President Obama: Historian-in-chief





Every president is fascinated with presidential history.

But President Barack Obama’s interest is deeper and wider than most, and more public. He’s invoked Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and even Richard Nixon. He’s mocked Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes.

For Obama, presidential history is less textbook and more guidebook — and his shifting focus on particular presidents has both reflected and informed his shifting sense of his own presidency.

Obama came into office aiming to be a transcendent, uniting figure in the mold of Lincoln. He hoped to guide the nation with a common purpose through an economic crisis, like FDR did.

Four years later, Obama has retrenched and recalibrated, adopting more populist rhetoric to fight the forces aligned against him and to portray himself as a champion of the middle class....



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