Episode #24: Ranking presidents, facing frontrunners

In most cases, we know the difference between a good president and a bad one.  We re-elect the good ones and we send the bad ones packing.  But how do historians see them?  How does Harry Truman, for example, leave office with an anemic 23% approval rating and wind up as a “Near Great” president?  And if Truman can find himself so well regarded years after his presidency, is there hope for, say, George W. Bush?  Or even Richard Nixon?

Robert Merry, a longtime journalist with the Wall Street Journal and Congressional Quarterly, is author of the book, “Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians,” which rates all 43 presidents.  And he joined Political Junkie host Ken Rudin with his appraisals.

Bill Richardson had one of the fullest resumes of anyone who ever ran for president: governor, House member, Cabinet secretary, UN Ambassador.  Now we can add one more thing to his resume:  Guest on the Political Junkie.  In our “this week in history” feature, Richardson remembers the first Democratic presidential debate of April 2007, and talks about the difficulty in getting noticed when heavyweights like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are also in the race.

We close out the podcast by talking with Tamara Lush, an AP reporter in southwest Florida, about Tuesday’s Republican primary in the state’s 19th Congressional District to find a successor to Trey Radel, the incumbent who resigned in January following his arrest for buying cocaine from an undercover cop.


Additional credits:

Ken Rudin, Host and Executive Producer
A.D. Quig, Producer and Editor
Kristen Sorensen, Associate Producer and Business Manager
Douglas Bell, Web Producer and Videographer
Alex Drewenskus, Engineer


The Great Break-off (The Insider) / CC BY-SA 3.0
Faster Does It (Kevin MacLeod) / CC BY 3.0
All Over The World (Boogie Belgique) / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0Image Courtesy George Bush Presidential Library via Wikimedia Commons


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