February 17, 2009
Posted: 10:26 AM ET
It's been 145 years since Abraham Lincoln appeared on a ballot, but admiration for the man who saved the union and sparked the end of slavery is as strong as ever, according to a new survey.
Lincoln finished first in a ranking by historians of the 42 former White House occupants. The news wasn't quite as good for the latest addition to the nation's most exclusive fraternity: George W. Bush finished 36th in the survey, narrowly edging out the likes of historical also-rans Millard Fillmore, Warren Harding and Franklin Pierce.
James Buchanan - the man who watched helplessly as the nation lurched toward civil war in the 1850s - finished last.
Bill Clinton registered the greatest gain among recent presidents, jumping from 21st to 15th in the survey. Ronald Reagan edged forward from 11th to 10th overall, while George H.W. Bush moved up from 20th to 18th.
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