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legacy

Historians rank Obama the 12th best president ever

Former President Barack Obama is ranked as the 12th best U.S. president in C-SPAN's new survey of presidential historians, The Washington Examiner reports. It is Obama's first time appearing in the rankings, which do not include presidents who are currently serving.

"Although 12th is a respectable overall ranking, one would have thought that former President Obama's favorable rating when he left office would have translated into a higher ranking in this presidential survey," historian Edna Greene Medford said in a statement.

Another historian, Douglas Brinkley, called Obama's appearance at number 12 "impressive." As Medford noted, his relatively "low" number could be because "historians prefer to view the past from a distance, and only time will reveal his legacy."

The presidents were also ranked on their individual skills. Regarding Obama, Medford wrote: "I am especially surprised that he was ranked at 7th in moral authority (despite heading a scandal-free administration); 19th in administrative skills; and 8th in economic management (despite having helped to save the auto industry and significantly reducing unemployment)."

The top five presidents are Abraham Lincoln in the first spot, followed by George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, with "the golden age of the American presidency, according to this survey, [being] 1933-1969," historian Richard Norton Smith wrote.

As for the worst president? That goes to James Buchanan, who saw seven states secede from the Union under his watch. See the full rankings at C-Span here.