Political science professor talks future of Obama legacy

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, arrive for an event to thank service members and their families at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A political science professor is taking a look back at President Obama’s work in office and his legacy.

“When he came into office we were fighting two very unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we had just experienced a great recession,” Butler University Assoc. Professor of Political Science Dr. Greg Shufeldt said.

That climate set the stage for President Barack Obama’s two terms in office, which he said was a presidency that made history from election day.

“No matter what, it’s a historic first, the first African American, so to that extent this will always be a presidency that those remember and we’ll talk about in the classroom,” he said.

He believes the economy will be a talking point for those looking at Obama’s legacy.

“Coming out of the great recession,” he said, “I think for a lot of us we tend not to think that was just eight years ago, but our entire economic system was under threat of collapse, so in those eight years what has happened to unemployment, what has happened to graduation rates.”

He said Obama might be remembered for the legalization of same sex marriage.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling came on his watch,” he said.

Or he could be remembered for the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

“During his watch is when Osama Bin Laden was taken out,” he said.

Moving forward, Shufeldt believes Obama will continue to influence other Democrats especially now that they’re the minority party.

“He is still the leader of the democratic party and so he has a vested interest in seeing his agenda and his policies stay in office after he leaves,” he said, “Until there’s a new standard bearer of the democratic party, I think many people will still look to him.”

First Lady Michelle Obama has played an active role during her time in the White House, notably with her healthy kids campaign.

That could set a precedent for future spouses of presidents to take active roles as well.

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