Karl Rove Puts George W. Bush's Presidency "Up There" With Washington, Lincoln, Reagan, FDR

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Although he may have left office with a dismal 22 percent approval rating – officially the lowest rating for an outgoing president since Gallup polling began over 75 years ago – former President George W. Bush may still go down as one of the greatest presidents ever.

At least that’s what Bush’s former campaign strategist Karl Rove believes.

During an interview with ABC News on Thursday, Rove admitted that although Bush may not be up there with the likes of America’s greatest leaders – such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln – he’s also not very far below.

“The greats, you can't touch: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, FDR," Rove said. "But yeah, I'd put him up there."

Rove, who was in Dallas at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, claimed Bush’s presidency – which was chiefly marked by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – will be viewed more favorably down the road than the public thinks.

Among his arguments, the policy advisor stated Bush “kept us safe after 9/11, and tackled big issues of trying to reform Social Security, Medicare, immigration, and education.”

Rove also defended Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, calling it “the right thing to do.”

And despite not being able to able to reach a measly 25% approval on his final exit poll, Rove said a recent poll – which put the former president’s popularity at 47 percent – clearly indicates history is already being kind to the 43rd president.

Although Rove has been one of Bush’s most vocal defenders, even writing a column in the Wall Street Journal this week, Bush himself has reiterated his legacy doesn’t need defending.

“There’s no need to defend myself,” he said in an interview published last week in USA Today. “I did what I did and ultimately history will judge.”

Sources: CBS News, Huffington Post, ABC News