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Former Washington Journalist
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Joe Biden’s not even yet been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, but he’s already begun drawing positive comparisons with at least two predecessors who are considered great US presidents.
Biden has, since he was recognized earlier this month as having defeated President Donald Trump, made national unity an important hallmark of his incoming administration.
“In some ways he is acting in the way [Abraham] Lincoln did. Lincoln was fairly quiet. He always tried to speak in a unifying way about all Americans,” said historian and author Ted Widmer. “He told southerners and he told friends who communicated publicly saying he would not interfere with that domestic institutions which was a way of referring to slavery. The South was so angry they had lost. They had been used to controlling Washington for almost the entire history of the country. They liked power. They didn’t want to surrender it. Lincoln couldn’t win even being as calm as he was and as unifying as he tried to be. The Southern states all began to secede.”
And fellow Democrat, former Missouri senator Claire McCaskill, said that Biden’s vocabulary reminds her of the last president from the Show Me State.
“I think Joe Biden is the first president since Harry Truman that regularly uses the word malarkey,” she said.
“That is a word right out of Truman’s vocabulary. Very plain spoken, very humble at his essence,” McCaskill added. “He was kind of taken by the fact that he had been thrust into this job and he was — every day, he hunkered down and tried to get to the basics, what would be the best thing for the future of America. He left the presidency, as Joe knows, and he and I have talked about this, very, very unpopular.”
Although Truman left the presidency as unpopular, he’s seen his stock rise tremendously over the years. One ranking of US presidents by historians, released by the public affairs network C-SPAN in recent years, had Truman pegged in an amazing sixth place for all 43 chief executives ranked. (Grover Cleveland, counts twice for his two non-consecutive terms, and the current president, Donald Trump, was not included.)
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