As Obama prepares for new campaign, his record on keeping his promises is mixed
When President Barack Obama ran for office in 2008, he made 508 distinct promises to voters and of those, he's kept a little more than a third, and compromised on about 15 percent. But on 83 promises, according to the nonprofit organization Politifact, Obama has broken a promise he made during the 2008 campaign.
President Barack Obama, who is expected to accept the Democratic nomination for president Thursday night in Charlotte, made 508 promises during his last election campaign.
Converting campaign promises into government policy, however, is another matter.
Bill Adair, creator and editor of Politifact, said the promises range from healthcare to urban planning to help for parents of children with autism.
"We've been tracking them for four years, and rating them on a feature we call the Obameter," he said.
Of the 508, 190 promises are considered kept — about 37 percent of his promises. On 72 promises, about 14 percent, Obama compromised. For 83 promises, Politifact has determined they are broken promises, where he did what he said he wouldn't. Another 161 are either stalled or in the works. On two promises, Politifact has not been able to issue a ranking.
"We rate things based on outcomes," Adair said. "It doesn't mean it's all his doing that didn't happen. He has faced a lot of obstruction, as the Democrats call it, particularly from Republicans in the House."
Once the Republicans took control of the House in 2010, though, Obama hit a roadblock, Adair said.
To be clear, Obama has delivered on substantial promises, not the least of which were his stimulus plan and the healthcare reform bill.
Other promises kept incude Don't Ask Don't Tell's repeal and banning the use of torture. New financial regulations are also ruled a kept promise — though that certainly could be debated.
"Overall, they did do, to a large extent what they said they were going to do — to create some requirements that affected the banks and the credit card companies. I think some of this can be seen already when you get your credit card statements," Adair said.
On the promises broken side of things, Obama has made deliberate decisions, Adair said, to sacrifice some promises to achieve others.
"After the 2010 elections, he decided he needed to extend the Bush tax cuts and he accepted the Republican's requirement that he extend them even on the wealthy," Adair said.
There were also deals in the healthcare law, for example he'd promised to televise the debates over the law. But deals for pharmaceutical companies and hospitals were cut behind closed doors. Also on the list: cap carbon emissions and create a foreclosure prevention fund.
Of course, Obama has also done little on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison for terrorists. But that may be as much because he can't find a U.S. state to move them to.
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