That Obama "praise" for Reagan:
There have been many assertions and interpretations of Barack Obama's remarks
about Ronald Reagan. Was he praising Reagan? No. But he did
say that Reagan had new ideas of a sort, perceived at the time as something fresh and possibly good for the nation.
To my ear, Obama was talking indirectly about Jimmy Carter
. Mr. Malaise, accepting of the oil and inflation shocks of the 1970's and a general lack of optimism.
Obama, born in 1961, would have been 19 at the time of Reagan's first election to the presidency, so he probably remembers that era, and was comparing Reagan to Carter, at least in part.
And yes, Obama did imply Clinton didn't do much that was transformational. Remember, it was Bill Clinton who echoed Reagan in his 1996 State of the Union Speech
"The era of big government is over."
Obama is right about that.