Abraham Lincoln, who would've turned 208 this week, just got a nice little belated birthday gift. He was rated as the best president in the history of the United States in a ranking released by C-SPAN Friday.
The top four has been set in relative stone each time C-SPAN has surveyed the historians after an administration has ended. The historians ranked Lincoln No. 1, George Washington second, Franklin Roosevelt third and Teddy Roosevelt fourth. Dwight Eisenhower catapulted into the top five for the first time after being ranked eighth in 2009.
The ranking is formed using the opinions of presidential historians. They're asked to rate each president on a one to 10 scale on key components of presidential leadership: "Public Persuasion," "Crisis Leadership," "Economic Management," "Moral Authority," "International Relations," "Administrative Skills," "Relations with Congress," "Vision/Setting An Agenda," "Pursued Equal Justice for All," and "Performance Within the Context of His Times."
For a president who just finished his time in office, former President Barack Obama ranked unusually high. He was pegged at No. 12, just ahead of James Monroe and just behind Woodrow Wilson. George W. Bush ranked 33rd.
"Once again the Big Three are Lincoln, Washington and FDR — as it should be," said historian Douglas Brinkley, who helped guide C-SPAN's research, to CNN. "That Obama came in at number 12 his first time out is quite impressive. And the survey is surprisingly good news for George W. Bush, who shot up a few notches."
Other notables include John F. Kennedy at No. 8, Ronald Reagan at No. 9 and Bill Clinton at No. 15. The worst president of all time? That black mark goes to James Buchanan, who finished with just 245 points in the rating system. For context, Lincoln finished with 906.