Assessing the Presidency with Lesley Stahl, Douglas Brinkley, Jonathan Alter and Ed Rollins


President Obama clearly has a place in history for breaking through the race barrier, but how will the rest of his presidency be remembered?

The Common Good hosted a discussion comparing the current President and his accomplishments with other Presidents in modern history.

Moderated by the distinguished investigative journalist Lesley Stahl, the panel featured leading GOP campaign strategist Ed Rollins, esteemed historian Douglas Brinkley and award-winning author Jonathan Alter.


Douglas Brinkley, Ph.D., is a fellow in history at the Baker Institute and a professor of history at Rice University. Brinkley’s most recent publications include The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (2009); The Reagan Diaries (2007), which he edited; and the New York Times best-seller The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2006), which was the recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

Edward Rollins is Chairman of the Rollins Strategy Group, a communications and crisis management firm with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. He has long been considered one of America’s premier political strategists and communication experts, specializing in issue, image and crisis campaigns on behalf of corporations, governments, and political candidates around the world.

Edward Rollins has served four United States Presidents, including two tours of duty at the White House as Assistant to the President. He was in charge of both the White House Office of Political Affairs and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as well as serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff.

Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, reporter, columnist and television analyst. Since 2011, Alter has written a column for Bloomberg View, a worldwide commentary site housed under Bloomberg News. He spent 28 years at Newsweek, where he was a longtime senior editor and columnist and wrote more than 50 cover stories. He has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, The New Republic and other publications. Since 1996, Alter has been an analyst and contributing correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC.

The 2012 campaign marks the eighth presidential election Alter has covered. He has frequently interviewed American presidents and other world leaders and regularly breaks news. His Newsweek cover stories over the years included everything from Bill Clinton’s first interview after leaving the presidency to Barack Obama’s first-ever magazine cover.

One of America’s most recognized and experienced broadcast journalists, Lesley Stahl has been a 60 Minutes correspondent since March 1991. Prior to joining 60 Minutes, Stahl served as CBS News White House correspondent during the Carter and Reagan presidencies and part of the term of George H. W. Bush. Her reports appeared frequently on the CBS Evening News, first with Walter Cronkite, then with Dan Rather, and on other CBS News broadcasts. Her experiences covering Washington for more than 20 years became the subject of her book Reporting Live (Simon & Schuster, 1999). The stories she has covered since joining CBS News in the Washington bureau in 1972 range from Watergate through the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan to the 1991 Gulf War.

Interested in attending future events?