On PBS's Charlie Rose Show: 'Obama Will Go Down as One of the Top American Presidents'

On his PBS show Charlie Rose brought on editors of the Financial Times to discuss various topics, including Barack Obama's legacy, and one of them boldly pronounced he could go down in history as one of the best presidents ever. Appearing on Wednesday's Charlie Rose show Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, predicted that if the economy grew at 3.5 percent in 2014: "President Obama will go down as one of the top American presidents."

That proclamation of greatness came after the CBS This Morning co-anchor expressed his concern for Obama's legacy, as Rose worried that the President was running out of time to see his "boldness...released." (video after the jump)

The following exchange was aired on the May 1 edition of PBS's Charlie Rose show:

CHARLIE ROSE: What do you think about President Obama?

LIONEL BARBER, FINANCIAL TIMES, EDITOR: Well I think he's doing a pretty good job. Look he won a - that election campaign that he fought? Brilliant. The grand campaign. He's got now a clean second run, second term. He's got one or two difficult foreign policy issues that are gonna loom in that second term like what to do about Iran, particularly Iran. That's off the radar at the moment. But I'd like to see, you know, can President Obama with the Congress, strike a budget deal this year. That's a big test for me.

ROSE: The interesting thing about him, from my vantage point, is that we know him, so far, you know and, and he clearly has been a practical man and a political man and that seemed to be his internal shaping compass. Yet, at the same time, he's a student of history and whether, you know, there is some boldness in him that, at some point, is released. The problem is it runs up against the 2016 campaign, about a year or so from now, you know after the midterm election.

GILLIAN TETT, FINANCIAL TIMES, ASSISTANT EDITOR: The other thing Charlie, I mean do you know what he actually stands for, in a second term?

ROSE: No, well I do know. I mean you know he's for immigration reform. We know his stance for that. You know because of events that circulated he stands for gun control. Because of horrors of Newtown.

TETT: But I would imagine if you asked the American people today, you know-

ROSE: What does he stand for?

TETT: -what is American, what exactly is a president gonna stand for in his second term, what is he actually really campaigning for, not against, many people would actually scratch their heads and ask. And it's still not entirely clear, to me, what he's really trying to achieve, in terms of legacy. Let's hope that Lionel is right and the legacy will be a big deal on, on the budget and the debt because that really would be a fabulous legacy.

ROSE: Yeah.

TETT: But-

BARBER: If we see 3.5 percent growth [in] 2014-15, no conflict with Iran, President Obama will go down as one of the top American presidents.

ROSE: Really?



BARBER: I believe so. If you think-

ROSE: Bring the economy back to 3.4? 3.45? 3.5?

BARBER: No, 3.5, 4 you know, if he-

ROSE: And somehow Iran gives up all of its ambition or-

BARBER: Solid economic legacy, growing the economy. No, no war abroad.

ROSE: Right.

BARBER: He will have brought the troops home. I'm writing a biography already.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.