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February 18th, 2008
05:51 PM ET

Picking a past president to lead?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the candidates continue to battle it out on the campaign trail today – President's Day – they all have their eyes on the grand prize: becoming the 44th president of the United States.

With 70% of Americans saying this country is headed in the wrong direction, it's clear the country is hungry for a leader who will change course from the past eight years and get us back on track. Of course, while looking forward, sometimes people also look back – remembering the past as better, more prosperous or easier times.

A new Gallup poll asks people if they could bring back any U.S. president, living or dead, to be the next leader of this country who it would be. 23% of those surveyed said John F. Kennedy. 22% said Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton was next at 13%, followed by Abraham Lincoln at 10% and Franklin Roosevelt at 8%. The current president, George W. Bush, 1%. Less than a rave review.

The possibilities this time around are exciting if for no other reason than the possibility of electing the first woman or the first African-American president ever. But what if we could turn back the clock?

Here’s my question to you: If you could choose any former U.S president to lead this country now, who would it be and why?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Elliot writes:
Eisenhower. He had the experience of someone who actually was in a war, yet had the vision to warn about the corruption of a military industrial complex. Ike was a fairly non-partisan president and he would turn down the hateful politics that we suffer through these days.

Joe writes:
Kennedy was a great orator but too inexperienced to be president. Witness the Bay of Pigs fiasco which nearly brought us to nuclear war. Roosevelt would be too big government for today. Bill Clinton had it about right.

A. writes:
I'd choose Harry Truman. He knew right from wrong, didn't split hairs. Although he was a man of faith, he didn't use it for his advantage. He made tough choices (the A-bomb in Japan) to cut down the length of the war and the number of U.S. combat deaths. If he made a mistake, he admitted it and then corrected it. He didn't hide behind "executive privilege" or put his know-nothing cronies in high positions.

Ted from Denver writes:
While I am a Democrat, I too would choose either of the top 2 from the poll (JFK and Reagan). The poll shows the popular desire to have a president who inspires us to be a better nation and instills the belief that it is possible regardless of ideology. Isn't that at the very heart of what it means to be a leader?

Duncan from Lexington, Kentucky writes:
I would go with Theodore Roosevelt. A staunch conservative, an environmentalist, and a proponent of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Let's have a president willing to actually lead, like he did when taking the Rough Riders up San Juan hill.

Sameer writes:
How about George Washington? I think this country needs to look at its roots and reconnect with what started this great nation. No better than the original architects. Washington urged his countrymen against excessive party spirit and geographical distinctions. I think we need a reminder of both right now.


Filed under: 2008 Election
soundoff (422 Responses)
  1. gerry

    bill clinton of course

    February 18, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  2. thelma

    JFK and Bill Clinton. thats why we need to put Hillary Clinton in the whithouse in 08. With her and President Bill Clinton could clean up (bush'b) mess. that was the good days. when we didn't have to worry who was taking care of us. the younger generation don't give a dang. they think everyday is party time....vote clinton 08....... thelma lancaster,ky.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  3. Jim Bloom

    Abraham Lincoln. He fought for a united country and at this time, when we are so divided, we need somone who has principles and is a unifier.

    Jim
    Chicago, IL

    February 18, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  4. Patricia

    Bill Clinton, Because I felt that this country was moving forward. Everything that the Republicans represent is a throw back to the Dark Ages. The War in iraq is Dark. The War in Afghanistan is Dark. People not earning what is their true value, is Dark. Trying to take rights away from women is Dark. Trying to take rights away from people of color is Dark. John McCain as a candidate for President is Dark.
    I don't want to go back into the Dark Jack, I say bring Bill back!!!
    Patricia,
    Palmdale, Ca.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  5. Peter Whiteley

    I have to say Bill Clinton. He was one of a few politicians who seemed to understand what it was like to live on $20,000 per year with 4 kids and many of his policies took that into consideration. Unfortunately I don't think Hillary communicates the same sentiment. If you people would throw out that stupid rule which does not allow anyone to serve more than 8 years I believe MR Clinton would still be president. The American people should be able to decide how long someone can serve 1-100 years not some timeable

    February 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  6. David, Tampa, Fl

    Not one but a combination of Jefferson and Honest Abe. I believe they were decent guys that did well under trying circumstances along with FDR. It would be hard to pick one to deal with the mess this country is in from decades of Republican and Democratic rule and nattering nabobs of liberal and conservative war at the expense of "We the People."

    February 18, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  7. tina Texas

    George Washington. He knew how the English and their religion did to politics and he knew that was not the way too go and as you see religion is trying to get their bed back in politics.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  8. Mike Smith, New Orleans

    I think Franklin Roosevelt could probably clean up this financial mess and restore our country to full employment. He was attacked by conservatives for his social programs, just like Democrats today are attacked. But his programs worked, and to this day they help stabalize our economy and prevent economic chaos such as the Great Depression. But in this political climate, he would be 'Swift Boated' righty off the campaign trail.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  9. Robert Las Vegas

    F.D.R.although he was a Democrat he pulled us out of the depresion,formed the C.C.C.and got a lot of infrastructure installed.We need a desalintion plant built on the west coast to help with the water problem on Lk. Mead.All our roads and bridges need an upgrade TheWPA was not the best of programs,BUT IT WORKED.I voted Rep.for the last 54 years but the last 7 years have turned me OFF.VIVA INDEPENDANTS.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  10. Nina Tyler

    Forgot to add where I am from I would pick Bill Clinton in a heartbeat!!!
    Nina
    Arkansas

    February 18, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  11. Mike McKibben

    I would have to pick President Kennedy because when times got tuff during the Cuban missile crises, he got this country through this potential mess without starting WWIII. When it came to inspiration and uplifting the country, Kennedy used his position as President better than anyone since President Franklin D Roosevelt. He set goals for this country to achieve, like the space race to the moon, that brought this country together for a common goal not unlike that during WWII.

    Mike McKibben
    Lady Lake, Fl

    February 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  12. Wise old owl Mckinney, Texas

    I would not wish that burden on anyone. There is no way to compare today with yesterday. It will not bring back lives lost and it will not solve anything.Those former presidents did not have what we have today nor can we go back to just what we had then. We can learn from the past and can try and anticipate the future but we can't predict it nor should we even try. The best we can do is take one day at a time and at the end of that day hope that the politicians that we have entrusted our hopes and dreams and futures in do not fail us. Face it Jack, voting for a president is very similar to believing in God. You just have to have faith!

    February 18, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  13. Tom, Avon, Maine, The heart of Democracy

    FDR; he had what Senator Obama has, the guts and determination to right the ship of state. And Eleanor Roosevelt was every bit as good as Michelle Obama, every bit. Eleanor said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." I wish the Obamas and America every success, but I doubt we'll see the like of the Roosevelts again. They were God's gift in our next to darkest hour.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  14. Ern

    Theodor Rosevelt ! He was the only president that had America thinking about America and could care less about trying to resolve other countries problems. It it benefited the American people go for it. If it didn't Who cares.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  15. Josh

    I think an combination of John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton is needed. With these two running this country, they could fix a lot of what the Bush Regime has done as well as undoing Gitmo, warrantless wiretaps and the such. It is sad that the current Administration would rather use fear to make people give into their inane and potentially illegal demands. Jack, it may take every past President to undo the destruction that George W. Bush has unleashed not only on this country, but the world as well.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  16. Jim Galvin

    Let's pretend that we're four years from now and "bring back Obama".

    February 18, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  17. Terry North Carolina

    Jack
    Dont laugh, I would chose Dick Nixon, with a strong economic person as his VP along with Henry the K as his secratary of State. There was no one better with foreign policy than Dick Nixon, his only problem was he wanted to be King.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  18. Bill, Quarryville, PA

    Jack if it was me I would pick Harry S. Truman. He was a president who was not afraid to make decisions that a new was right but not popular. He dropped the bomb on Japan be cause it would save America millions of lives. He fired a war hero for disobeying his orders. They came down hard on him for that one but later on in history he was proven right. He was a president who wouldn't use double talk to save his butt. He was a man that you knew exactly where he stood when he talked. He was the man who made the phrase the buck stops here popular. That in itself should tell you a lot about the man and his character. I was just a baby when he president, but he was the man that made me interested in reading history.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  19. vic

    past president would be jack kennedy or roosevelt, franklin

    February 18, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  20. W B in Las Vegas

    Jack,

    it would definately be Theodore Roosevelt because he busted the monopolistic corporations in Oil, Manufacturing and Transportation that were robbing working people and was a friend to labor which allowed workers to form Unions and lead to the rise of the great Middle Class in America. he also formed the Food and Drug Administration which gave people some assurance that their food supply was safe and was a great early conservationist who stopped the wholesale destruction of public lands by the mining and lumber interests.

    considering the amount of power major corporations and their lobbyists now have in Washington, we could use another Teddy Roosevelt NOW!!!

    February 18, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  21. Evan FL

    The main show horse: JFK

    February 18, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  22. Mical / Mpls. Mn.

    Jack, It would have to be JFK. The younger generations already feels the excitement by Sen Obama that brings and the older generation felt it previously w/JFK. JFK was an influential leader with the same charisma that Sen Obama brings to the table. That's a magnetic trigger to bring parties together – because everybody wins & moves in a positive direction (and Lord knows this country needs it now more than ever after these last 7 years)

    February 18, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  23. Kasabubu Cheltenham, London, England

    Nobody's mentioned Tony Blair!

    February 18, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  24. dan, NY

    My choice would be John Adams. Here was a man who believed in LEADING, something this country hasn't seen in it's elected officials for quite some time. He didn't take the country's pulse in order to know where he should stand; he took it to see how much work he needed to do in order to convince the people his position was right. What a concept, eh?

    Dan NY

    February 18, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  25. JC Topeka, KS

    Time and a place, today, Bill Clinton. We have lost respect around the world, economy is tanking. Eight years of Clinton ended better than 18 months of George W. Bush. Truman had his day, Kennedy was the man for the times as was Lincoln and FDR. Today it would be Clinton.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  26. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Jack,

    No question, either Gerald R. Ford or Ike, they brought civility to our world, something we are in dire need of today. However it would take a second coming of Jesus to restore civility to you folks in the drive-by media!

    February 18, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  27. Thomas, Tallahassee FL

    Someone like Thomas Jefferson, who would actually remember that we have a constitution to follow.

    February 18, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  28. ajks

    It would be Abe Lincoln. Lincoln lived with the wounded soilders instead of the White House for a large part of his service to this country. If he had not been killed, he had learned so much about all of the people that he governed while he was in office that the minorities of our country would not have suffered so much for the next 150 years. I believe that he would bring distinction to the office of President today.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  29. C.N. , West Fargo, N.D..

    I have two choices who are very much alike so it's hard for me to choose. President Kennedy and President Clinton. They were both so much alike in their thinking and what they wanted to do for the people of this country. They actually cared about the citizens of this country, they were genuine. They were both very intelligent people. They were the "people's president.s."

    February 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  30. Derek, NJ

    Jack, the way we are in today's world right now, it seems that we need to put an end to war and to start all over again. We would need someone like George Washington to get us out of a mess and restore the constitution, along with checks and balances back into this country. He would be ashamed of what is going on with this nation and its current problems.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  31. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    Lincoln, Clinton, Truman, Kennedy, Roosevelt - jeez, Jack, you do ask tough questions!

    But as a member in good standing of the ultra conservative right wing fanatical retards (UCRWFT) I submit the name of Hoobert Heever -er, ah, Hebert Herverr - damn, whoever he was – wasn't he a stamp collector or something before he saved the nation? No more restrictions on capitalism!!! Down with common sense!!! Fanaticize!!!

    Hold me back, Jack, I'm on a roll.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  32. Teri - Leesburg VA

    We need an FDR for 2 reasons
    1. to make the hard social decisions and implement more humane programs.
    2. The US people loved him – elected 4 times.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  33. Scott

    harry truman, he had the balls to use the big bomb,
    and it got results.

    bowling green,mo.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  34. Keith from Irving, Texas

    JFK – Last time I really felt we had a leader.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  35. Doug from Bloomington IN

    Hey Jack
    We have to bring back Harry Truman, my main political hero. I'm not the first commentor to suggest this. However, Truman's appeal is that throughout his life, he always took a licking and got right back up and started fighting again. Sure, his political career was bouyed by old fashioned machine politics, but once he was in position, he had the guts to stand up for what he believed and tried to act on it.
    Truman was also willing to change his mid when he was wrong on an issue. Where has that concept gone in the political arena?

    February 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  36. Jed from Chico, CA

    I think FDR would be the best man for the job, even in this day and age. That was a president who knew how to bring about change and progress through unity and consensus during a time of war and a challenging economic situation.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  37. Kevin, Ohio

    We should definitely pick a dead President to lead this country since he does not has any life in him to do anything. That way we can watch the country continue its course and become a third world country like any other. This will surely give Americans something to think about and they will be facing a few dilemmas third world countries are currently facing. In doing so, Americans will look at it as a wake up call and every citizen will make an effort in making this country better than how it is today.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  38. Dylan

    FDR, JFK, Bill, and Abe. In that order. I hear alot about the "evil" Republican party, and even though I'm technically a Democrat, I still have to say that it's not the Republican party that's evil, the original ideas are almost what this country was founded on: small government, small taxes. The problem is with modern Republicans who distort "Republican" to "conservative." Who am I talking about? That's right: Down with Reagan and his followers.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  39. Joy-Morrisville, NC

    John F. Kennedy of course! He rallied the American people, it would be nice to remember what it feels like to have the people represented instead of Corp. America. Oh, for the good ole days!!!!!!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  40. Harry

    Without a doubt Bill Clinton, he paid down the debt, created a surplus after Regean and Bush letf this country in bad shape. Had some of the best relations with world leaders and was well respected around the world. But the best question is who is the worse President in the history of the U.S.A that would be none other then george bush.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  41. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    I just couldn't resist. Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the driving force behind FDR's domestic policies, would be my first choice.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  42. MICHAEL BURNETT L.I.N.Y.

    JACK' once again you are asking a simple question, JOHN F. KENNEDY is without a doubt the best president that this country has ever had. The sad part about that is the fact that he did not even get to finish out his term. What does that say about the rest of the president's that did, some even had two terms and what do we have to show for that, Please dont get me started!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  43. Bob from Traverse city Michigan

    With the legacy of greed,incompetence, dishonesty,and death this administration will be leaving behind this country is going to need somebody to restore it's peoples faith in its government once again. That person would have to understand that is what his purpose is at this moment in history and he would have to subjegate his own and his partys agenda to do what was right for the country and it's citizenry. Gerald Ford was the right man at the right time after the last disgraced republican administration, and he would be the man to restore this countrys faith in decency once again.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  44. Will Kerslake, San Jose CA

    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life."
    -Teddy Roosevelt

    He'd get my vote.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  45. Bruce St Paul MN

    I would pick Franklin Roosevelt for two reasons. First, his relationship with the business leaders of his day was always give and take. He was pro business, as long as the big shots acted in the best interests of the country at large. He needed and enlisted the help of business leaders to get his programs and his war to work out. Secondly, he had a conscience. Her name was Eleanor. She was the ultimate lobbyist. She lobbied on behalf of the poor, the unemployed, the hungry. She gave power to their voice and kept after her husband to get things done. Maybe we should reinvent the role of the first lady along those lines, instead of the hostess-decorator-pet project role that has evolved. (Or devolved)

    February 18, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  46. David Richards

    The last President to lead this country through a global crisis was FDR. I don't agree with his liberal socialist agenda but he fixed the depression and he won WWII. It was over by the time he died so I don't give Truman any credit. Weak Democrat and Republican presidents got us into the depression. It took a bold democrat to get us out. Obama needs to fight McCain by reminding Americans that if we stand together we have "nothing to fear but fear itself". Obama can unite us. McCain and Clinton divide us.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  47. Mark

    FDR, Clinton, Carter, or ... Lyndon Johnson (without Vietam). Most people forget (or try to not remember) that LBJ was the one who got the civil rights bills passed, plus a ton of anti-poverty legislation. It was NOT John Kennedy – he did little except get us through the Cuban Missile Crisis, which his failed Bay of Pigs invasion might have partly triggered.

    But through the media lens, JFK has become the great president, anyway. He was mostly style and scant substance – it appears however, that many Americans value that combination – I have no clue as to why.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  48. DON, MICHIGAN

    Bill Clinton. Period. The great uniter. And if we can't have him, I will happily settle for his wife!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  49. HOFFMAN

    I am writing from German:

    JFK , because he "was a Berliner", and with this, saying that he was embracing even his former enemies!

    Today, there is only one person who is prepared to reach out and who will unite people from all backgrounds, countries and colours and this is: Senator Obama

    February 18, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  50. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Anybody Jack? The answer is simple. Thomas Jefferson. He abhorred large centralized government. The government belonged to the people. Get it Jack: The government belogned To The People. Cool concept huh?

    February 18, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  51. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    The country is so badly damaged that we would need two of them: Eisenhower and Kennedy. Eisenhower, because he would get us out of that BS in Iraq as quickly and sanely as possible, and Kennedy so he can rebuild the economy to what it was in the mid 1960’s. Although both of them would do it with tears in their eyes.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  52. Beth from Michigan

    I would pick Thomas Jefferson, because he was a free thinker and would be able to stand up to the religious right who have been making themselves so obnoxious of late. Then we could make some progress with stem cell research and other areas that have been repressed over the past 7 years.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  53. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I would have to agree with Alan Greenspan when he said something to the effect without quoting, that Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon were the best presidents to work with because they both understood economics in ways that no other president understood. Sure, they both had scandal, but it's about what they brought to the table.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  54. Christina; Plano, Tx

    Don't tell Bill Clinton, he only got 13% percent. The poor guy would lose it for sure. As to the question, a combination of FDR and Jimmy Carter sound good sprinkled with a bit of Ronald Regan – just a little bit of Regan though.....

    February 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  55. Richard in Denver

    I would have to say F.D.R. I am old enough to remember him, and the things he did for this country. I remember the W.P.A. which constructed things like military bases and I remember the Civilian Conservation Corps which put people like my uncle to work in maintaining our national parks. There was also the Tennessee Valley Authority which built dams to provide electricity to many people. Many of the people he put to work would probably have starved if not for these and other programs his administration instituted. He also started the social security program which, even though it goes through lean times, provides for many of us today. Try to imagine what it would have been like if the Republicans (like a George Bush) had been elected. He also brought our country together in world war 2. with his words like "WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF" Imagine something like that from W.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  56. onenibble

    JACK, The Clinton years were very good years. Bill Clinton had his personal problems but he was a super president for the people. Obama's message of hope blows away in the political winds but Hillary is the "MAKE IT HAPPEN" candidate.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  57. James in Cape Coral,FL

    Jack,
    How about Presidential hopefulls? This country missed out on a huge opportunity the day Bobby Kennedy was shot. There is alot of well deserved hype over JFK but what about the things his brother invisioned for this country. If I had to choose between 43 Presidents I would pick the one who could have been great, the one who never was.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  58. Bill from Tennessee

    I wholeheartly concur with everything Bill from Quarryville, Pa, said about Harry Truman, I could not say it any plainer than he did about Mr. Truman. I am currently reading "Where The Buck Stops. The Personal and Private Writing of Harry S. Truman". A fascinating read and a real insight and perspective on the Presidency. He not only knew how to be President, he knew what a President was supposed to do and he did it.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  59. Jim

    Thomas Jefferson because it would be good to have a person who understood the Constitution of the United States and one who understood that the greatest threat to individual liberty and freedom comes NOT from terrorists and the like but from an unrestrained out-of-control federal government.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  60. john

    Eisenhower, because he knew how to work accrose the isle with the great speaker Tip O'neal and Republican leader Everret Dirkson.
    You see Jack, these leaders were leaders they did what was best for Americans not themself"s.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  61. Paul in Atlanta

    Ronald Reagan with out a doubt 4 years of Hillary or Obama and everyone will be screaming for Bush.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  62. James

    Bill Clinton – Jack this is obvious as this was one of the most prosperous periods in our history. That is why we need Hillary to get in and clean up after yet another Bush.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  63. Justin

    We are in this position because of Bill Clinton. I don't believe Bush is taking us in the right direction, but Bill Clinton is just as much to blame – cutting the military, cutting intelligence funding, not getting Bin Ladin when he could. It is always easy to look back at a President in a positive light that for 8 years fostered evil throughout the world towards the US but just happened to not be in office when it all went down.

    I am an Eisenhower fan.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  64. Eric Tall

    It would have to be Bill Clinton of course; not because he who he was but moreso the times that were associated with his Presidency; rising employment, good jobs, lower deficits and happier times ahead. Unfortunately it seems now that whomever assumes the role next year, everything will moving in the opposite direction.

    I think either McCain or Clinton could get us on the right track as each has worked across the aisle in the past. Let's hope!

    Eric
    Toronto

    February 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  65. Richard Houle

    My choice for bringing back a former president would be Harry Truman. At least he knew where the buck stopped.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  66. Mark Entwistle

    Eisenhower, He warned about foreign entanglements. I bet he could figure out how to deal with these zealots blowing everything and everybody up.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  67. Debra

    Without hesitation, Bill Clinton. He eliminated the national debt once, and his wife, who is as (or more) competent than he, can do it again.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  68. Scott

    Thomas Jefferson – if you have to question why, do some research. Here's a hint – the US Constitution.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  69. Bob

    Like some others have said, I'd pick Thomas Jefferson. At least he knows what the Constitution is... better yet, he was there to write the thing and would know better than anyone else what they actually intended with it.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  70. Joe

    Jefferson – we need someone who actually believed in smaller federal power and more states rights.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  71. karen

    Why wouldn't we take one from the past, at least it would a sound choice given their record and accomplishments. The current one has done absolutely nothing to point this country in the right direction!
    We are becoming a laughing stock to a lot of different countries.
    The Clinton's have it, together or past separately.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  72. Dave

    Bill, so let's get on with it!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  73. Mary

    If I could turn back time I would choose Lincoln so I could see my great grandfather drive Lincoln via horse and buggy to the 1st Lincoln-Douglas debate. 🙂

    Mary from Florida (ex Illinois resident)

    February 18, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  74. Santo Leo

    Good ol' Teddy Roosevelt.

    Everyone has seemed to of forgotten about him, but he was a great reformist and progressive today while pushing the "green movement", not only that but he was an ideal American hero, and he truly knew how to work big stick diplomacy vs. bush's 21st century spin.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  75. Gary Eiserman

    None of the above. All those past presidents got us to these troubled times. We need new blood, not old dried up blood.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  76. Dave

    How about the Continental Congress? I'm not sure how much positive impact a president can have but we all know what they can do to screw things up. I'd rather bring them back and have them see what's happened to this dream of theirs. The side benefit being they could finally put the 2nd Amendment issue to rest.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  77. Chris Allison - Pittsburgh, PA

    I would choose Harry Truman. He knew how to protect our country and was a fiscal hawk. He didn't care what people thought and was not full of himself. His job was working for the people of the United States. He always took responsibility for his actions in saying, "The Buck Stops Here."

    February 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  78. Scott in Boston

    No love for Chester A. Arthur?

    February 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  79. Cindy

    I would like to see Bill Clinton re-elected into office. The period of time spent under former President Clinton was a prosperious one. We were not in a borderline recession, and the jobs were becoming plentiful. Bill Clinton for President is what I say.

    Cindy–Gladstone, MO

    February 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  80. Sallie

    Bill Clinton. Paid down the debt, choice, economic growth and US pride.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  81. JonPeter

    Dwight Eisenhower, with enough time to get up to speed on history and current politics. Dwight was a more than capable military leader and a moderate who warned us of the dangers of the military-industrial complex. With his experience I think he could lead us away from the quagmire of current US foreign policy, make the military realize they serve the citizens and return to a more moderate leadership style not beholden to the extremes of liberalism or conservatism.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  82. Dan in DC

    The Bull Moose, Theodore Roosevelt. We need a good mix of no-nonsense foreign policy, strong environmental conservatism, progressive social reforms, and tough anti-corporate interest policy to weather the challenges placed on our country and make sure the United States is a place worth living in for future generations.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  83. Jeff

    Ronald Reagan without a doubt. He defeated the USSR and gave people a reason to have Pride in America again.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  84. Dee

    Grover Cleveland and Chester A. Arthur with a little visit from Jimmy Carter should make McCain the power runner we need in this country.
    NY, NY

    February 18, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  85. Stephen

    The two Roosevelts are at the top of the list of Presidents in both foreign and domestic policy. I would go with TR, whose domestic policy experience fighting big business speaks more to current problems than FDR's experience with the Great Depression.

    And give him LBJ as vice-president, to help move universal health care through the Congress. But keep him away from foreign policy!

    Of course, Madison might be better suited for the challenge of rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan. He's one of the most brilliant political thinkers in history, after all. Federalist 10 and 52 should be required reading in high school.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  86. rhymekseema

    If you want Bill back, vote for Hillary!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  87. Tyrone, Boston MA

    Woodrow Wilson – kept us out of WWI for as long as he could until he had absolutely no choice, and understood what it meant to send American boys to war and to bring them home.

    He also created the Federal Reserve, created the FTC, and implemented a progressive income tax and lower tarrifs.

    The guy understood what it meant to be the Commander-in-Chief and the Economist-in-Chief, and he generally knew how to work with Congress (League of Nations debacle notwithstanding)

    February 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  88. Bob

    James Madison...he had more insight into how to help set up a nation then most people realize.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  89. Bob

    Bill Clinton would be the only past president that I could consider, When you thinks of the prosperity that we enjoyed during his tenure He lead this country and had to continue to fight with the republicans all the way, and still done a better job than any of them could do.

    Bob

    February 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  90. Jerry Wilson

    The guy that got us out of the great depression, established Social Security, reformed the stock market, and banking systems. and led America through WW11. Just to name a few of Roosevelt's accomplishments. Of course there's the guy who ran up a three trillion dollar debt, and led us through the war with Grenada. And Reagan was a nice guy, but he just didn't have the challenges FDR had.

    Jerry Wilson

    February 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  91. Jorge from Monterey California

    Jack,
    That will be JFK!!!
    but I can tell you something else.... anyone but Clinton!!!!!! Anyone!!!!
    We have the opportunity to choose a president like JFK let the politics of the past stay on the history books!!!!!!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  92. Ty

    Although he wasn't a president, he should have been: Barry Goldwater. Or JFK, because he was young, handsome, and was assassinated, so everybody loves him

    February 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  93. Josh

    Nixon of course!
    🙂

    February 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  94. Jim Flores

    Teddy Roosevelt had the superficial bluster that so many Americans love today, but he also had the brains to understand the long term implications of conservation and economic policies that allow a veritable open season on the public domain such as we face today.
    We need a leader who understands the difference between fascism and true free market capitalism, and that the problem is seldom too many capitalists but too few.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  95. new york

    thomas jefferson – to a bishop of the catholic church in 1802 "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their "legislature" should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."

    I like a man who values the constitution above his own principles

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  96. matt

    Theodore Roosevelt. Nobody used the bully pulpit like Teddy.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  97. davidbdc

    Teddy Roosevelt was a champion of American and the American people.....Abe Lincoln made the tough unpopular decisions.......George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are Giants of our origin.....Throw in Andrew Jackson for some flair and bring them all back!!!! We need them all!!!!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  98. Richard McAroy

    Ronald Reagan.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  99. Mike

    Ronald Regan – We are a stronger country because of his administration

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  100. Steve in Melbourne, FL

    I would have to go with James K. Polk. A generally underrated President who was able to successfully get done what he set out to do, helping to expand the country in the process. He was able to successfully balance the budget and lead our country through war. Plus, he does have experience in being able to bring the country back up following the Presidency of a largely criticized and incompetent predecessor.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  101. Ryan, Miami

    I think we should bring back William Henry Harrison. I feel he would have been a great president had he lasted more than 30 days, which is exactly how long GWB should have lasted. Let's have Harrison take another chane, and for Pete's sake bring a coat this time.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  102. Britton

    I would have to say Bill Clinton, he was a great leader and left office with a $8 trillion surplus. Too bad that was destroyed by the great commander in cheif we have now.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  103. Tara

    If I were an American I would want JFK to be back in the White House.

    The United Stated needs a JFK or a Pierre Elliot Tredeau (Canada's Greatest Prime Minister).

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  104. Craig

    hands down in a runaway, Harry Truman.

    The buck (really did) stop there!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  105. Zipper

    Millard Fillmore. He did nothing when nothing was the thing to do, then disappeared from history.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  106. Paul in DC

    Abraham Lincoln:

    Less experienced than Obama,
    Less educated than Huckabee
    Less ideologcally coherent than McCain
    More divisive than Clinton

    However, he had a vision of what America could be, the practical intelligence to see the world as it was, and the political abilities to work with us to bring it about.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  107. Trent Hamm

    James K. Polk. Our next president needs to have a low profile and actually speak through accomplishments, not rhetoric. Polk accomplished a lot of amazing things in his presidency that shaped America, but he didn't bother with the flowery speeches and thus isn't remembered as a "great" president today. Give me another Polk, not another Reagan or Clinton.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  108. Bill fm Texas

    Bring back: President Dwight D Eisenhower. Honest, strong, shunned being in the spot light. Loved his country. Warned us of the mess we are in today with Military-Industrial-Congressional complex now in full control. We were warned but here we are.
    Bill

    Texas

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  109. Charles, Houston

    Bill Clinton hands down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  110. Doug

    Millard Fillmore

    Just because I like the name...

    NC

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  111. Diana

    FDR...and here is why.History has a way of repeating itself.
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president while the nation was in the depths of the Great Depression. Prior to his election, factories closed, farms faced foreclosures, banks failed and unemployment soared. He gave back to our discouraged nation a sense of faith and hope, stating in his Inaugural address, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
    Roosevelt is known for creating the New Deal during the Great Depression of the 1930s to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy and reform of the economic system. He energized the Democratic Party and initiated the Social Security System. He ended isolationism and worked closely with allies during World War II.
    Despite his great achievements in history, Roosevelt had his naysayers. Some businessmen and bankers turned against Roosevelt’s New Deal program. They disliked that he had taken the nation off the gold standard and most of all, were appalled at his concessions to labor. His response was an enormous work relief program for the unemployed, Social Security and heavier taxes on the wealthy. It is doubtful these actions would have flown in the recent past.
    Roosevelt tried to avoid war when Hitler attacked Poland in 1939 but doubted America could stay neutral for long. The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor followed by Germany’s and Italy’s declarations of war against the US brought us into World War II. But from war, Roosevelt set the foundation for the United Nations and hopes for lasting worldwide peace.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  112. bobby frank

    i would like to bring back Ronald Reagan who would be run out of town because his policies would not hold up to the conservative litmus put forth by the Limbaugh crowd today.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  113. Steve

    Jack,

    It sure would NOT be Bill Clinton – disgraced the Presidencey. It would have to Reagan and/or Lincoln.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  114. Steve

    I read through approximately 20 comments, confirming my belief that the country is still infested with stupidity. This country needs Bill Clinton again like Custer needed Geronimo ( I know, he already got Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse). Maybe Hillary will be elected and give us the equivalent of all three plus Cochise.
    Steve
    East Williston, NY

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  115. Ed in Connecticut

    FDR! I'm sick and tired of Bush/Cheney's "Be Afraid...be very afraid!"
    (and surrender your liberties to us to be safer...trust us!). We need a president who really believes in the greatness and strength of America and can say, with conviction, "All we have to fear is fear itself." This attitude got us through a depression and defeated Fascism. If our leaders let us, it will take care of Al Qeda as well.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  116. Joseph

    anybody but Bush pleaseeeeeee. Michael Jackson would be a better president.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  117. Vinodh

    Bill Clinton Ofcourse...........

    February 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  118. Roger Lund

    Truman. This president was not afraid to go after corporations who raped the American taxpayers with excessive and inflated prices during WWII.

    We need someone with that courage to go after the Halliburton's and others who have squandered taxpayer money on waste in Iraq. Billions and billions of wasted dollars. They should be treated like other traitors are: to the gallows!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  119. Rob

    Bill Clinton, of course...not a saint, major draft-dodger, not probably someone I'd like as a person, i.e,. invite over for dinner, etc..., but, he got things done, pure and simple...no deficit, american servicemen and women weren't dying for a war that was lied about, strong economy, fairly solid diplomatic relations with most of the world....just a very effective administrator.....

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  120. Christopher in Indiana

    Bill Clinton!!! I have voted for G. W. Bush the last two elections and am kicking the crap out of myself for it now! The Clinton years were the most prosperous years of my life and the best financial years this country has seen for a LONG, LONG time. So what he had some "personal issues" and maybe some pretty big morality issues...like George Walker doesn't!!! I think Hill's gonna do a FINE job and I can't wait to see a woman in the White House! I wouldn't mind seeing John Edwards as her VP either! Let's go Democrats! And I'm a LONG time voting Republican and now ashamed to admit it!!!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  121. Ryan Ruzich

    I would say JFK. I am only a college student right now, so I was not even a glimmer in my parents eyes when he was elected. When Kennedy was elected, it was a changing of the guard from one generation to the next, and I feel that this is where we are now. To me Barack Obama is that change, and is exactly why I will vote for him, he is part of the next generation that will lead this country and have the unfortunate job of cleaning up after the "conservatives" that left this country in shambles. Clinton may have trashed the White House, but Bush trashed the entire country.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  122. Steve Paschal

    William Henry Harrison!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  123. JDA

    Abraham Lincoln. I think the inscription on his memorial pretty much sums it up:

    In this temple, as in the hearts of the people, for whom he saved the union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln, is enshrined forever.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  124. Howard Cihak

    None of them. The challenges of 2008 are different from any in the past. We need as our next President someone who's prepared to meet those challenges without the burden of his or her past battles. For the sake of our country, we need our next President to break through the political stalemate and help re-establish bi-partisanship. That's our only hope for real progress and candidates with old enemies still seeking to even the score won't get that chance.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  125. Don

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt should return from the grave to be President...again. Elected four times, he was a man who loved the United States and had the wisdom to lead it successfully through the most trying period in our country's economic history AND through the most important war in the history of the world. Kudos to Mr. Roosevelt for demonstrating extraordinary capability as the leader of the free world.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  126. james sheehan

    I WOULD DAY THAT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT WOULD BE THE MAN...HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN OFFICE GO WAY BEYOND WHAT A LOT OF OTHER PRESIDENTS DID...HE BROUGHT US THROUGHT A DEPRESSION AND A WORLD WAR....THIS WOULD BE NOTHING FOR HIM...AS IN ALL PRESIDENCIES THE PEOPLE HE HAS BEHIND HIM ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE PERSON RUNNING THE SHOW...

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  127. John Moyer

    I'll say Grover Cleveland. At least he's been through it before; i.e., was elected, then defeated and elected to a second non-consecutive term.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  128. Ken Mather

    I'd have to go with Garfield. The way I look at it, even a talking cat can do better than what we have now.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  129. Amparo

    Bill Clinton of course. no need to say more.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  130. Jacqui Odell

    George Washington, of course. Who better to take it back and get it started right all over again? We need old school back in this country, and we need it yesterday. I'm 38 and still have never registered to vote, and don't plan on it for at least the next four years. No candidate has been worth my time to register thus far. Not with what they've spewed to my fellow Americans, no way.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  131. Chris, Jacksonville

    Jefferson.....although in today's idiotic climate he would be too unelectable because he was a free thinker. The right-wingers would never stand for anyone who would not kiss their butts.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  132. RH

    With permanent trade status with China, GATT and NAFTA international free trade agreements, it took a few years, but now we all see its results with all the manufacturing jobs gone offshore but it was all Bush and Bill Clinton. Why do we want him back? You or your neighbor probably lost thier job because of Clinton. I thought manufacturing base states like Ohio, MI an PA would have little support for Hillary, are we all really that forgetful of who caused all this?

    February 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  133. Nick from Harrisburg, PA

    Why not make it Morning Again in America...bring back Ronald Reagan!!! He brought us out of the Carter years when we had a misery index, rationed gasoline, and a "crisis of confidence." If anyone could make Americans feel good to be Americans again, it is Mr. Reagan!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  134. Bill

    As is so often the case, we must re-visit the lessons of history lest we pay the price of repeating past mistakes. During a time of war and economic uncertainty during which the very principles of our democratic republic are under seige from the government formed to protect them, we need a president of integrity, courage, and values. We need a man who did not surrender to fear nor flee from adversity. A man who saw the presidency as a humbling honor, not a stepping stone to personal glory or power. A man who recognized that the government's role was to protect the rights and freedoms of men, not to dictate their daily affairs. We need a strong president to fight out foes abroad and limit the power of government at home. We need George Washington.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  135. carol

    While normally I don't think it is good to revisit the past, if we had the chance to have a past president back in the saddle, it would be Bill Clinton. We didn't have a war and we didn't have the financial problems we have under this administration.

    I'm voting for Hilary because I believe she was involved in Bill's presidency, and we need her experience and perspective. In addition, we'll get Bill: two for the price of one.

    Bill Clinton cleaned up the first Bush's mess, and I believe it is going to take both Clintons to get our country back on the right track after the last eight years.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  136. Tom Raskopf

    William Henry Harrison. We need a President who will have the courage to die 31 days into his/her term. Seriously, I think this would help demonstrate the complete absurdity of the 2 year campaign cycle. It's not that I want any of the current candidates to win then almost immediately die, but I think the shock to the American political landscape might do us good. That and...this is a patently ridiculous question to begin with and it deserves an equally ridiculous answer.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  137. Tom at GT

    I wouldn't bring anyone back for another term. It's time to look forward, not backward. I don't want things to be as good as they were in Clinton years, I want them to be better. I'll take a president who will aim higher than ever before while making a few mistakes along the way before I'll take someone who will try to make things only as good as they were.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  138. Bill

    Teddy Roosevelt – "Walk softly and carry a big stick". And he had a feel for the environment that no subsequent president has had.

    US ex-pat – N. Ontario, Canada

    February 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  139. thesaj

    I'll second the following pair:

    Abraham Lincoln (President) / Thomas Jefferson (VP)

    This would truly be an excellent pairing, their differences would offset the areas they were over-zealous.

    FDR for "Secretary of State"

    February 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  140. jj`

    Bill Clinton, with everything that the republicans tried to pin on him, he and Hillary came thru it. He left office with money for Bush to squander. Isn't it funny how people chose dead presidents and then Bill Clinton? If Hillary is elected, he will be her sounding board just as she was his. They worked as a team. You get two minds for the price on one. I have no doubt that she would make the final decisions. She isn't new to the polical arena. She wasn't a sit at home wife who volunteers for good causes. She wanted to get into the middle of things.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  141. Ryan

    Calvin Coolidge – He obviously didn't get enough time to secure his legacy!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  142. Adam

    The idea of looking back is kind of counter-productive; we need to get away from these dynasties. But seeing as this is just an exercises I think I would have to go with JFK. Granted his father was a politician as well, but this country needs the kind of energy JFK had. We need to get all the people off the apathetic box and back into caring about our government. A government by the people and for the people requires the participation of the people. I think Obama's success is a tribute to that, and its why I selected JFK for this exercise.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  143. Tim Woolsey

    Abraham Lincoln – he was confronted with the worst crisis this country has ever faced – the possible disintegration of the union. He made mistakes, but he had the humility to learn from them. He also had the self confidence to bring dissenting voices into his Administration. We need a non-partisan leader of his stature to level with the American people and help us face huge problems that have been left to fester for 20 years.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  144. Rosemary, Syracuse NY

    Bill Clinton, because he brought us peace and prosperity and enjoyed world-wide respect, which still remains. He captured, tried and convicted and sent to prison the first terrorists to bomb the WTC! We would be fortunate to have him back in the White House!! Only the Republicans revile him because he did what they could NOT and are scared to death that Hillary will bring back BILL, and together they would clean up the mess that Bush '43 has dumped on us!!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  145. Lawrence Leichtman

    Thomas Jefferson because he was a forward thinker and embodied the very ideals this nation was founded upon. He could have adapted to present day situations easily.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  146. Ed Doughty

    Bill Clinton, by all means. He kept the economy strong - even built up a surplus - kept us out of war - and other countries loved the guy & were more trusting of America back then.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  147. Rich

    Teddy Roosevelt without a doubt. I don't know how people can say Bill Clinton – he was no better than average at best. We need someone to level the playing field and take on the special interests that are ruining this country to make a fortune for themselves.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  148. Joanne

    Of the modern presidents, I would bring back Bill Clinton. Like all presidents, he made mistakes and we know what those were. That being said, he was a pragmatist; he was able to rebalance the budget and produce a surplus, even with a Republican Congress. He kept us out of major wars, was pursuing Bin Laden and understood the fine line between maintaining security and eroding civil liberties. I would also bring back someone who should have been President, Alexander Hamilton. In many ways, he was more the father of our modern US government than Washington, particularly our banking system.

    Joanne, Arlington, VA

    February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  149. Marty, Buffalo NY

    Dwight D. Eisenhower. Many people refer to the time that he presided over as the golden age. He was never really recognized for what he did. Under him we had a strong economy, no war, and advancement in civil rights. He didn't bring us Nafta, debt, unnecessary war. He even warned us against the military industrial complex. He was a strong experienced leader that really made this country great. I'm sure if he was alived today, he'd be disgusted by what this country has become.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  150. Bob, South Carolina

    We should re-elect FDR. He showed great restraint involving this country in a war that did not directly affect us. He also had the vision to look "outside the politcal box" to come up with solutions, however temporary to help solve economic issues in our country. I don't agree with all of the interanl policies that he implemented but at least he tried things to help the country turn around on a much better path than it was when he took office in 1932. All I see out of the Presidents today, including the current set of sheep running is they do what is best for the political interests of themselves and their party, no matter whether it is good for the country or not.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  151. Radha Garg

    Bill Clinton - family income tripled under Clinton.

    4 layoff under Bush 1
    6 under Bush 2 and family incomed halved.

    While this may sound selfish - it is a tale that rings true of many people.

    So much for Obama denouncing the politics of the last 16 years and taking us back to Reagan / Bush 1 era 😦
    He is denouncing the last 16 years instead of last 8 – just for political gain. A uniter not a divider? Denouncing politics as usual?
    Then how come he is happy to take advantage of Hillary's bad name even though it is – in his own words – through no fault of her own?

    February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  152. cc, Chicago

    Thomas Jefferson.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  153. Eric Schwamberger

    Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican and a progressive from a time when the Republican party was a progressive party. T. Roosevelt was successful in delivering strong foreign policy (winning the Nobel Peace Prize), strengthening US positions throughout the world through diplomacy, but was also a war hero. He successfully addressed economic problems related to those of today, in banking, lobbying, and undue corporate influence in state and federal politcal processes. He also ensured fair business competition by breaking apart monopolies (including those in energy), benefiiting both business inetrests and consumers.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  154. Brian

    This country needs to get its head out of the its past(bet you thought I was going to use a different spot) As soon as someone is dead or out of office they become a GREAT LEADER! How about one of these leaders that will do for the American people like they do for the rest of the world, start giving us some of our money to repair what they've broken. as Billary said ,GIVE ME A BREAK!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  155. Tim

    FDR – No better president to end a war and bring in the right type of government programs.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  156. George

    I would not choose any past President to lead this county now for the simple reason that the circumstances that prevailed when they were in office, do not prevail today. Laws have changed, Cabinet members would be different, issues are clearly different, and the world is not the same as it was for each of them at the time they served. Moreover, the composition of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the American voter has changed. American society has changed, the world players have changed, and the challenges that each past President faced were influenced by a multitude of factors that made each term a success or failure. History cannot be rewritten.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  157. Ben

    Kennedy was not a good president. Lincoln had the political astuteness necessary to work his way through a divided, literally and metaphorically, nation. Yet it is impossible to imagine how any former president (before say, 1960) would have handled things currently with the growth of the military industrial complex and the rise of globalism. An older president would also be astonished to find the amount of debt we hold and how we import a majority of goods.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  158. Tom in Federal Way, WA

    Without a doubt it would be Ronald Reagan. He 'led' the nation as a President should. The economy was good under him. My 2d choice would be John Kennedy but he'd be a Republican today with the way the Democratic party has changed. And if I couldn't have either of them, I'd choose Dwight Eisenhower or Richard Nixon. Eisenhower was a true leader who knows (knew)what war is about & would do the right action on Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. Nixon was brilliant on foreign policy and would easily get out of Iraq and Afghanistan with diplomacy. Recent President's like Clinton and Bush 2? No way in he*&!! And Hillary in the White House as President!!?? God help us all if that occurs.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  159. Dave in Houston

    Seeing the current state of the Constitution of the United States, I'd like to see its father brought back. James Madison for President!

    I guess most people thought the list was restricted to those men who were elected president AND got to serve. I still think Al Gore would make a fine President.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  160. don

    JFK, certainly.
    Here was a man who really could connect with the average American and empathize with those in need. How long has it been since there's been an ounce of empathy for middle Americans who really understand what it's like to struggle in this country?
    The problem is that the poor and middle class so frequently embrace these candidates who don't know what it's like to work a hard day of labor or to struggle to feed their family. If you can't find a candidate who can do that, then our ills will always remain and those special interests and corporations will be the only ones truly served in this country.
    Uninsured? Unemployed? Some will say it's your fault. But until we can reach a time in the United States where we quit blaming and start fixing, we'll never be on the same page.
    Yet those who need the changes most refuse to stand up and support a candidate that really knows the struggle that the average person faces. We're told to shut up; the economy is doing wonderfully. Unemployment is down. The media echoes these sentiments in the worst way. Then we drive down the street past the factories that shut down, the homes with 'For Sale' signs after being repossessed, the shop on the corner that went out of business...straight up to the gigantic SuperCenter that all roads lead to. Full of products not made in this country.
    Yes folks, until we find someone who actually CARES about the average American and who will acknowledge their struggles, the middle class will continue to dissipate and will eventually be completely wiped out of existence.
    Because until such a time when the middle of the country is strong, we will NEVER be completely and truly strong. Just because a handful of people have riches beyond our wildest comprehension doesn't mean that the person in Michigan who lost his job, has no health care and a pregnant wife has a shot at that 'American Dream' we were always lied to about.
    And for all the bellyaching about CHANGE, Americans can't seem to grasp the concept, can they? McCain represent change? Hardly. Not on his BEST day. Hillary as change? All hail the Bush/Clinton dynasty...where change is 2 steps forward and three steps back. History repeats itself. If we want history repeated, let's go back a couple of decades, not a couple of years.
    Don
    Dayton, Ohio

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  161. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,I would choose The greatest ,Ronald Reagan.He was able to restore pride in the nation when we needed it most,lord knows we need that now.He was great uniter and won the cold war,and starred in some really good movies and some really bad movies,but what does an actor know about politics!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  162. Ryan Ruzich

    I would say JFK. I am only a college student right now, so I was not even a glimmer in my parents eyes when he was elected. When Kennedy was elected, it was a changing of the guard from one generation to the next, and I feel that this is where we are now. To me Barack Obama is that change, and is exactly why I will vote for him, he is part of the next generation that will lead this country and have the unfortunate job of cleaning up after the “conservatives” that left this country in shambles. Clinton may have trashed the White House, but Bush trashed the entire country.

    Ryan Ruzich,
    Duluth, MN

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  163. John A.

    Thomas Jefferson wouldn't be a bad one to lead us. He'd certainly would take us back to a form of government envisioned by our founding fathers instead of one that it too big, corrupt and doesn't have the people in mind.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  164. Rev. Dr. Arthur Bergren

    My vote would go for Theodore Roosevelt. He understood that we cannot ignore the world. His foreign policy engaged the world of his day and age. In addition, he addressed the social ills and injustices of the early 20th century. His leadership could not be defined as liberal or conservative, but active engagement with both domestic and foreign policy. We need just such a leader for this day and age.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  165. Keith

    Bill Clinton!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  166. Mischelle from Illinois

    Jack,
    JFK and Clinton, to repeate the sentement of previous bloggers... Those were the "good times" that most people can remember about our country. Also we had no deficite and more $$ in our pockets. We will get back there again!! Our nation will get back on track and when it does, it will be very difficult for the Republican party to ever get the chance to screw it up this bad again.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  167. Daniel Fauth

    Off the top of my head, I would suggest Theodore Roosevelt. He was a strong person, with solid progressive views. He certainly was able to lead. And most of all, he was a real environmentalist.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  168. Gideon

    If MLK was not assassinated, I am sure he would have been a great leader of this great nation. Let's bring back MLK to lead this country.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  169. Joshua Zimmerman

    None of them. I think we have learned lessons from our past leaders, but isn't it time for new leadership, new ideas and to stop the same old same in Washington? And that's why Mr. Obama will be our next president. End the duel White House dynasty...Obama '08.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  170. Stan, Powhatan VA

    The Clintons are for old change, Obama is for new change. So, Bill Clinton should be the viable choice, but Obama is the reborn Kennedy....
    History never repeats itself.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  171. Ray Schilling

    For sure not Bill Clinton because as good as he may have been, he would bring devision. I would say either George Washington or Abe Lincoln because we need someone to unite us as a people. One thing is for sure...........it's time to fix the mess President number 43 and his VP looney have made!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  172. Leroy

    Wha wha what?....Bill Clinton? You're kidding me. I'm certain that everyone meant to type "Ronald Reagan", but some web-virus changed it to "Bill Clinton".

    Obviously, these are thumb-sucking kiddies posting weren't around to see Reagan win the cold war – by far the biggest threat this society has ever. He had the world shaking in it's boots!

    My second choice is Harry Truman because he dropped two nuclear weapons....something that we should start doing again on certain countries 🙂

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  173. Harpreet Singh

    I would say it will take some percentage of every past president (except the bushes) to undo the mess created in US & World by mr. Bush.
    Our current presidents' failed foreign policy has made
    half of the world look at US as their enemy. Mr. Washington, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Lincoln all sitting in oval office together could have undone it by reaching at consensus.
    economic policy Clinton must not be given free hands upon, as he is being looked at major jobs outsourced stealing away from pockets of Americans, whereas, Look at India & its financial capital MUMBAI, Locals there are rioting to send outsiders (Even Indians & actually all fellow indians from different Northern States) back to their native states. So here in US, we must reverse outsourcing to make sure Jobs stay in US & hence economy gets boosted.
    All other major issues I am sure all previous presidents can solve together except Father & Son Bushes.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  174. RB

    Jack-
    With foreign policy being the big issue, I feel there is only one former president that can handle the job... Richard M Nixon. The Watergate scandal needs to be put on the back burner; all former US presidents have skeletons in the closet.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  175. Willis

    Great question Jack. This is an easy one – definitely Teddy Roosevelt. The country is controlled by Corporations. Teddy would put an end to that!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  176. Naomi Singleton

    Gotta love Bill Clinton

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  177. Woodrow Nelson

    I agree with WB from Las Vegas in choosing Theodore Roosevelt but for another reason...he was a hero. He fought for our middle classes, while also setting the stage for the United States to lead the world. He found a way to fight courageously for our nation's treasured natural resources yet balanced that conservation vision with progressive growth and economic stimulation. He led the country in such a way that our country was well positioned for long-term health. He was a futurist and a realist, and didn't spend an ounce of time worrying about special-interest, short-term tactics. All in all, he was a hero to people of all walks of life. We need that bi-partisan, no-whining, courageous leadership in America again.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  178. Lou Mullin

    Harry Truman. I agree, he not only knew how to be President, he knew what a President was supposed to do and he did it. But with today's global outlook and automation-ridden life, perhaps Kennedy would fit in better. Please – no Bushes, no Clintons, and no Reagans. I remember no new taxes; Iran Contra; and failure to know how to use a good cigar and then lie about it.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  179. Bill

    Thomas Jefferson of course. He would be appalled at the sheer disrespect shown to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by today's "leaders"...and that includes the Supreme Court. Liberty has become a dirty word. I think TJ could turn that around.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  180. A.J. Gainesville, FL

    I would definately pick Franklin Roosevelt as the best former U.S. president to lead this country today. He kept us out of war until absolutely necessary, had a foreign policy that kept us in good realtions with most other countries, created an economic upturn in the face of a depression, boosted public works, and united us as a country . It's obvious why he would be the best pick today.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  181. john

    Bill Clinton

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  182. Tim in Minnesota

    Theodore Roosevelt. To quote the last part of a speech he gave in 1906: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken of HIM (the president) or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant about HIM (or her) than about anyone else."
    There's a pretty honest and humble person. That's the person I want to see in the Oval Office.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  183. Mike Godown

    Bill Clinton (oops, I mean Hilary) for President!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  184. ROY L. TALBOT

    FDR HE FIXED IT ONCE HE COULD FIX IT AGAIN!!!!!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  185. Gaby

    It would be JFK and Lincoln. I can tell you for sure it would not be Clinton's.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  186. Jerry

    Jack

    This one is easy, Bush, Clinton, Bush,
    Bush, Clinton, Bush,
    Did I miss someone?
    What a great country we have now No War
    Strong Economy
    Everyone with money
    World Peace

    Jerry
    Roselle, Illinois

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  187. Carol Mitchell,Indiana

    Kennedy of course! Which is why I want Obama. He is the best hope for our furture. The Republicans would spend their time tearing down Hillary and blocking everything she wants to do so I can't go there.
    We are ready for a new day!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  188. Alex

    teddy roosevelt. he stood for his principles and put his loyalty to his nation above his own party (and was not very popular with his party as a result).

    he was a republican who fought corruption, build a strong defense, took on big business (against his party's wishes), and was the first environmentalist president (also against his party's wishes).

    unlike George W Bush and Bill Cinton, teddy didn't send young men to die while using his power and privilege to avoid military service. in fact, he was denied entry to the military due to his poor eyesight and respiratory issues. what did he do? he organized a bizarre combination of aristocratic gentry, ex-military, cowboys, and outlaws to form his own army (the rough riders), went to fight a war on his own dime, lead his men from the front not the read, and saved the US Army's arse.

    now that is what i'm talking about!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  189. jim kanous ny

    I would have to suggest President Ford... his difficult decisions at a demanding time in our countries history... following the damage President Nixon inflicted on our countries reputation around the world... certainly merits consideration. This is well documented in Allen Greenspan's book, "The Age of Turbulence"... I am not sure any of the current candidates can live up to his legacy in this regard... I don't think American voters are as prepared as we should be to make the difficult choices needed for long term gain... and no current candidate seems to have the courage to speak to this point...

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  190. Ed Reilly

    Probably Kennedy, but, though normally vote Democrat, a fan of Reagan as well. Interesting that all the choices could probably be appropriately characterized as "inspirational"!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  191. Cliff Zintgraff

    George Washington. He set the way for using the power of the office and established its limits. Except maybe for Lincoln and MLK, he was the one indispensable man in our history. There's a reason the monument in the middle of DC is his.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  192. Kwabena Falson

    How about "Nada, not one of them", each one of them had warts. They got our votes and left the country in a much worse condition. The proof is in the fact that until this year the number of people participating in these elections continued to fall. A benevolent dicatorship might not be a bad idea to try.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  193. George Welk

    Hi Jack:

    Just 3 letters, F.D.R.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  194. David K. Powell

    Bill Clinton. He has the ability to surround himself with the right people. He also has a good business sense about him(economy). Like Ronald Reagan and J.F.K., he also has charisma. That was not easy for me to say as I am labeled as a conservative. Today is not the day to be labeling anyone as a conservative, moderate, or liberal, but as an American looking for someone to lead us in the right direction. We have been going in the wrong direction for as long as our nation can stand it.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  195. Cam

    Bill Clinton

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  196. Steve Jones

    If I have my pick of 2, they would be Former President (1909-13) and als a Former Supreme Court Chief Justice (1920-29) Howard Taft, the only person in US History to be the top guy over both Executive and Judicial Branches of Government; my 2nd pick would be FDR (1933-45) because he brought the Country out of Fiscal Disaster and led during War Times.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  197. mike studders

    I am a Democrat but what is needed now. Is Teddy Roosevelt! Rein in the corporations, love your country...build infrastructure. Besides a Republican like that would have an easier time with the necessary regulation than any democrat!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  198. Nancy, New Mexico

    JFK, we need some one who looks forward to climb out of this whole.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  199. Stefan

    Teddy Roosevelt.

    Courage and conviction.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  200. Albert

    Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior... for a stronger America, military and economically.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  201. Terry Mitchell

    Bill Clinton Why? I made the most money in those years and never worried about losing my job, the country was on track, we had a surplus of money! Then came the new kinder, gentler and compassionate brand of the republicans. WOW! What a trip that was! Hillary or Obama makes no diff. to me!!!!!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  202. Alex, Boston

    I must say this in reply to a post i read... saying FDR's policies worked... Social Security?

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  203. Thomas in Akron

    FDR for his incredibel leadership in an incredible war and

    Bill Clinton for his middle class-friendly policies and leadership after the failed economic and social policies of Reagan and Bush #1.

    Obama is the only one who can change course for us now!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  204. Jim in CA

    This qoute from Will descibes Bill Clinton to a Tee

    “The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”
    -Teddy Roosevelt

    There I say Charge with Tedd

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  205. Michael Dominici

    My first instinct is to say Al Gore. He was elected after all, no? Other than that I'd probably go with Thomas Jefferson, who seems to be the most enlightened president in the history of our nation. It would also be interesting to see what kind of president Benjamin Franklin would have made.

    I'm from New Orleans but relocated to Pacifica, California directly after Hurricane Katrina.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  206. Doug

    Without a doubt Bill Clinton. If a President does a great job, why have a term limit? It not for the good of the Country.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  207. Sam

    Richard Nixon. He can teach us what not to do in Iraq.

    – Sam (Boston, MA)

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  208. Richard Kaplan

    None of our presidents would do in our current climate and situation. If it were possible I would take the traits of various past presidents and build one for our times. Lincoln for his belief in the UNITED States of America. FDR for his ability to unite in the worst of times. JFK for his vision for the future. Reagan for his ability to see the bigger picture and (for better or worse) stick to his beliefs. Clinton for his ability to communicate and connect better than any President before.

    Dumont NJ

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  209. David from Jackson Hole , WY

    Jack

    William Henry Harrison with FDR. You guys would have something to talk about and everyone loves a parade.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  210. KJ

    If I could bring back any President, it would be George Washington. At least he didn't have a mess to clean up from his successor nor did he have to live up to anyone else's standards.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  211. Josh

    Thomas J.

    He had the best sense of the role of government in civil affairs. I feel it would be not much different in global affairs.

    Not to mention, he knew Benjamin Franklin, the most brilliant American to ever live. Make him a chief advisor 🙂

    February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  212. Gary in North Carolina

    Jack,

    Harry Truman. No flash, no dance, one quick shot of bourbon in the morning to kick start the day and then he was down to work. Assuming the presidency in the shadow of a fallen giant of American politics, Truman very sucessfully mastered bringing WW II to a conclusion, the reconstruction of Western Europe and Japan, and the US transition from a wartime to a peacetime economy - all while battling Soviet domination of eastern Europe. No apologies, the buck stopped with Truman. Gotta like that. Thanks.

    Gary

    February 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  213. Martha E. Russell

    I would pick Truman or Nixon.....with that combination we would really buzz along....

    February 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  214. Sudesh Kudchadkar

    Bill Clinton..are u kidding me !!!...People have either that short sighted or incredibly ignormant of our history...Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, and Ronald Reagan are real leaders who united the country . They were demorcatic and republicans but they loved our nation more and inspired us to do more.

    Bill Clinton was a good president but we need now is uniter who is out for the American people and not for themselves...

    I be lieve Barack Obama has those qualitles to do bring us together.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  215. Mary Zimmerman

    Bill Clinton, of course. He surrounded himself with a brilliant cabinet such as Robert Rubin, he balanced the budget, expanded NATO, our relationships around the world were outstanding with all countries, had a succesful war in Bosnia & Kosovo. What about Head Start, Welfare Reform, expanded the National Parks and Forest Service Act and much more. This was in our lifetime. Something we could see and feel and appreciate. He was the best.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  216. Michael

    Theodore Roosevelt by far
    Environmental issues- created national parks
    Foriegn affairs – settled russia-japan war and french-german fight
    Integrity – cleaned up corrupt police force
    Corporate greed – busted the trusts
    World prosperity – created panama canal
    Racism – hosted Booker T Washington
    Public health – fought yellow fever
    All the issues we face now, he dealt with
    Did I mention Nobel Prize and Medal of Honor?

    February 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  217. Diann Webb

    Thomas Jefferson!
    Because Americans need to be reminded of our Constitution and what it truly stands for.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  218. Steve

    William Henry Harrison. He'd give some killer speeches...

    Erie, PA

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  219. Nick

    I haven't seen anyone yet mention Andrew Jackson. Jackson represented an historic turning point in the history of the American political consciousness, shifting away from the Founding generation to a new vision of America's place in the world as a whole. Jackson transformed America from a fledgling, fragile experiment into an institution. We now must to turn to someone with charisma, but also the personal integrity to not only understand America from within, but also from outside.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  220. Tina

    Oh yeah, Bill Clinton. Lets bring him back and have a balanced budget based on the dessimation of our military. Let Yemeni's bomb our boats and do nothing about it. Let's be the laughing stock of the world again and have the most narcisitic, egomaniac alive in office. Oh, but he is so charasmatic...who cares. He is a joke.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  221. Robbie

    Thomas Jefferson. He made us a country from a group of colonies, I think he could handle any of our problems today. Small government, maximum personal liberty, inalienable rights- the American way.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  222. Eric

    How about Warren Harding. He's the only one who might be able to make the current administration look honest.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  223. William Henderson

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, cause he prophesized about the dangers of the military industrial complex and he would have the credibility and the intestinal fortitude to right a wrong. Put Obama as VP. I am 41 and a conservative republican, but we need to clean up washington and the corporations revolving door.

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  224. Yosvani

    I see people saying Billy Boy but man I am glad some of us are smarter than that. I would hate for this war to be fought in our own back yard. My choice would be Franklin D. Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  225. Don Brabec

    Harry S Truman...............a good man in, & outside, the White House.......

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  226. Patrick

    Restore America. Elect Washington/Paul 2008!!

    February 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  227. David Emery

    Theodore Roosevelt...

    Think about some of his accomplishments:
    * civil service reform
    * military reform
    * Nobel Peace Prize winner
    * Trustbuster, while still preserving US economics.
    * Ability to work with both sides of the aisle

    dave

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  228. John

    Teddy Roosevelt. He promoted conservation management. Many here have said Bill Clinton, ignoring the fact that those prosperous times were created in part by Republican majorities in the House and Senate. In 2006, the Democrats said elect them for change and they haven't done squat. Pelosi and Reid must go!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  229. Dan

    I can't believe nobody said Woodrow Wilson: the man who proved that progressive liberals can win wars, have faith, and lead the economy into unprecedented growth.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  230. Clif

    Since President Bill Clinton is still available and capable of running the country, I elect Bill. Regardless of some not so important issues, he gave the country some of his best work possible, represented and appreciated people from every political, ethnic, religious group of people you can name, and was able to convince a large group to re-elect him for a second term. I vote for a government that does not have to threaten or strongarm an individual, group, or country to get it's point across. Thank you.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  231. Michael U

    As an interesting twist, I think the candidates should ask the country this question.

    Since we can't really know how any of our current candidates will preform (whoever you vote for). They should ask us, "Who did you think would be the best past-president for the 'right now' " and model themselves in part after that person.

    I don't think the country would complain if ANY candidate modeled themselves after our greatest presidents. We can just cross our fingers that they get close, lord knows this country could use it.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  232. Clay S. Robinson

    I would choose the Sage of Sagamore Hill, President Theodore Roosevelt. TR struck the perfect balance. He never shied away from a fight when called for. But he also seized the opportunity for peace, winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the war between Russia and Japan. I'd love to hear TR's solution for the Middle East. And we could use another White House filled with six children.

    Georgetown, Kentucky

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  233. Tom in Shelby OH

    Well, I’d have to select Harry Truman, a strong and determined President for troubled times and his one liner is so appropriate these days. When ask what it was like being President, he replied “Like playing the piano in a whore house!”

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  234. chuck

    Of the living past presidents - Bill Clinton. Of the deceased past presidents - Jack Kennedy.

    But, do you know something? ANYTHING - a dead mule, a dying dog, a starving lion, a maggott - would be better than what we have now!!!!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  235. Floyd

    Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jimmy Carter

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  236. Machelle, Tampa

    Bring back Bill – gee whiz, I sure do miss him. George W has destroyed so much in the past 7 years. I agree with Hillary – it WILL take a Clinton to clean up the mess.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  237. Robert Birkes

    No question it would have to be either Thomas Jefferson or Teddy Roosevelt. Neither would stand for the "corporate money trumps all attitude" that passes for politics these days. Additionally, both were champions of personal freedom.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  238. Matt

    James Knox Polk, because it's rare we get a president who comes to office and actually follows through on what he claims he will do.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  239. Joshua

    Theodore Roosevelt, I think he did more for this country than any other president not in war.

    Joshua Bennett
    Owensboro, KY

    February 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  240. John

    Jack with the problems on both fronts Foregn and domestic.It would have to be Bill Clinton I believe he not only helped the working class and poor but the people with the money.I have never lived during a president that did so much,he is probably the closest thing to JFK and if the media was as open during JFK as it was with Bill Clinton who knows what the legacy would have been.Bill Clinton is the smartest president since Roosevelt. But Jack your right up there with Lou,but you guys better watch out for Andersen Cooper

    February 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  241. karl hott

    Bill Clinton. Imagine...we impeached him for fooling around with his intern and not facing up to it. Who wouldn't want that as our biggest national crisis these days?

    February 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  242. William

    Without doubt this country needs George Washington. I can think of no man better qualified to give the Senate and Congress the tongue-lashing they all deserve for running this country into the ground. George fought for this country even before it was one and had the backbone to do what was right instead of bowing to political correctness. He always acted in the interests of the United States and let the rest of the world solve their own problems with their own money. William Sanford, NC

    February 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  243. PJT

    That's easy - FDR - he has experience dealing with the kind of economic depression we are more than likely about to experience.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  244. N L Wright

    JFK... He had vision for the country. He attempted to have everyone work for the common good.

    A good pesident can not lead if he has no real view of the world. How we elected a president that had never travelled aboard is beyond my understand. JFK had the experience and the knowledge outside of the USA.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  245. Matt Colver

    I'm surprised so many people want John Kennedy. He almost got us in a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Luckily for us Kruschev essentially threw himself on a political hand grenade and stood down. He got to spend the rest of his life tending his garden for that action.
    Ronald Reagan in my lifetime had the best results with helping to bring the country back from some bad times, he got the hostages back from Iran, he stopped runaway inflation and took steps that eventually dismantled the Soviet Union. He regained the respect of the world. I would like to see Reagan back if I could pick a previous president.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  246. Ricky D

    George W. Bush hands down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    February 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  247. Craig

    Gerald R. Ford would be my pick. Served his nation with only the nation as his agenda. Sacrificed his career for the USA. An honorable man all around. A man any father could say to his son was a genuine hero in both war and peace. Someone a boy or girl could look up to , admire, and strive to emulate. Abe would run a very close but by no means inferior second.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  248. Patrick

    I think Bill Clinton would be our best bet if we were to try and salvage the mess that G. W. has left. He is most skilled to save our economy and to improve foriegn relations. But that is not to say that his wife should be our President. I believe that Barack Obama would be the best choice for a leader at htis time. A more middle gorund candidate will help to re-unify the country as a whole and get our economy back on track.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  249. grouchy-granny

    I suppose I'd have to choose Bill Clinton, at least people had jobs... you noticed the minute Bush "claimed" victory the jobs started dropping by the thousand! We have two good candidates running, personally, I prefer Hillary... but if it came right down to it... I'd vote for Porky Pig before I'd vote Republican!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  250. Ben

    Lincoln was probably the best President we ever had. During a war, he brought our country together in the best way that he could. He was possibly the smartest President, so I would say Lincoln.

    Second Choice would be George Washington, because he would probably choke at how much government control there is in this country. I think he would get rid of a lot of unnecessary spending and governmental programs in Washington.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  251. Janet

    George Washington. He was the epitome civic virtue-putting what is best for the country or community ahead of personal interest. He gave up personal power several different times...who now would do that? He also warned against political parties dividing the country. How right was he?

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  252. Frank Entwisle

    Richard Nixon,
    He had the most accomplishments of any President in the history of our government. He opened China and closed Vietnam.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  253. MAK

    Bill Clinton.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  254. Andy Werner

    The perfect person would doubtless be an amalgam of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton etc., If we are constrained to pick one person, Lincoln wins in a walk. He dealt with a terrible situation of others' creation; he unified his enemies, not against him but behind him; he communicated to all levels of people; he changed his opinions based on learning new things; and he both hired and used well the best help he could find. All of these would be new and very welcome in Washington.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  255. Ryan Hamrick

    Millard Filmore... I believe in second chances. 🙂

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  256. earl illingsworth

    I've got to cheat aliitle here Jack, FDR is without a doubt my only #1 choice,even though he served from 1933 thru1945 ,( as you know ,he died early into the 4th term), it wouldn't bother me a bit if he were still alive to serve another eight years. But, it ain't gonna happen,so my pick would be Bill Clinton,a) the economy was great, b)he kept us out of unneccesary wars, c) he balanced the budget,and helped fix the broken welfare system , (Mom's get no more free ride after two children out of wedlock), believe it or not, it gave dignity to the unwed mother's eventually in the work force, d) the job market was great and growing! So, Mr. Clinton ,you were a good leader and ,"Decider"as far as I'm concerned!!! Earl from Provincetown, Mass.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  257. Bernie G.

    Bring back the busters!
    With all the monopolization going on, Taft's our man!!!

    Jacksonville, FL

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  258. Jack Mehkok

    Thomas Jefferson

    February 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  259. Jason in Oklahoma

    William Jefferson Clinton – no doubt

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  260. dan in hopkinton , mass

    I'm surprised by the responses. I figured this was a loaded question aimed at hurting Hillary. I was wrong. The only thing I can say is, remember the 90's. Whoa. Bring em' back. Hill, Bill and the American will.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  261. Tom

    Definitely Ronald Reagan, he had what it took to bring us back after the misery of the Carter presidency and he could do the same thing to address the poor situation this president Bush has left the country in.
    Tom
    Houston,TX

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  262. Saul

    Al Gore! The president elected by the people in 2000. Had the people's choice become president instead of the Supreme Court's choice, he would have built a grand coalition to fight terrorism after 9-11 instead of getting us mired in Iraq and squandering the good will of the world. He also would have begun the process of cleaning up the environment and reversing global warming. I think history will show that the critical turning point for the survival of the planet was set with the selection of George W. Bush, the worst president in our history.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  263. Kellie

    A combination of three:
    Lincoln: for his dedication to rebuilding the nation.
    F. D. R.: to help us straighten out the Social Security mess
    Bill* Clinton: economic genius...
    *note: NOT the same as Hillary Clinton

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  264. Dan

    I would have to say Lincoln because of his ability to successfully work with his rivals and his competence in managing a war.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  265. Bruce, Clinton, IA

    I'm a Democrat but this election needs an Eisenhower. Like 1952, the US has an unpopular Commander-in-Chief presiding over a political war. We need a calming influence like IKE who is willing to say, "I will go to Iran" before starting a war over there. John McCain will never fill IKE's shoes as long as he is willing to see US troops committed in Iraq for 100 years without a peace accord.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  266. Matt from NC

    FDR. He pulled us out of the great depression and surrounded himself with competent military commanders. With the experts predicting a recession, and the war in the Middle East at a standstill, FDR would be useful.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  267. Soupy

    Millard Fillmore '08!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  268. Marcus in New York

    None of the whole lot. We need someone who will put forth creative, dynamic solutions to the problems the Bush administration has left us with while staying true to the revolutionary ideals on which this country was founded. Obama/Franklin '08!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  269. Dan, Harpers Ferry WV

    I agree with Terry in DC; Richard Nixon, only I'd put him on some meds. According to David Gergen in "Eyewitness to Power", Nixon was tied with Bill Clinton as the most intelligent president of modern times.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  270. Kaethe Parker

    I would have to say Harry Truman. He was before my time, but he was an honest no holds barred president from a regular working class background. We need to go back to the basics and get ourselves out from under the politically correct crap that we are so involved with in this day and age. Harry wasn't afraid to say it like it was and if you didn't like it, too bad. We're so afraid of stepping on other people's toes in what we say and do in this country. I wonder if Harry would put up with the massive problem of illegal immigration in this country? When did we STOP doing something about things that were WRONG in this country? I have a feeling there would be a continuous flow of buses going into Mexico discharging those who DO NOT belong here legally if Harry were president.......

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  271. Drake in Buchanan, VA

    Jack,
    bring back honest Abe Lincoln. If he could manage to keep this country together in a time of civil war, perhaps he can keep both sides of the aisle focused on one common goal: to make this country better. Knowing that we can't bring Abe back, maybe our candidates can wear tall top hats as a tribute to sincerity and good ole honest politics.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  272. Bob

    I would have to say The first president ..Washington..we need somebody who's not afraid to cut down a few trees to make the economy grow...also somebody who is not into a 2 party system.....Somebody who can get knocked in the teeth and still be able to bring a country together.

    Somebody who knows the needs of the people and willing to fight for it....and die for it...

    Bob
    Austin Tx

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  273. MikeInCleveland

    Why, Van Buren, of course! Anyone with the guts to wear the sideburns that he did has to have the courage needed to face the troubles our country has today!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  274. Ray

    I'm amazed how many people are calling for JFK. Does anyone remember the Bay of Pigs or Vietnam? The only think he got right was cutting taxes to stimulate the economy.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  275. Gavin - Overland Park, KS

    Warren G. Harding. I loved his hit song with Nate Dogg.

    Regulators...mount up.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  276. Christian

    George Washington in his farewell address urged the new generation of leaders to stay out of European affairs. Dwight Eisenhower urged future leaders to beware the military-industrial complex. FDR had an understanding of the power of world affairs, but JFK has the total understanding of what these other three great Presidents knew. Since these Presidents are not able to serve, and given our present choices, perhaps we should give the new fellow a chance, but make sure the other branches of our excellent government are ready to balance the power of the executive. The Founding Fathers understood the need for this balance. Our present representatives have lost sight of it all.

    Christian – Springfield, IL

    February 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  277. Henry Chase

    I am 62 years old and in my lifetime Ronald Regan and Dwight Eisenhower were the two best that I have seen! At this point all I can say is that if Buggs Bunny is electedin 2007, that is better than Hillary Clinton!

    Henry Chase
    Lake Luzerne, New York

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  278. Brian

    Bill Clinton, hands down. I was born in 1958, so I have lived through all the presidents from "Ike' onward. All the controversy aside, Bill Clinton is the only President I can remember who actually made a direct difference in my life. And all this romanticism about Reagan – all I remember is record (at the time) deficits, 9-12% mortgage rates, and high (for the time) gasoline – "trickle down" economics must have never made it to me. And both of the Bushes were complete disasters. it's STIll the economy, stupid!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  279. Jon Monat

    Bill Clinton. He is intelligent, compassionate and thoroughly understands the issues faced by a president. He is a centrist who understands the needs of the people and the role of government. As president he demonstrated a skillful knowledge of the political process and knew how and when to compromise to accomplish objectives. He listens to all views with an open mind. He left office with a surplus and vibrant economy unburdened by an unnecessary war created to satisfy the industrial/military complex and Big Oil. The rest of the world respected him and America.

    Jon
    Long Beach, CA

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  280. michael from Macy's, NYC

    George Washington...because coming off of a revolution it was all about the possibilities.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  281. Brad, Blacksburg, VA

    Only George Washington avoided the plague of the two-party system in this country.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  282. Lee Allan

    Well, Bill Clinton was a coward. JFK could not even get the Bay of Pigs correct. So, I think both of them would be over-rated with the world we live in. But, I would go with Teddy Roosevelt. After all, he is the only president in American history to fight in a war while in office. Also, he helped endangered animals escape extinction. The fact is that he was the greatest leader in American History and would be perfect to lead in the age we live in.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  283. Russ Moore

    Well, what we need is someone is is not tied to the monster corporations, their lobby mogels; knows how to tell the truth (the real truth); has family values and knows the meaning of having to work for a living to avoid the disconnect with the middle class. There continues to be too much pandering of votes in Washington. I have voted Republican in the past but feel betrayed by Bush. McCain is an honorable man and I respect his service to this country but draw the line when he says "We can win in Iraq!" This is not a contest of egos. The price we have paid in lives and horrific injuries by those in our armed forces is too high. I support all of them as I did my son when he was there and was among the injured, but it must come to a close before it breaks the soul of the country and the American economy. I don't trust Hillary, She is the smiling cobra and has schemed her way to this pivotal point starting with her move to the NY Senate. She is ruthless as shown when she lashes out at her competition.
    As far as past presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, and he should charge into Washington like it was San Juan Hill and clear the riff raff and crooked politicians out of what used to be the heart of this great country.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  284. Seth

    Al Gore, obviously.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  285. Jim W., Statesville, NC

    I'd only want the most qualified man to lead our country during these times. A president who helped pull our grandparents up by their bootstraps and get things moving again when it was the darkest hour. A president who saw us through the most brutal war the world has ever known. A president who led not listening to the public opinion polls but by listening to the common man and woman. A man who had the greatest compassion for all the people of this country and the world. I could go on and on, but that could only be one president, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  286. Karen, California

    Bill Clinton and I hope and pray that Hillary is our next President.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  287. Sal (North Carolina)

    Hello Jack,

    I believe that they are many good presidents to choose from. George Washington had to carve out a nation. Abe Lincoln rose to the occasion with the civil war to preserve the nation. Teddy Roosevelt was a visionary to create a better nation with the National Parks system and the Panama Canal , taking on the monoploistic Corporations etc. Franklin Roosevelt rose to the occasion to rescue the nation from depression, guide us through WWII and to create a safety net for the future with social security etc. JFK was a revolutionary visionary with the creating of the Peace Corps, the space program etc. Bill Clinton was the democratic modern day visionary with the enormous wisdom to work with the Republicans to work for the betterment of the nation as a whole. Alan Greenspan, in an interview on the Today show intentionally called him a Republican. This is what we need – Bill Clinton as the president! Someone who would work across the aisle and work for the common good. Hillary and Obama should be the ticket !

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  288. Allan,Cameron Park, Ca.

    Bill Clinton of course, his Administration not only stemed the red ink flow but started to pay down the debt. He is one of the most respected leaders unlike the present Administration, he would at least make us acceptable to the rest of the world.
    How could he get bin Lauden on what charge, he had not done anything illegal at that time. He warned King George to watch him, this wasn't done.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  289. Ray

    I am sick and tired of hearing how great Bill Clinton was. He just happened to be President during an economic period where our country was benefitting from the defense buildup of the 80's, the Reagan tax cuts, and the tech boom of the 90's. He did nothing but gut our military. Herbert Hoover would be a better pick than Clinton.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  290. IL

    Bill Clinton was in the right place at the right time.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  291. Jake

    Let's go with the first president, George Washington. Brave, to the point, idealist, and not interested in fighting wars around the world (although we didn't have much of an army at the time). He might also shed some light on founding father ideas that are currently always up for debate by the two parties. If GW doesn't work then we should get Colin Powell to run.

    Flagstaff, AZ

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  292. EJ

    None of them. This is a new era and new time. Their ideas and ideals would no longer be applicable. They wouldn't be able to handle business in this day and age. They were good when they were good and now they would be obsolete.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  293. Meghan

    I would have to say FDR he brought about change and hope in a time when things seemed very grim. I also feel that his wife Eleanor should not be forgotten, she was a class act and a touchstone of modern American liberalism.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  294. Mark A. Miller

    i would choose Bill Clinton only because i think Hillary would continue to fight for universal health care as First Lady again... Also because Bill Clinton as president led to many good things, 3 trillion dollar surplus, increase of Hispanic and black graduates along with a much better economy which is EXACTLY what this country needs. someone to fix the economy. he's had the experience to do so

    BRING HIM BACK! CLINTON 08!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  295. Brian

    This Congress can't even pass gas, let alone pass solid legislation. Bring on LBJ, master of the Senate, with an international reputation for being bold and firm, as well as a reputation for being passionate on social issues such as healthcare and education. He may have been vulgar and crude, but he knew how to compromise, and at least he didn't pander shamelessly. Most importantly, he would bring lesson's learned from Vietnam to help solve the Iraq conflict.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  296. Neal

    Teddy Roosevelt without a doubt. This was a man of CONVICTION, he cowered to no one group. He was afraid of no one. Get a real leader in office. He would tell Putin what's what. He would send in troops and tell them not to come back without Bin Laden. He probably would not have wasted our time in Iraq. He was a real man. That is what this country needs NOW. Not another Clinton, not another Bush. Not another Washington loser.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  297. Cain, Dallas, Tx

    Bill Clinton was the best president we have had since JFK. Yes, bring back Bill! If it means electing Hillary then let's do it!!! Yeah Hillary!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  298. Brad, Blacksburg, VA

    Only George Washington avoided the plague of the two-party system in this country. We need a President who can work together with others for the good of the country rather than for the good of the party. McCain is catching heat for listening to Democrats, not agreeing with them. What a sad state of affairs. I'd like to see George Washington back in the Presidency.

    Brad
    Blacksburg, VA

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  299. Mike Philiben

    Ditto: Thomas from Tallahasse, "Someone like Thomas Jefferson, who would actually remember that we have a constitution to follow."

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  300. Janet Houser

    Bill Clinton. Perusing your comments, I am surprised at how few people selected Reagan or Bush – not.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  301. CE

    Harry Truman,

    Common sense, straight talking and obviously an honest politician. At the end of the day, he had to borrow money to go home. Looking back, he may have been the last truly honest President.

    CE

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  302. Wang

    No matter what your wish is, it is impossible to bring any past presidents back to White House except for Bill Clinton . You can make this happen by supporting his wife, that's so easy. Go Hillary Clinton!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  303. Tim - Glen Allen, Virginia

    "to bind up the nation's wounds" – Abraham Lincoln

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  304. Jay McRae

    Bill Clinton! The country actually had a surplus and we were not reviled the world over.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  305. Jill

    I'd definitely pick a Lincoln/Clinton ticket. Lincoln fought against segregation, a battle we're still fighting, and he united a country. Nothing could be more timely. And I believe Bill Clinton tried to continue Lincoln's move forward. The economy was strong, the job market was lively and the country seemed to believe that the best was yet to come. Then, we all know what happened. The downhill slide and uphill battle we've been fighting since then needs to end.

    So, this question isn't about going back. But rather, about finding a president (but more importantly, a true American) who is willing to learn from his or her predecessors and take all those good things and make them American once again. It's about making our country believe that the best is yet to come – not about wishing we could get back what we once had.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  306. virginia

    Years with the former President Bill Clinton of course. Lets bring back the CLINTONS. Wake up people during his tenure our economy was flourishing. We have a lot of surplus when he left the office. Nowadays. 0. Who has a lot of surplus? China. Forget about the endorsement of some of these people. Bring President Bill Clinton back. I don't care if Madeline Albright will be back. We need to recover the ailing economy. or if not bring Albert GORE. Thank you.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  307. Amy

    I would pick our current president George W. Bush. I think he has done a wonderful job leading our country. With terrorism on the rise, we need a presdident like George W. Bush to combat the problem like he's been doing all along. It's clear that he will not tolerate terror of any kind. We need a president that is tough and someone who can handle these horrible terrorists. I think Bush has proven himself during his entire term and if he was running again, he would have my vote!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  308. Jennifer Kolozsvary

    The great American President, Abraham Lincoln. He brought the country together during seemingly insurmountable division and unrest. He had the courage to stand up against the opposition and do what he believed was right for the country and he did so with integrity. That's the kind of leader our country needs.

    And although I think our country was obviously in much better shape when Clinton was in office, the upcoming election isn't about Bill. I don't want a package deal in '08. If we elect Hillary, we should do so based on her own merits and experience, not those of her husband.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  309. Brian in Laguna Beach

    I LIKE IKE, The only president who really understood the horrors of war and most certainly the only one who tried, alas in vain, to warn the nation of about the folly of supporting the military industrial complex.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  310. Andrew

    Andrew Jackson = Paid national debt

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  311. Zeb

    Since a major problem with our country is the economy, I would think Bill Clinton would be the best bet. I think if we brought a president back from the dead, he may take a while to get used to compact discs, cars, running water, computers, and other modern day things. His shock culture shock would make him unable to perform his duties of president. That is why I was forced to pick a living one.

    Zeb – Buffalo, NY

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  312. Stephen

    Gorbachev

    February 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  313. Jack

    I would have Theodore Roosevelt return to the White House. It would be refreshing to have someone who isn't scared to disagree with the polls, the lobbyists, or even both.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  314. EC

    Thomas Jefferson, Good in times of war and with race relations.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  315. Ronald Lintner

    Oh JFK by all means. I two pictures on my walls at home. Their both
    of JFK. If he would have lived.We would have been out of Veitnam long
    befor we were.The world would have been a lot different. I'm a veteran of Veitnam. I true belive this,

    Ronny in Franklin, Pa.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  316. Brian

    Millard Fillmore. Because nobody ever says Millard Fillmore.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  317. Matthew Lucas

    William Henry Harrison. The poor guy only got a month in office, he never got a chance! 😉

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  318. Frank

    Abe Lincoln.
    He grasped that our American problems – moral, economic, and cultural – were bound up together.
    Too often the claim that we have lost our way focuses too much on just one, maybe two, of those domains.
    We need someone to steward our way, to help us see again that our problems are those of our neighbors', that we can learn those practical and ethical lessons of refashioning our world to keep up with our times.
    Frank
    New Orleans

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  319. exCA

    Bill Clinton fo' shizzle.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  320. Jerry

    I would have to say Ronald Reagan. He was a president that followed his principles yet was willing to work with a Congress dominated by the other party.

    Congress has turned into petty partisan politics. This will only change when a President is willing to "really" work with the other side.

    Its all a game today as the country's future is ignored.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  321. Dee Cee

    I don't understand the sentiment with choosing Bill Clinton as the president. Bill happend to be in the white house during the internet boom. His policy did not interfere, that was good. He was a charismatic during his presidency, but this is hardly a time for a smooth talker. Instead of Bill Clinton or any of the past president, we really need someone like George Mitchel to be the president, someone who is truly dedicated to his goals and has the intelligence and tenacity to carry it through, both in foreigh poilcy and economics.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  322. Tom

    Bill Clinton recently (we had the country going in the right direction until Bush came along and snuck into office....STILL not sure if that was actually legit or NOT...all I know is ! can't wait for it to end!!!... ) and someone like Kennedy, Roosevelt or Lincoln from the far past who had to make really tough decisions on the tough issues of their respective times in office.

    Tom

    Pittsburgh, PA

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  323. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt! FDR cleaned up Hoover's mess and fought World War II and the republicans. His new deal set standards the are still working to this day. FDR did not hand out rebates,he put people to work! That is what we need right now. Also,Harry Truman as Vice President to tell the republicans where to stick it!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  324. Ed from Amish Country

    Bring back Theodore Roosevelt...

    He didn't take guff from anyone, was an environmentalist as well as a trust-buster who knew how to take on Big Business.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  325. Nick

    Bring back LBJ!
    He was a man with a passion. Not only for politics, but for getting the job done. He was not afraid to take on congress or anybody else. Sure he twisted some arms here and there, but he was in control. Unlike the current president. Millions of Americans still benefit from his vision, a Great Society. Let him finish the job. LBJ, an underrated president.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  326. Melvin Ferguson

    Clearwater, FL

    JFK represented this country with dignity. The current Bush Administration has made the word Republican synonymous with corruption, indecision, and greed throughout the world. We need to be come back to the days when living in America means you have the best the world has to offer.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  327. Cuga

    Life was good under Bill Clinton. So he will be my choice. Hopefully, he'll once again take residence in the White House as First Gent.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  328. Robert

    Millard Fillmore of course!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  329. Matt; Essex Junction VT

    Jack, Our foreign policy right now is non-existent. I would encourage our next president to sit and have a cigar with some foreign leaders ... even if it meant the occassional cigar in the oval office. My vote is to bring Bill back!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  330. Clare

    Bill Clinton, bring him back. it scares me when the young generation compares JFK with obama. JFK is praised for handling the missiles conflict. But we forget that Cuba armed herself, after we the US finance the failed bay of pigs invasion. That action is very similar to the invasion to Irak. the romanticism of believing that just because we are the US people will welcome our unrequested help for "freedom." JFK was inspirational, obama is inspirational...but...what do I do with it? feel good?

    February 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  331. Colin

    i would pick George Washington. the average American in the often overused phrase "My fellow Americans" is no longer fairly or honestly represented by our Government. We need a leader, someone who would rather not have the job but will do it to the best of his or her ability or die trying. The last thing we need is another corrupt Republican or corrupt Democrat urinating all over our "freedom" so some oil company can drill another well, or some manufacturer can move it's factory to a country with no guaranteed human rights, or so our troops, our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, can continue to be used as chips in some confusing public opinion polling war.

    Shouldn't it be enough that most of us believe our politicians to be corrupt? A Politician is supposed to be a man or woman of the people, for the people, and put there by the people not some off shore corporate bank account.

    i close by quoting the preamble to the Declaration of Independence:

    "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

    this country needs to turn off the tv, turn off the computer, and go march in the streets.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  332. Mia

    I choose George Washington because he knew what he was doing and had Military Experience.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  333. Margaret

    Bill Clinton – intelligent and wise

    February 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  334. JoAnne Allen

    Jack – If I could bring back one US President it would be John F. Kennedy. And since I cannot, I would be very happy to have Barack Obama. I believe that the presidents you list were great presidents, but looking at the current picture, we no longer have the people who loved and lived through the Roosevelt, Truman or Abe terms. It is nice to point out the integraty of the presidents that we have read about , but for me, the president who stands out in my mind is JFK. I will never forget his motorcade riding down my street in a little town called E. Lansdowne, PA when I was a teenager. My heart still skips a beat when I think about it and I believe the same sentement applies to the young people today who have seen and heard Obama. What a lucky nation to have caputured such a president and a presidential hopeful in my lifetime.

    JoAnne
    Royersford, PA

    February 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  335. Chris

    My vote goes to Martin Van Buren. Not since Chester Arthur's handlebar mustache has the White House had any kind of presidential style. Marty's wicked sideburns might be just the thing.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  336. Faith Hawkins

    I'd bring back FDR. Though we refuse to acknowledge it, we're in bad straits now - a slowing economy (that will almost certainly get slower as consumer credit collapses), a war we pay for through deficit spending, a health care "system" that provides inadequate care to the majority of the population, a looming retirement generation that will be almost impossible to care for under current social security practices. The last time things were this bad, FDR couldn't solve things ... but he kept folks going and believing, while making hard choices that laid the foundation for later successes.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  337. Jeanette

    It is useless to conjecture what a dead president from a different time would do in today's world. I don't think we should idolize ordinary people, putting them on pedestals as if they never made a mistake. I think Bill Clinton would do a better job the second time around because he has fairly current experience to draw on and has, of course, kept close watch on the Busch administration as well as world events. If Hilary is elected I think Bill would be a great asset to her, but I think she would also be her own person. I think Obama can be an inspirational leader, which many may agree that is what this country needs right now. After all it is not a single person that runs this country, the leader must put together a cohesive team. I would like to know before I vote who will be members of the candidates teams.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  338. Kevin

    What about Putin? Old superpower rising from the ashes and an economy and people that are prospering. Also, chance for Russians to get Alaska back.

    Kevin, Pasadena

    February 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  339. Sohail Ahmed

    The Greatest honorbale and REAL decent president served this nation is Jimmy Carter, other presidents have acted decenet but they are not and everyone know that.

    I will love to see Jimmy Carter back in office.

    Whole world respect and regards Mr Jimmy Carter and I beleive many Americans feel same way too about Jimmy Carter

    February 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  340. Bill

    I would go with Thomas Jefferson.

    His level of brillance would be a welcomed addition right now.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  341. Pat Gwinn

    Sadly none come to the forefront. JFK and FDR were amazing in the time they delt with...Clinton balanced the budget but was impeached. It is a difficult time in American history. An unpopular war rages on and an even more unpopular President has months to continue in our path of distruction. Shame there isn't a rule like there is in Little League baseball...ten run rule...where you forfeit if you get far behind. I think the extra innings President Bush is enjoying is costing all of us our way of life.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  342. Kevin Conner

    Dear Jack,

    Ronald Reagan gave us a great sense of hope and optimism.

    During national crisis he always appeared to genuinely care for those that suffered loss. I believe he had an affection for people that is all too rare in politics today.

    He always had a manner about him that inspired confidence in many, including people of differing political stripes.

    Thank You
    Kevin Conner

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  343. Nancy

    Harry Truman, because he read history. Americans have a short historical memory, and that is a handicap when we are dealing with globalism in any form and with our own past mistakes as well as successes.

    FDR, because he tried bold projects and listened–often through Eleanor–to the people.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  344. Steven J Krauss

    I would bring back Lincoln – he represents what this country truly is – the middle – not the right wing nut jobs where 25% of a party think it is OK to ram their religion down our throats and not the wing nuts on the extreme left who would not protect us – the true middle where conservative defense and economics live side by side with more liberal social policy. I am so sick of the Repubs pandering to James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer and others who would follow Bush back to the middle ages. I have had more than 7 years of that crap and don't want anymore.

    Steve Krauss
    Palm Springs, CA

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  345. bnthdntht

    President Clinton I don't know if the big wigs where so out to get him that they forgot about the rest of us,but I felt for the first time in my lifetime the playing field although not totally level was was not a mountain on my side.

    L.M.,Arizona

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  346. ramesh patel

    only bill clinton
    we did not have any of problems that we faced in last seven and half years. i will never forget hardship caused by bush for rest of my life

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  347. Carlin Dash

    None. There simply is no reason to look back in time. The world is a rapidly changing place and all past presidents (yes, Bill Clinton included.) would be already at a disadvantage. We need to look forward, to a President who is young enough to adjust to the world around them and experienced enough to be as wise a decision maker as possible. Black or White, Male or Female is irrelevant, we need a President who represents us on the world stage as a leader. In the mid to late 90's we did not need an ego-hungry, womanizer and we didn't need a spoiled, wannabe country-boy to follow that up with either. What we need is plain, simple, straightforward leadership. No looking back!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  348. Soumya

    I'd say Bill Clinton.. At least from what I recollect, he was the only leader/president of US who was universally liked and appreciated for his foreign policy and attitude towards other nations..

    US had a great repuation during his term as President across the globe.. both with allies and also nations that were not necessarily ' Close Friends'. This I think has taken a dip in the last 8 years thanks to the current administration.

    Soumya
    Germantown, MD

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  349. Terri

    None other than Bill Clinton!!! He was a fabulous president and we certainly need him now. He made me proud to be an American!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  350. Linda, Oklahoma

    I wonder how many people are supporting Hillary Clinton over Obama in the hopes of having Bill Clinton back in the White House? My husband feels that way, and as I keep telling him, it's a big mistake. There's no guarantee that Hillary would use Bill in any meaningful way. Would you vote for a President just to get their wife in as First Lady?

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  351. Bob, Gainesville, Florida

    Bill Clinton without a doubt.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  352. Al B

    Everyone of you is completely mislead. George W. Bush is one of the greatest presidents of all time. 10 years from now all of us will be wanting him back in the White House. He is the protector of Israel. He is the only president that has put Israel first and that is the way it should be.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  353. Tom

    I think politicians nowadays are too corrupt. We also have Gov't trying to take away our civil liberties. We need a politician that will stand up for the value of the American dollar and stop playing pansy to people like Jim Cramer who always want low interest rates.

    That is the problem right now with our country is low interest rates. What do you think caused the price of oil to spike? Weak dollar. What caused food to go up? A weak dollar... What caused the housing collapse we are seeing right now? Cheap money.

    We need to bring back Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln. People who understood what the constitution is truly about. I think they would be appalled to see what politicians and the Supreme Court have done to it.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  354. Mark

    President Teddy Roosevelt would be my choice.
    A very progressive President who put the American citizen first.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  355. Mark

    George Washington – it will take a revolution to throw out the current, ineffective two party partisan stalemete, and Washington is the only one with the experience to lead this country following a revolution. "

    February 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  356. Andrew, Minneapolis, MN

    Bill Clinton. Under his economic leadership we were on the path to trillions of dollars of budgeted surplus. Now after 8 years of Bush we are on the path to trillions of dollars of more debt and the utter destruction of our public school system. So much for "conservative" Republican economic policy.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  357. Steve

    Given his recent Oscar, Nobel and Emmy successes, Al Gore is clearly our best hope to... wait a sec, he's a former president right?

    Steve
    Campbell, CA

    February 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  358. Kevin

    Clinton period.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  359. Tim, Cincinnati, OH

    George W. Bush isn't exactly a past President, is he? It's not fair to include him while he still has a year in office and there isn't enough historical distance frim his presidency. But I suppose you and your readers don't care much about being fair to Bush. He's everyone's favorite chew toy.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  360. Tom, Louisiana

    Not even close. Thomas Jefferson. All other discussion is fluff.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  361. Shani

    Bill Clinton sucess was because Hillary. She ran him for 8 years and thats exactly why we need to elect her. She is well exprienced...

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  362. John E. Fitzpatrick

    Bill Clinton...it's Hilary's best shot getting back into the White House...unfortunately.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  363. alejandro

    Reagan of course. He set the economic stage of prosperity that was the 1990's.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  364. Mark Barton

    William Henry Harrison. He never got a chance to show us what he could do, because he died so quickly after the inauguration.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  365. m. Paul Iwao

    Hello Jack,
    Don't waste your time thinking of bringing in the dead, when Obama is young, alive and well!

    Paul in Virginia

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  366. Sarah

    Bring back Monroe- back to the "Era of Good Feelings." Who cares if they were actually good or not. I just want to think that everything is nice!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  367. Melissa

    Although I wasn't born when he was in office, I know just enough about JFK to believe that he would do this country a world of good. He brought us safely through the Cuban Missile crisis, and inspired young people to service for America. Obama, to me, seems to hold some of these same ideals. As JFK inspired another generation, Obama inspires this generation to be better Americans, and makes us proud to be Americans. Why, if it weren't for some personal limitations, I would join the Peace Corps tomorrow because of the new flame of patriotism that Obama has ignited in me. I believe JFK did the same thing for the sixties generation.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  368. Jared

    I saw someone post about the younger generation.

    "the younger generation don’t give a dang. they think everyday is party time….vote clinton 08……. "

    Im part of that younger generation and I very much care about our future as a nation, and I can honestly say I dont think Clinton is the person to lead us there.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  369. Shirley Parmeter

    FDR would be my choice. He seemed to know how to deal with the depression by creating jobs for the unemployed and at the same time shoring up our own infrastructure. Don't we have enough bad roads, failing bridges and levies to put people to work and spend our money at home?

    Shirley from Mission Viejo, CA

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  370. Tom Pilotte

    Being a 22-year-old, I can only imagine what it was like to be around during the JFK years. To see young people actually excited about politics and America itself seems foreign to me, though I feel if we had that sort of figure around today, maybe the younger generation might actaully give a damn about what's going on. My generation has been acquainted with the political system under only one president (George W. Bush), so it's easy to see why our dreams have died and we're so apathetic about everything.

    Tom Pilotte; Muncie, IN

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  371. j

    I feel sorry for the people who would pick Bill Clinton. He helped get us in the place we are in now. JFK is the one. The country needs someone like him right now.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  372. Harry, Montgomery, OH

    Except for President Clinton, they all added to the deficit. Reagan was popular, but he was the worst when it came to the deficit, he blustered when the Marine barracks masacre took place, but did nothing which proved to the would be terrorists the US would not respond, and the Iran/Contra matter showed he was dishonest.
    President Clinton had his siginificant persoanl issues which wasted his opportunity to really impact history, but the country had an unparrelled period of economic growth and success coupled with a foreign policy that kept us out of major war and kept us safe.

    And he did this with both a Democratic and a Republican Congress

    FDR sold out eastern Europe and agreed to carve up the middle east leaving us with the mess we have today.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  373. Sharon from Michigan

    I was just a kid when John F. Kennedy was President, but he inspired me with his speeches and his charisma. Barack Obama has that same gift. Hillary does not have that same charisma, she come's off more aggressive and hard. I think she wants to be President for her own reasons, not to help the country.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  374. Tom Murray

    Jack,

    My choice is George Washington, America's first President. Why ?
    Washington knew what it took to birth America, and I don't think he would be reticent in the least to bring fire and brimstone down upon the non-representative, self-serving, pompous, and thoroughly greedy politicians that inhabit the hallowed halls of our government these days. Washington was intimately familiar with the reasons for the overthrow of the British governance of the colonies, not the least of those reasons being taxation without meaningful representation. It seems that our current President, Vice-President, and Congressmen and Senators have managed to bring us full-circle back to taxation without meaningful representation, and Washington would not stand for it for even a moment. And last but not least, Washington was, and remains, the only U.S. President who had no party affiliation. Washington's allegiance was to America, and not to a political party, something that we can not, and do not, get today in the United States of America. We have traveled a long and dark and shameful route from the first George to the present one. May God bless America, she is being killed slowly by our own politicians.

    Thanks,
    Tom in Houston, Texas

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  375. Pete, Iowa

    Gerald Ford. This country needs healing, now more than ever.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  376. Joseph A. Scribellito

    Jack,
    It has to be Harry Truman, no other president has had to make the decision to use an nuclear weapon. He exhibited more leadership than the yahoo who calls himself the 43rd president ever has and let's not forget that with Truman the buck stopped with him. With Bush it's who can he borrow a buck from or who can he blame.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  377. Glyn Jeffries

    I would put George W. Bush back in. The greatest president by far since Reagan. Time to sweep house with the rest of Washington though.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  378. Andrew

    Let me toss out a mention for ol' Andy Jackson. His style would be anethema to modern times (as would Teddy Roosevelt's), but it's hard to read his bio w/o thinking: THAT man was too tough! Seriously, though – we need Harry Truman, and we need him now.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  379. BILL

    Jack

    WOW – looks like the only Republicans that anyone would want to bring back are Roosevelt and Lincoln. Basically saying that none of them, in the last 100 years have been worth anything. A lot of people saying JFK, but could you imagine? There would be no end to those scandals, we already went through that in the 90's. Let's throw a vote for Harry Truman, that guy told you how it really was, good, bad or otherwise, I think that was the last "honest" politician.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  380. Aaron

    Nixon is my guy. at least he knew when to give up.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  381. Li Tai Fang

    I'd take Bill Clinton.
    He's already had experience cleaning up a Bush mess.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  382. Les Young

    I think the only one in our history equiped to handle this is F.D. R who was trained in the Great Depression. And several years of consecutive Republican adminstraions up to Hoover. You would think more people would read just a little American History.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  383. Leyla

    This country needs someone to clean up the "bad impression" this president created. I want to feel proud again that this land is the most united, most peaceful and most respectful land in this planet called earth. So with all these in my mind, this could have only changed with Mr. Bill Clinton. As from one end to another, everybody loved & respected this country. He was a leader for everyone not only Americans.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  384. Terry from Butte, Montana

    I would bring back Millard Filmore, because he put the first bathroom in the whitehouse. Today, there is a lot of that type of business that needs to be flushed away.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  385. Pejman Moghbeli

    As a 19 year old who remembers much the 90's, I have to say, without a doubt, that William Jefferson Clinton would be my choice; his work on the economy and the 22 million jobs that his administration created has been sorely missed.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  386. Pat Lind

    It would be Jimmy Carter. When he and Fritz MMondale were in the WHite House they consulted with Congress, the State Dept. and military to make long-term decisions about not starting a war even with the Iran hostage crisis. They also tried to engage the country in energy conservation and thinking of future alternative sources. The recession this country experienced in 1982 was after Ronald Reagan became President, which some folks misremember. Jimmy Carter has the respect of world leaders, followed the Consitution, and wasn't on a personal power or bent on rewarding his monied friends.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  387. Kevin

    I would pick Ronald Reagan.
    He understood the needs of the middle and lower income families that struggle to survive in today's world of greed. He knew the country is actually run by the little hard working people and not by the rich. The budget was fairly balanced. He had a congress working together for the most part. He did not sell our country and it's interests to the highest bidder to appease only the wealthy.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  388. Ted

    While I am a Democrat, I too would choose either of the top 2 from the poll (JFK and Reagan). The poll shows the popular desire to have a president that inspires us to be better a nation and instill the beleive that it is possible regardless of ideology. Isn't that at the very heart of what it means to be a leader? – Denver, CO

    February 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  389. Mike in San Antonio

    This country would benefit greatly from the experience, courage and wisdom of Gerald R. Ford with a sprinkling of the showmanship and sincerity of Ronald Regan.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  390. J. Lebron

    A lot of people would agree Bill Clinton administration was the best since J. Kennedy. I would chose Bill Clinton the one who left this country with a significant surplus. On a personal note G.W. Bush is not only the worse president we ever had but he has showing us and the rest of the world that he is an incompetent lier.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  391. Dan Luparello

    Where, oh where have all the heroes gone? Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR....but for these modern times, Harry S. Truman has to be the choice....a strong and decisive leader. He understood that hard decisions had to be made and he alone took responsibility for them......"the buck stops here!" . He cut through political claptrap, Washington red tape, and party partisanship to get the job done that needed to be done. His strengths far outweighed his faults. Unfortunately during his administration, he was not appreciated. History has validated his extremely positive record...Truman would be exactly what we need after 8 years of incompetent and inept party hacks led by a president who doesn't have a clue.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  392. Jordan

    George Washington.

    This country suffers from a glut of cherry trees!

    New Orleans, LA

    February 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  393. Jim F.

    We need a president who will restore our national self-respect by setting policies consistent with the fundamental principles set by the geniuses who founded this country. We also need a president who will restore our individual self-respect both by returning to us our natural rights as human beings and by requiring us to accept the responsibilities and consequences associated with exercising those rights.

    We need a Washington/Jefferson/Madison hybrid.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  394. Fred Ludwig IV of Schaumburg Il

    Instead of a president to bring back.....I will chose a quality...hmmm...how about COMMON SENSE.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  395. William Jaworski

    You said ex. President, so my answer would have to be the last President that did his job. Bill Clinton. With or without the Lewinski affair he was the best President since even before JFK.

    But, I honestly feel that Al Gore, the one that got away, would be better for the world at this time. Also, it would be better if the House,
    the Senate and the President finally stopped bickering and worked together towards the common good. I know, I'm dreaming again!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  396. Maxwell Gagin, Grayslake, Illinois

    Jack,

    Thomas Jefferson hands down. Jefferson believed in a smaller, decentralized government in which the power was in the people. I mean c'mon, the Declaration of Independence begins, "We the PEOPLE of the United States. . ." Not "I the President, lobbyists, corporations, and affluent Americans . . ." The people deserve to influence their government and that is what Jefferson truely believed in. I think that it would be tough for Jefferson's beliefs to trump people's cynacism in government, but I think that it could happen and would be worth a shot.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  397. Norman Barry (Chicago)

    FDR exhibited the wisdom needed to put a nation back to work, and the fortitude to guide that nation through a war, that if lost, would have doomed freedom for generations to follow. His social policies were compassionate while tempered by accountability. His foreign policy was strong–let not our enemies rest.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  398. Jason Smith

    I would choose George Washington.

    He was the first President. He ought to be able to shed some light on all of the *interpretations* that have been made regarding the spirit of our Constitution. He was the leader of our nation CLOSEST to the event.

    If he could clear up a few Constitutional matters, we might be able to move in the direction we initially set off in as a nation all of those years ago.

    We are CERTAINLY off course now!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  399. Bubba

    Like everyone else, I'd say Clinton and Kennedy.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  400. Ben from D.C.

    The greatest American hero and president of all time of course: George Washington. How many people can give up power for the greater of the people? He fought for freedom and helped build this country from the ground up.

    He would put to rest all this pettiness that we argue about day to day.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  401. Jon Bjorgaard

    I would think that there are several outstanding individuals who could meet the challenges faced today. They met them back in the late 1700s and out of that struggle crafted the US Constitution and gave us this REPUBLIC; which had it been followed then we would not have these problems.

    #1 George Washington: His distaste for personal power and his desire that no man or group of men should hold the power of tyranny over the populus.

    #2 James Madison: The writer of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, who knew full well the dangers of DEMOCRACY and the FASCISM that always follows it.

    #3 Thomas Jefferson: For his keen understanding of the tyranny of central banks and fiat currency. "Central banks are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies."

    #4 Andrew Jackson: Who in 1834 destroyed the Central Bank (aka Fed Reserve) seeing that the Central Bank was a simply a way to steal from everyday Americans through inflation.

    The more you think about it, the problems of 2008 are the problems of 1776, and we do not need more government, or government healthcare or government handouts. We need to follow the founding fathers, and restore our CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  402. Jacqueline McL

    1st, I would bring back Abraham Lincoln – his personal love and interest in the US government and brilliant expertise in running it is sorely needed again. Next I would pick Bill Clinton – my lawyer relative explained that the way Clinton understood the workings of our economy and put it in top shape during his yrs as president far outweighed his emotional mistakes; Thank you. JM

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  403. Frankie Kaufman

    Woodrow Wilson understood the importance of a global league of nations. With all of the foreign policy blunders of the Bush administration, we need someone who understands the importance of proper foreign policy.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  404. Ross

    Clinton – No Doubts

    1) Better Jobs
    2) Great Economy
    3) Everyone liked America and Americans
    4) Low poverty and unemployment

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  405. Michael Wright

    Warren G. Harding. He is the only President, to my knowledge, to have admitted what is so obvious to most Americans of so many Presidents. To wit, "I am not fit for this office and should never have been here." Some call him incompetent. I call him a breath of fresh air in a room full of stale windbags.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  406. Chris J/Long Grove IL

    Hmmmmmm....I would actually make a Hybrid President. Take a little bit of Lincoln, sprinkle in some Hoover and Wilson, a dab of FDR with a nice chunk of Kennedy....Top it off with some "positive" Bill Clinton, and you have a real president! Actually, Sen. Barack Obama ebodies all the great qualities of all of them...So I choose Barack!!

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  407. joan nicholson

    FDR, of course. He knew how to get the country going after the Depression and he knew how to fight and win a war. Or LBJ - again, he knew how to get the country on it's feet economically and help the disadvantaged. Too bad he got stuck in Viet Nam. Clinton was not too bad, either; it WAS the economy stupid! - just as it is today. Republicans sure know how to grab everything for themselves - just like the Robber Barons of yesteryear. If we lived in France, these folks would have lost their heads by now.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  408. Andrew A. - Rochester, New York

    Well Jack, None other than the Greaty Communicator himself, Ronald Reagan. Reagan enlisted the help of both Dems and Republicans in his coalition. He'd walk all over today's "candidates". No offense to the Bill Clinton lovers, but the 90's are a product of Reagan's policies.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  409. Brian, CA

    James K. Polk. He ran on a platform of five items he wished to accomplish, and stated that he would do these five things and not run for re-election. He then accomplished his five tasks and did not run for re-election. There could be no possible better president.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  410. Paul Ryan

    Abraham Lincoln for intelligence, toughness, and common sense.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  411. Robert Robbins

    Teddy Roosevelt.

    Often overlooked nowadays, but consider the following:

    1) His "big stick" foreign policy, though now deemed politically incorrect by many, would be just what we need to bring the situation in Iraq to a quick and decisive end. Also, he'd know how to deal with the situation down at Guantanimo (he's been there before, hasn't he).

    2) His experience in law enforcement would be helpful in re-tooling the Patriot Act and getting Homeland Security on a good footing so that policies in place actually deterred terrorists rather than just caused problems for the rest of us.

    3) While not known for his economic policies, Roosevelt did keep in check some of the excesses that had gone on during the Gilded Age before him. After all, it was Roosevelt's justice department that brought the legal action that eventually lead to the breakup of Standard Oil. Roosevelt would be able to quickly deal with the subprime mortgage crisis and his policies would likely both help homeowners in trouble and punish predatory lenders.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  412. Rob - Texas

    Andrew Jackson would be my pick. I really believe he would able to put corporate America back in its place, and deal with the issues that exist in Iraq. However, he would need some updating on our current geo-political world. He would also be missing the anger from the scandal that almost certainly gave his wife a heart attack.
    I also like JonPeter's choice Dwight Eisenhower; he would probably be the best to handle Iraq.
    I have read allot of the comments and it is so funny to see the rosy colored lens on both sides. People suggesting that the Clinton era was filled with national pride, for example.
    I also, think it is pretty ridicules to say that one of today's candidates is just as good as a former president. The group the compared Obama to FDR and Michelle Obama to Eleanor Roosevelt, Wow. I like Obama but isn't that just a bit on the extreme side? I mean, he hasn't even fully explained how he is going to make his vision come to pass. Have they spiked the water in Maine?

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  413. Demetrios

    I would have to say..Bill Clinton

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  414. Loren

    Amazing how little of history your readers know. Kennedy? Clinton? All talk and no principle, when push came to shove they both put their personal interests above those of the nation. Reagan? Everyone forgets that while he spent the Soviets into submission, he saddled the country with the largest deficits and debt ever. This will be out of left field compared to everyone else, but my preference is Eisenhower. Personally, I like managed boredom, despite the red-baiting that was virulent at the time of his early administration, he allowed it to take its course and the perpetrators to expose themselves for the venal fools they were. As an ex-soldier, he was wary of involving our country in war in a way that the non-veteran Presidents we have had haven't been able to avoid. As a midwesterner, he understood best that what most Americans want is to live in peace and prosperity and the best way to accomplish that is the middle ground, don't try to hit the home run every time, a lesson that many of the current candidates don't seem to understand.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  415. Cal

    JFK everyone? Honestly – Kennedy, Clinton, Obama – all similar in that they talk a good game, but really don't do a lot of good.

    Eisenhower.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  416. Christa Persico

    Abraham Lincoln . . . Sometimes, as a nation we have to do the hard or unpopular thing - like fight to preserve the Union – and Lincoln was able to get it done. We need a President willing to tackle the oil companies and get us moving in the right direction on global warming.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  417. Jan

    I would have to say Jack Kennedy

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  418. Charles Pratt

    Woodrow Wilson for his idealism, Franklin Roosevelt for his ability to move the federal bureacracy, and Bill Clinton for his ability to work with the opposition party to achieve results.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  419. Steve

    Alexander Hamilton

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  420. Sandra

    Okay, these commenters have Not done their homework!
    ( BILL CLINTON??? Give me a Break!)...and by the way, one day ,you people will realize Dubya wasn't so bad

    Ronald Reagan...in a heartbeat....
    Baton Rouge, LA

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  421. Justin H

    TR. All day everyday. Even if he was a rupublican, he had a mind ALL HIS OWN, something politicians lack these days.

    February 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  422. Richard

    Al Gore

    February 18, 2008 at 4:22 pm |