’t know that this means anything other than TIME appears to be more interested in Obama than in McCain, Palin or Biden. But I did notice a few interesting things going through the various covers. For example, the May issue with Obama and Clinton on the front is titled There Can Only Be One: was this before or after people started calling Obama “The One?”

It is also interesting to compare the most recent October issue (Does Temperament Matter?) with the March 10 issue (Does Experience Matter?). The March issue contains two cover articles defending Obama’s lack of experience, one from a historical vantage and the other from a scientific viewpoint. Both articles argue that experience is not necessary to be president and may even be harmful! Of course, this makes for very interesting reading seven months later now that much of the media has accused Sarah Palin of lacking the necessary experience to be Vice President.

Here are all the covers. You can click on the title to go to the online issue or click on the thumbnail for a larger picture. If you find anything interesting, be sure to share it in the comments.

December 10, 2007 – The Contender
Barack Obama

February 4, 2008 – The Phoenix
John McCain

February 18, 2008 – The Struggle For the Soul of the Democrats
Barack Obama (with Hillary Clinton)

March 10, 2008 – How Much Does Experience Matter?
Barack Obama

April 21, 2008 – Raising Obama
Barack Obama

May 5, 2008 – There Can Only Be One
Barack Obama (with Hillary Clinton)

May 12, 2008 – The TIME 100 (The Most Influential People in the World)
Barack Obama and John McCain

May 19, 2008 – And The Winner* Is
Barack Obama

August 11, 2008 – The Economy
Barack Obama and John McCain

September 1, 2008 – Special Issue: The Democrats
Barack Obama

September 8, 2008 – Special Issue: The Republicans
John McCain

September 15, 2008 – The Education of Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

October 20, 2008 – Why the Economy is Trumping Race
Barack Obama

October 27, 2008 – Does Temperament Matter?
Barack Obama and John McCain

November 3, 2008 – 7 Things That Could Go Wrong on Election Day
Barack Obama (tiny, but he’s still there in the upper corner)

Related post: TIME Magazine Says Experience Not Necessary to be President!


  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    THANK YOU. I get TIME magazine – a gift subscription from my father-in-law. I read it and WORLD magazine, and figure that I get a pretty balanced perspective between the two. I thought TIME was covering Obama shamelessly as their champion and now…I see it in your blog, that the covers support my thinking! Shame on TIME for being so unbalanced. They truly have been pushing one candidate over the other. If I didn’t read other sources, I never would have learned about McCain and Palin to the same degree TIME taught me about Obama. It is a magazine that can’t be a sole source of information.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Sharon – It is pretty amazing to see all 14 covers at once with Barack only missing from three.

  3. LivlyRed says:

    And numbers 12 and 15 with the halos around his head are priceless.

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    LivlyRed – You know what? I never even noticed that. How come McCain, Hillary and Palin don’t get those glowy things around them? 🙂

  5. Joe User says:

    Maybe Time will go the way of Life Magazine. I encourage you to drop any subscription you may have to it.

  6. Jennifer Ruyle says:

    I am deeply saddened by John McCain’s passing. As someone who was raised as a liberal Democrat in the California’s East Bay Area, I became disenchanted with that party as I witnessed first hand the ineffectiveness in their policies in the helping poor, disenfranchised people they claim to represent. I later moved to Arizona, and was impressed with John McCain’s willingness to work across the aisle, his commitment to good governance, and his embodiment of the values that underlie civil society.

    When he ran for president, I contributed to his campaign to the fullest extent allowable for an individual. I remember being horrified when I googled my name, and the first thing that came up about me was the fact that I contributed to McCain’s campaign. At first I was afraid that I would be ostracized by my liberal family for contributing to Obama’s opponent. However, I knew it was the right thing for me to do, and I continued to support him in subsequent campaigns.

    My question for this blog: Whatever happened to the Time magazine cover that came out during the 2008 campaign by Annie Leibovitz that portrayed John McCain with a very white face and blood dripping out of his eyes? To me, that was one of the ugliest examples of political hate speech in history. I wonder if Time magazine is proud of that moment.

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