The news magazine’s editors tapped Mr 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.”
Time’s 2004 Person of the Year package includes an Oval Office interview with Bush, an interview with his father, former President George HW Bush, and a profile of Bush’s chief political adviser, Karl Rove.
In an interview with the magazine, Mr Bush attributed his victory over Democratic candidate John Kerry to his foreign policy and the wars he began in Afghanistan and Iraq.
After a gruelling campaign, Bush remains a polarising figure in America and around the world, and that’s part of the reason he earned the magazine’s honour, said managing editor Jim Kelly.
“Many, many Americans deeply wish he had not won,” Mr Kelly, “And yet he did.”