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Does Barack Obama believe he's the 4th-best modern president?

With nary a mention of Solyndra or Fast & Furious, Steve Kroft's recent 60 Minutes interview of President Obama was already one of the year's finest examples of softball, newsless thumb-suckers that lead the right to tar reporters as liberals.

Now comes yet another reason for conservatives to suspect Kroft: CBS edited out Obama's comment suggesting he's the fourth-best president of the modern United States.

"As you yourself said, Steve, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president -- with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR and Lincoln. You know, just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history," Obama said, according to a clip that never made it to broadcast.

MSM-bashing NewsBusters had a field day. A sample:

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your Obama. That's because in his not so humble opinion, he ranks even higher than John F. Kennedy. Don't feel so bad, President Kennedy. Obama also feels that his administration is better than that of Presidents Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan to name a few. 

Hey, Woodrow Wilson! You failed to get the U.S. Senate to vote for a treaty to join the League of Nations. That's because you lacked the up close and personal political skills of our Obama who is renown for shmoozing politicians. The administration of Harry Truman brought about NATO and the Marshall Plan that saved Europe? Boring! Obama used his incredible diplomatic skills to bring the Olympics to Chicago. Okay, he came sort of close to doing it but, hey, he bagged a Nobel Peace Prize for basically existing. Beat that, Harry! 

But it's not just conservatives who felt Kroft's interview was lacking.  The Atlantic autopsied the interview the best, noting how frustrating it is for serious reporters with serious questions to watch an interview like that squandered. But chances are good that, if the president's handlers knew Kroft was going to ask some truly uncomfortable questions, Kroft wouldn't have gotten the chance.

Were I an adviser to President Obama, I'd urge him to give his next exclusive to Kroft too, for there is a superficial toughness to his interviews. "There are people in your own party who think that you were outmaneuvered. That you were stared down by John Boehner and Grover Norquist and capitulated," Kroft says at one point. Later he notes that "You say that you rallied the country, but these poll numbers show otherwise. They show that 75 percent thinks the country's on the wrong track." As a political operative, these are exactly the sorts of questions I'd want the struggling politician for whom I worked to get, because it appears that he has volunteered to sit down with a tough interviewer, but actually he is being given an opportunity to offer free-ranging explanations for something that no one can deny: lots of people in America are unhappy with him.

Here's the NewsBusters' video, replete with Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 to ensure a Masterpiece Theater-like arrogance:


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Christian Haerle

Obama did not say he was the fourth best president. He referenced only two specific areas of the office of President of the USA.

What Obama said (according YOU)was:

"I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president -- with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR and Lincoln."

Obama was saying that among the presidents he was fourth best in two policy areas: legislative and foreign policy.

That is NOT the same as saying you are the fourth best president because obviously such a judgment would include ALL policy areas and not just two of them.

CFH in London

Deborah Mayasich

Could Obama actually believe this?? Or was he high? I think it's time for the commander-in-chief to pee in a cup.


He has been the 4th worst president!

Pat Andrews

Christian Haerle is right. Obama's comments are being blown way out of context by the "right" this article quotes. Saying one is the fourth best in two policy areas is entirely different from saying he's the fourth-best president. It's far from bending over backwards to pat one's self on the back, for that matter.

This article and the people it quotes are just doing a political attack.

Richard Allbritton

Being provocative is probably what Marc Caputo needs to do in this forum to keep his job. Let's face it; jobs can be hard to come by. However, here is what the Herald claims he is supposed to do: In this forum, he and others are supposed to scan "the political landscape in Florida offer you the latest news, along with their perspective and analysis."

Even the casual viewer and reader can see and hear that Obama did not declare himself the fourth best President in history.

Does this mean that Marc Caputo is a conservative, Republican, Tea Partier, and/or demagogue? Alternatively, does it mean, he was simply being provocative. What he wasn't doing was being an objective journalist. Is it okay to do journalism like this in order to keep a job? Nowadays, unfortunately, especially if you have a family, the answer is probably, yes.


ray king

Ahh, always the excuses. How about he just says "history will determine that" ? Not the chosen one.


Obama stinks and he knows it. He will tell any lie to get reelected.


Here we have an example of a certain cloud of arrogance that exudes and floats around him.

He doesn't recognize it, because he's inside that cloud, but it resembles that cloud that stuck to Pig-Pen in the Peanuts comic strip.


Just curious as to why you’re lying about what Obama actually said.

The full quote is this:

“The issue here is not going be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do.”

Legislative accomplishments? Any of those Presidents get something as big as the health care legislation passed in their first two years? The stimulus package that made the stock market DOUBLE in two years? Saving the American Automobile Industry? Did any of those Presidents get people as big as Bin Laden or Khaddafi in their first two years? Any of them close out a war that drained our coffers for 9 years straight?

But beyond that, he never said he was the 4th best… he said he did more. Guess what? He did.


Stocks are cyclical and would have rebounded much quicker if the failed stimulus that was paid out strictly to wall street and business cronies hadn't been done.
The auto industry should have been allowed to fail.... Bailing out G.M. by paying off the unions that elected him at the cost of the taxpayers and shareholders left holding worthless bonds was a huge mistake. Check the stock price trend of G.M. now, and there is rumor that they will need more money to stay aloat. No wonder, their electric cars explode and don't sell. Bin Laden's demise was more a result of good intel and better technology, all started during Bush. Don't even talk about the war - that ending was nothing more than a failure of negotiation skills. This is common knowledge. Look past your nose and wake up!


To the idiots who are trying to justify what Barack is saying....really! No he didnt say "I AM THE 4TH BEST PRESIDENT" but he may as well have, havent you ever said something in such a way. Barack isnt stupid when it comes to shadiness. So of course he isnt gonna come out and say hes the 4th best, what he will do is say it in a round about way. Hes a mastermind at what he does, and that is bullshitting. Hes perfected that now for the last 4yrs.

rick r

drug test this fool. He is rapidly making Jimmy Carter look like the 2nd worst president ever


It's sad when you have to tell everyone how good you are. The fact is this president is one of the worst ever. Forget the partisan BS,just look at his record. Almost no accomplishments. When you're the best everyone knows it. Youu don;t have to tell anyone.


Obama gives himself way too much credit. The future great President(s) will be the ones who clean up the messhe's made.


To the author; can you read? He very clearly used the term "modern," and while that's still inaccurate, your "point" about Jefferson just makes you look ridiculous. He looks bad enough simply based on the actual quote. Nobody respects idiot conservative journalists like you because you sensationalize everything. Let the quote speak for itself, don't feed into our already tarnished name as sensationalists. Good heavens, you are a joke, and it's people like you who ensure Obama another term. This is why no one takes conservatives seriously.


No matter how his quote was taken, how in the hell can anyone put LBJ as a great foreign policy president? -- He gave us Vietnam with a no win strategy. It's obvious that Obama has a massive problem with his narcissism. He now is a international joke.

Juan Dettwiler

Mr Obama did not say that he is one of the best.., anyhow he did not say if from the front or behind.
In what ex President Reagan concerns, at the time Henry Fonda said "that he was a bad Actor and would also be a bad President..", as a President he was a good actor...



Who cares what Henry Fonda thinks? Jane Fonda's father. Big Deal!!

Ilene Ashworth

Obama is not my president of choice. He is in fact an imposter. Reminds me of Bible times when the ungodly people demanded a new leader. They got exactly what they ask for and were miserable in the end. The people who are still defending Obama need to get their head out of the sand. Wonder if they know the definition of a narcissistic person. What a price to pay!


Check out this video...

His honorable Jim Dear speaks with Melissa McGinnis from Greenopolis TV about the 1000th trash truck to be ran off of liquefied natural gas, which services his community of Carson California. This momentous effort helps to keep the air clean by reducing green house gases and carbon, since the harvested gas from landfills burns at a much cleaner rate than regular diesel gas. http://youtu.be/rbhIiwtmUks


and just what would those accomplishments be? maybe if he actually fixed something i could give him some credit. the only thing done in his term so far is bin laden and that should be credited to the military not the person sitting in office at the time regardles of their party. no matter who would have been in office the same coments would have been said... you found him? kill him! is that something you really count as your accomplishment?

James R

The thing is, Obama took office after Bush so he already had some cleaning up to do.

Secondly, if you'd look at the context after you read the headlines, it says that he thought he was the fourth best in two fields. This is a damn huge difference from saying "I'm the fourth best president ever." Honestly, I sense a little bandwagon in the hate Obama train. I consider myself a liberal and I'm not Obama's #1 fan but I think he's done good. Even though you hate him, show him some decent respect. It's not like anyone wants to have angry conservatives knocking down their door and filling every niche with as much hate as humanely possible.

It's kind of funny though, how everyone that posted more hate towards Obama strangely overlooked this part of the news article:

"Steve Kroft's recent 60 Minutes interview of President Obama was already one of the year's finest examples of softball, newsless thumb-suckers that lead the right to tar reporters as liberals."

*Obviously* not biased in the slightest.

Jib Quinn

Is there room on Mt. Rushmore for another face? If not, there must be a way to erase that of one of the lesser Presidents to make room.

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