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Wednesday, November 09, 2011, 03:40 pm PT (06:40 pm ET)

Steve Jobs could be first posthumously-named Person of the Year

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was nominated to be Time magazine's Person of the Year, and if selected could could become the first person to be posthumously awarded the distinction.

It was announced on Wednesday that the late Jobs was nominated by "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams to be Time's 2011 Person of the Year, something that the magazine has never done, according to CBS News.

Williams led the annual panel debate in New York, along with Time's Managing Editor Rich Stengel who noted that the publication has "never actually chosen a dead person" as Person of the Year. Panelists included actor Jesse Eisenberg, Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers, lawyer and professor Anita Hill, lobbyist Grover Norquist, and chef Mario Batali.

"One guy, who changed our world, and I said to Seth Meyers as we walked across Sixth Avenue, 'Just look with me on this one block walk at how he changed the world around us. Look at how he changed the world,'" Williams said during his nomination speech. "'Oh the places you'll go' and oh the way you will change forever the music and television industries. So may he rest in peace, Steve Jobs, and the spirit he represents, are my nominee for Person of the Year."

Besides Jobs, notable nominees inlude U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, the late Tunisian fruit vendor credited for starting the Arab Spring Mohamed Bouazizi and lead organizer of the uprising in Cairo Esraa Abdel Fatah.

Much of the debate focused on whether a deceased individual should be given the distinction, with Eisenberg saying that doing so would be akin to the Oscars giving best director to someone who just died when they really deserved a lifetime achievement award.

However, it seemed Jobs was the leading contender in the debate as Batali and Norquist both agreed with Williams' nomination.

“The smartphone has changed the world as much as the Bible has,” Batali said.

Jobs has been previously nominated for the honor, coming up short last year to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

Time's Person of the Year will be revealed in December.