Presidents: Best To Worst

Andy Rooney Takes A Look At A New List Of The Best And Worst Presidents

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.



The cable network C-Span put out a list of all our presidents in the order that they think was best to worst.

This is their list.

The ten best, according to them were: Abe Lincoln, first. I wonder if anyone ever called him just "Abe" when he was president? George Washington was second.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is listed as our third best president but I'm old enough to remember how many people hated really FDR when he was alive.

Teddy Roosevelt was fourth, Harry Truman fifth. Now that's another surprise to me. A lot of people didn't like Harry Truman, and didn't think he was much good. Of course he got elected so someone must have liked him.

I certainly couldn't name our worst presidents. I don't know enough about some of them to have an opinion.

The editors who did this survey talked to about 65 historians who ranked the presidents.

George W. Bush, our last president, was listed as 36th out of 42. Not too good. His father George was number 18. I wonder how they both feel about that? You wouldn't want to be ahead of your son but you wouldn't want to be behind him either. They both probably said it doesn't mean anything. It does mean something though.

James Buchanan was listed as our worst president - 42nd. He was our only bachelor president too. I guess no woman wanted to be first lady bad enough to marry him.

People are generally unfair to any president during his time in office or anywhere near it. They either like the president or they hate him and nothing he does or doesn't do, makes much difference to what they think.

I was a growing up when Herbert Hoover, number 34 on the list, was in office and my father hated Hoover because of the Depression. I don't know whether the Depression was Hoover's fault or not. It probably wasn't but it occurred while he was in office so he took the rap. That happens to presidents.

I watched everything both Bushes did when they were president and a lot of my friends thought they were the worst we ever had. I never really liked the George Bushes but I never hated them either.

I've always been a little critical of our democracy because of some of the presidents we've had. Democracy is a great idea but I've always thought we have a great president hidden somewhere in the United States and we've just never found him or her.





Written by Andy Rooney
  • Andy Rooney

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