There are only five living US presidents, but many of the Republican 2016 hopefuls seem to have trouble ranking them.
CNN’s Chris Moody asked many of the likely GOP candidates to name the greatest living president during the Freedom Summit in Greeneville, South Carolina last weekend. The question left many of them stumped. CNN released a video of the awkward encounters on Wednesday.
Several of the people questioned by Moody cited Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004. One candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, admitted he didn’t know how to answer the question.
“I don’t know. I’d have to think about that one for a long time,” Carson said, adding, “I think everybody has their good points and their bad points.”
The question poses obvious problems for the Republican field. Of the five living presidents, three are Democrats: President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, and President Jimmy Carter. The two living Republicans, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush, are both relatives of a likely 2016 candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R). Furthermore, President George W. Bush left office as one of the most unpopular presidents of all time and some members of the current GOP field have taken shots at him.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Florida), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), and Republican businessman Donald Trump all named Reagan in response to Moody’s question.
“I’ll leave that for the people to decide,” Cruz said fo the greatest living president, “Certainly, the greatest president of recent generations was Ronald Reagan.”
“I really talk about a president who died relatively recently … Ronald Reagan,” Trump said.
“Obviously, I think the greatest president of my lifetime is Ronald Reagan,” said Jindal.
Two of the Republicans questioned by Moody offered praise for the Bushes. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum said the greatest living president was “probably a Bush.” In the past, Jindal has said President George W. Bush was the best president since Reagan. He reiterated his praise for Bush in his conversation with Moody.
“I think that I would give George W. Bush credit for keeping our country safe after 9/11,” Jindal said.
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry walked away when confronted with Moody’s question.
Watch Moody’s video about the question “that stops Republican presidential hopefuls in their tracks” here.
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