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President Barack Obama didn’t hesitate to usage a little hyperbole in making the instance for Hillary Clinton during the convention: "There has actually never to be a man or a woman, not me, not Bill, nobody an ext qualified 보다 Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United says of America," that said. Then, in a joking aside: "I hope you don"t mind, Bill, but I was simply telling the truth, man."

It’s true Clinton has an ext foreign policy experience than many recent nominees. She’s far an ext politically experienced than Obama was. And due to she time as very first lady, she’s also actually lived in the White House.

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But the most qualified?

Defining a many Qualified chairman Ever conveniently runs into some problems of comparison. How do you to compare Clinton to Dwight Eisenhower, that had small political endure per se however who additionally led the multinational military initiative to loss Nazi Germany before running because that office?

The other question is whether this is even a great metric to referee a candidate: after all, if a president’s pre-White residence qualifications to be the sole determining aspect of fitness for office, wednesday be honoring the really qualified James Buchanan, not the vastly underqualified Abraham Lincoln.

Hillary Clinton is, in fact, pretty qualified

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine get off the campaign bus in Columbus, Ohio. Justin Sullivan/Getty photos Hillary Clinton’s politics résumé is much longer than Obama’s was when he take it office. She offered as secretary of state for four years, and also for eight years to be the small senator from brand-new York. She ran in two really competitive autonomous primaries. As very first lady, she led invoice Clinton’s push for health treatment reform, an interpretation she play a significant policy duty on the White house staff. If elected, she’d be the very first Cabinet member to come to be president because 1928, and one the the couple of with far-reaching foreign policy experience in the postwar era.

Clinton has likewise actually resided in the White House before and, as the mam of a previous president, has much more direct knowledge of the demands of the presidency than all yet a grasp of people.

So yes, she’s pretty qualified.

On the various other hand, uneven 18 of the previous 44 presidents, Clinton has never to be a governor, an interpretation she has actually no straight experience make the efforts to pass a substantial agenda with a legislature while being directly accountable to voters. She’s never served in the military. She’s worked for a legislation firm, however she hasn’t run a business.

This isn’t a hit on Clinton; there are just so numerous things a person deserve to do in one lifetime. But they’re all points that previous presidents have actually done. Qualifications because that the presidency aren’t an target multiple-choice test, but an essay question — there are simply too countless branching courses a person could take, and too many species of experiences a person can have.

Still, it’s for sure to to speak that compared with countless past presidents, Clinton stacks up pretty well.

The first 50 year of America featured part absurdly standard presidents

Many that America’s more quickly presidents had considerable experience before taking office. Thomas Jefferson was branch of Virginia, secretary of state, and ambassador come France (and composed the explanation of Independence). James Monroe was secretary the war, secretary the state, branch of Virginia, ambassador come both the united Kingdom and also France, and also a senator.

It go on. Martin valve Buren was a senator, governor, state lawyer general, secretary of state, and ambassador. John Quincy Adams served in the House, the Senate, and was ambassador to three major nations before ending up being secretary the state and then president. All of these candidates’ pre-White house experiences quickly rival or surpass Clinton’s.

Presidential résumés started to acquire a lot much less impressive after ~ Andrew Jackson took office in 1828 — an especially concerning foreign policy. (Still, there room some impressive exceptions. Wilhelm Howard Taft was the colonial governor the the Philippines and Cuba, and secretary that war, a solicitor general, and a judge.)

Meanwhile, the only presidents after world War II to have far-ranging foreign plan experience prior to reaching the White house were Dwight Eisenhower and George H. W. Bush. Eisenhower had actually never held any kind of other chosen office. Bush, that had additionally been the united state ambassador to the UN, angry president and also director that the CIA, arguably has the résumé closest to Clinton’s — although, unlike her, that never organized statewide elected office.

Experience isn’t a great predictor that success

Herbert Hoover’s reputation was sterling prior to his presidential campaign. That didn’t survive his presidency. Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty images to compare the resumes the presidential nominees conveniently becomes a video game of apples and oranges. I m sorry candidate had much more experience: Millard Fillmore, who’d been vice president, or Ulysses S. Grant, that led the victorious Union army during the polite War?

It’s hard to say. But it can not really matter: there doesn’t seem to be lot correlation in between the stamin of a presidential candidate’s résumé and also how history judges them after they’ve served in the White House.

In 1857, James Buchanan ended up being president with a résumé simply as exceptional as Clinton’s (terms in the House and Senate, ambassador to Russia and the unified Kingdom, secretary that state). After 4 years, he was flourished by a male with remarkably slim qualifications — Abraham Lincoln had actually only served one ax in the US home of Representatives prior to famously shedding a Senate election.

But every that experience meant little. Buchanan went down in history as the male who couldn’t avoid the imminent Civil War, and also Lincoln finished up through the huge memorial top top the nationwide Mall for conserving the Union.

Similarly, Herbert Hoover, the critical member that the cabinet to become president, had actually a sterling reputation as an effective situation manager and humanitarian prior to he moved right into the White House, and also as a people traveler who had lived in number of countries. He’d controlled food relief in Europe during and also after civilization War I, helping conserve millions of world from starvation; together secretary the commerce, he directed relief after Mississippi river floods left more than 600,000 civilization homeless.

Then he became president in 1928 and oversaw the beginning of the great Depression. "A good crisis manager and also humanitarian" was not his legacy.

Many the the most reliable presidents, on the various other hand, had résumés the were perfectly adequate at best. Obama had served 4 years in the Senate; he ended up passing historic legislation and also redefining the democratic Party. Reagan had actually been branch of California and an actor. Franklin D. Roosevelt was governor of brand-new York.

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Qualifications are a fine point to have. But background suggests they’re far from the most vital thing as soon as it involves effective presidential leadership.