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Lincoln ranked best president by historians
Lincoln Birthday Heal
Fritz Klein, portraying Abraham Lincoln, prepares to lead a candlelight parade from Lincoln's home, background, to the Old State Capitol during Lincoln Bicentennial events Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 in Springfield, Ill. Historians recently ranked Lincoln our nation's best president. - photo by Associated Press
List of presidential rankings

      Presidential rankings according to 65 historians and professional observers of the presidency surveyed by the cable channel C-SPAN. Participants ranked each president by 10 leadership attributes.

President                         2009 rank        2000 rank
Abraham Lincoln                 1                   1
George Washington            2                   3
Franklin D. Roosevelt          3                   2
Theodore Roosevelt            4                   4
Harry S. Truman                 5                   5
John F. Kennedy                 6                   8
Thomas Jefferson               7                   7
Dwight D. Eisenhower           8                   9
Woodrow Wilson                  9                  6
Ronald Reagan                   10                11
Lyndon B. Johnson              11                10
James K. Polk                     12                12
Andrew Jackson                   13                13
James Monroe                    14                14
Bill Clinton                          15                21
William McKinley                  16                15
John Adams                        17                16
George H.W. Bush                18                20
John Quincy Adams              19                19
James Madison                    20                18
Grover Cleveland                  21                17
Gerald R. Ford                      22                23
Ulysses S. Grant                   23                33
William Howard Taft              24                24
Jimmy Carter                       25                22
Calvin Coolidge                    26                27
Richard M. Nixon                  27                25
James A. Garfield                 28                29
Zachary Taylor                     29                28
Benjamin Harrison                30                31
Martin Van Buren                  31                30
Chester A. Arthur                  32                32
Rutherford B. Hayes              33                26
Herbert Hoover                     34                34
John Tyler                            35                36
George W. Bush                    36                NA
Millard Fillmore                      37               35
Warren G. Harding                 38               38
William Henry Harrison           39               37
Franklin D. Pierce                   40               39
Andrew Johnson                     41               40
James Buchanan                    42               41

On the Net:

      WASHINGTON - Just days after the nation honored the 200th anniversary of his birth, 65 historians ranked Abraham Lincoln as the nation's best president.

      Former President George W. Bush, who left office last month, was ranked 36th out of the 42 men who had been chief executive by the end of 2008, according to a survey conducted by the cable channel C-SPAN.

      Bush scored lowest in international relations, where he was ranked 41st, and in economic management, where he was ranked 40th. His highest ranking, 24th, was in the category of pursuing equal justice for all. He was ranked 25th in crisis leadership and vision and agenda setting.

      In contrast, Lincoln was ranked in the top three in each of the 10 categories evaluated by participants.

      In C-SPAN's only other ranking of presidents, in 2000, former President Bill Clinton jumped six spots from No. 21 to 15. Other recent presidents moved positions as well: Ronald Reagan advanced from No. 11 to 10, George H.W. Bush rose from No. 20 to 18 and Jimmy Carter fell from No. 22 to 25.

      This movement illustrates that presidential reputations are influenced by present-day concerns, said survey adviser and participant Edna Medford.

      "Today's concerns shape our views of the past, be it in the area of foreign policy, managing the economy or human rights," Medford said in a statement.

      After Lincoln, the academics rated George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman as the best leaders overall. The same five received top spots in the 2000 survey, although Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt swapped spots this year.

      Rated worst overall were James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison and Warren G. Harding.

       The survey was conducted in December and January. Participants ranked each president on a scale of one, "not effective" to 10, "very effective," on a list of 10 leadership qualities including relations with Congress, public persuasion and moral authority.

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