PoliticsNation | February 18, 2013
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>>> well, it's president's day. a day when we're hit with some of the tackiest tv ads of the year. but it's also a day when we think about what makes a good president. when we think about what we want from our commander in chief. after all, it's an elite group. we live with these presidents on our tv sets in our living rooms every day for years. they're a strong presence in our lives and they lead to some pretty strong opinions, too. should reagan be on mount rushmor? a lot of republicans think so. should obama be on rush mor? we've talked about that, too. we know this president has his eye on history. he's talked about lincoln as a role model and he's drawn lessons on both what to do and whatnot to do from the presidents of the past.
>> doug, you're a part of a select group of historians who have regular dinners with president obama at the white house . how important is history to this president's thinking about his job and his agenda?
>> well, it's unbelievably important. he reads all of the relevant backs, whether it's on eisenhower, f.d.r., l.b.j. he likes to converse on all of these presidencys. you learn about the mistakes and also the advantages that other presidents had. now, lincoln is loved by barack obama because no matter how badly he might have it with congress, lincoln had it worse. i mean the country just being ripped apart.
>> u now, a survey came back saying number one was lincoln , two, washington , three, f.d.r., four, teddy roosevelt , five, truman. now, what do all of these presidents have in common? and what does that tell us about where president obama might ultimately end up?
>> all of them have a huge amount of self k69s. they believe in their own gain. you also have to communicate well with the exception of true man, who wasn't that good with media, you know, theodore rose roosevelt was extremely good with cartoonists and novelists and poets. lincoln , writing such eloquent pieces as, you know, the gettysburg address , able to communicate the emotions of the time to the american people . washington was different because
he was first: wae wa came in and didn't know what foreign policy he should be. should he be doing business with britain? he didn't know how to organize government. that's why washington usually follows lincoln as number two.
>> now, even republicans give president obama credit for being a great communicator.
>> yeah, and i particularly think that last -- the second inaugural barack obama is going to be quite famous.
>> and also on the state of the union address . this last one was very well written. some day, somebody could do a book on the speeches of barack obama .
>> no, w, if you look at a comparison, a tale of two presidents , you compare the president and his predecessor. president obama is ending two wars. president bush started two wars. president obama got bin laden , bush lost bin laden . president obama got 63,000 private jobs, president bush lost 63,000 jobs. so if you compare him to his predecessor, yes, a lot of people think he is well on his way to being on a list of great presidents .
>> obama care is in mid course. it's going to be a huge accomplishment. and i think president obama has not gotten enough credit for the bailout of general motors . it came out a lot. but that was a pivotal moment when he saved the auto-industry. i think that also might be a big part of a legacy that will keep him ranked towards the top of the presidents .
>> clearly, a good portion of these would only further underscore the top-ranked presidents .
>> you know what, reverend, presidents have this revisionism. everyone is looking at dwight eisenhower lately.
>> professor, thanks for your time tonight.
>> thanks. happy president's day.
>> same to you, sir.
>> ahead, why every day should be president's day, no matter what your politics. next. all