For nearly seven minutes, CNN asked the question that no one else is asking: “Obama: One of the Best Presidents?” That was the banner as CNN anchor Don Lemon and two guests debated Obama’s legacy, despite Obama’s approval ratings hovering around 42 percent.
The impetus for the segment was a recent Rolling Stone piece by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman entitled “In Defense of Obama:” “Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history.”
Neither CNN guest was willing to give a full-throated endorsement of Obama as one of the best presidents ever, but CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein certainly came closest. “Saying one of the most successful ever is pushing it,” he said. “I think history will see Obama as a consequential president, both politically and substantively.”
“I think the Affordable Care Act is going to be really the pivot of his legacy…” he later added. “And he does have the potential… to expand coverage to over 20 million people without health insurance by the end of his term, maybe even 25 million without health insurance. If that endures, I think that is an enduring lasting change in the American safety net that he will be remembered for.”
Meanwhile, Conservative Black Chick’s Crystal Wright pushed back. “I don’t know whose record Paul Krugman is looking at, but it can’t be Barack Obama. I think the President will go down as one of the most unsuccessful presidents when it comes to foreign policy and Obamacare.”