October 12, 2014

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said in a recent interview that President Barack Obama was one of the most successful presidents in American history, topping even Ronald Reagan.

In a cover story for Rolling Stone magazine titled "In Defense of Obama," Krugman defends Obama against critics on the right and the left.

"High office shouldn't be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better," Krugman wrote. "Has Obama done that? Do his achievements look likely to endure? The answer to both questions is yes."

"People who thought Obama was going to bring a transformation of America, I thought were being naive," Krugman told ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl in a recent interview. "But by God, we got health reform, we got a significant financial reform. We are getting -- the environmental action is not everything you would have wanted, but it's more than anyone else has done for decades."

Krugman said that the current president had not made nearly the same impact as Franklin D. Roosevelt, but he was ahead of Reagan.

“In the end, Reagan did not leave the structure of America’s society particularly different,” Krugman explained. “He did not in fact change the basic legacy of Lyndon Johnson and FDR.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and President Obama all were more successful than Reagan, according to the economist.

Krugman also admitted that Obama had a more "professorial" style than President Bill Clinton, who he described as a "gifted politician."

"Bill Clinton enters a room, and it doesn't matter how many people are in the room, you think he's talking to you," he noted. "But in fact, Bill Clinton was not a consequential president. And Obama, although clearly not the natural politician, he is a consequential president."

National security, however, was one area that Obama could not be called a "great" president, Krugman said.

"He hasn't done anything really stupid. And that is a big improvement over his predecessor."

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