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Lincoln tops C-SPAN presidents ranking

  |   Feb. 15, 2009 at 8:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Abraham Lincoln received the top grade in a ranking of U.S. presidents by 65 presidential historians conducted for the cable TV public affairs channel C-SPAN.

George Washington, the nation's first president, came in second in a review based on 10 aspects of leadership, C-SPAN announced Sunday. Washington was followed by Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

The top five all ranked in the top five as well when the survey was last conducted in 2000, although Washington moved ahead of Franklin Roosevelt for the second spot in the 2009 ranking.

Former President George W. Bush was ranked 36th while former President Bill Clinton moved up to No. 15 from No. 21. Ronald Reagan moved up one spot to No. 10, George H.W. Bush went from No. 20 to No. 18, and Jimmy Carter dropped from 22nd place to 25th.

The roster of historians participating in the ranking -- which was conducted in December and January and released to coincide with the Presidents Day holiday -- included Douglas Brinkley, Richard Norton Smith, Robert Dallek, Edna Medford, Stephen Hess and Lou Cannon.

"As much as possible, we created a poll that was non-partisan, judicious and fair-minded," Brinkley said, "and it's fitting that for the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln that he remains at the top of these presidential rankings."

Presidents were ranked for such considerations as public persuasion, moral authority, relations with Congress, crisis leadership and international relations.

The bottom five overall were Warren Harding, William Henry Harrison, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan.

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