Factbox: Promises, promises: How Obama has fared

(BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama is urging Americans to look at his record after two years in office in a bid to persuade voters to back fellow Democrats, who face the threat of big losses in the November 2 congressional elections.

“I keep in my pocket a checklist of the promises I made during the campaign, and here I am, halfway through my first term, and we’ve probably accomplished 70 percent of the things that we said we were going to do,” Obama said in an interview in the October issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

Obama did not reveal what is on his list but the nonpartisan PolitiFact.com website has been tracking his progress on campaign promises. According to its “Obameter Scorecard”, Obama has kept 122 promises, compromised on 41 and broken 22. Some 236 promises are “in the works.”

Here are a few of the bigger promises Obama made on the 2008 campaign trail and where he is on fulfilling them.


As promised, Obama put in place new financial regulations that aim to stop the excessive risk-taking on Wall Street that helped fuel the 2007-2009 financial crisis. But it came at a price — the Obama administration has rocky relations with the business community, which views his policies with suspicion.

Obama’s vow to extend Bush-era tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans has stalled in the run-up to the elections. Republicans and some fiscally conservative Democrats want to extend the cuts for everyone. It now might be voted on in the “lame-duck” session of Congress after the elections. Without congressional action all tax rates will go up on January 1.

Obama has also struggled to make good on his broad promise to get the economy back on a solid footing after the worst recession since the 1930s. Despite an $814 billion package to stimulate the economy, unemployment is stuck near 10 percent. The jobless figure is by far the main cause of the Democrats’ poor poll numbers going into the elections.


Obama had promised to make the United States a leader in the fight against global warming. But he failed to get a bill to curb climate change through the Senate despite making an international commitment to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions some 17 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels.

Obama has said he would prioritize efforts to revamp U.S. energy policy next year but is unlikely to advance the wide-ranging plans — especially a controversial “cap and trade” system to curb carbon emissions — that he promoted as a presidential candidate and in the first two years of his term.


In March Obama signed into law a landmark bill to revamp the United States’ $2.5 trillion healthcare system, extending health insurance to 32 million Americans who have none and expanding the Medicaid government health insurance program.

So far, so good. But polls show most Americans do not understand what is in the law; Republicans are threatening to try to repeal the nearly $1 trillion overhaul if they make big gains in November; and some 20 states have launched legal action to overturn it. Some Obama supporters are also unhappy that the law does not include a government insurance option.


Obama pledged to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. It took him a little longer — the last combat brigade left in August. There are still 50,000 troops in Iraq, although they have been relabeled as “advisory and assistance” brigades.

Obama also kept his promise to send two new brigades — some 30,000 troops — to Afghanistan as part of a revamped strategy to break the momentum of a resurgent Taliban enemy. U.S. military casualties are on the rise, while the new strategy has had mixed results.


Opposition in Congress and legal complications have prevented Obama from making good on a promise to close the Guantanamo detention camp for terrorism suspects. Obama has acknowledged that he has fallen short on that pledge but said he still wants to transfer Guantanamo detainees to prison in the United States. But electoral gains by Republicans, who favor military trials for suspects, could stymie his efforts.


Obama has found himself in a bizarre predicament as he seeks to fulfill his promise to repeal the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” rule for gays in the military. His administration last week won a federal appeals court ruling to keep the ban, overturning a judge’s decision that forced the military to accept openly gay recruits.

The administration says the issue should be dealt with by Congress, not the courts. The House of Representatives voted in May to repeal the ban, but debate is stalled in the Senate.


Obama promised to have an immigration bill in Congress within his first year in office. That has not materialized. Immigration reform has taken a backseat as Obama grapples with other issues, such as healthcare and financial reform.

Many Hispanics are disappointed, but Obama has blamed Republicans, who favor first stepping up efforts to secure the country’s borders, for backing away from reform. A Republican-controlled House would make it harder for Obama to fulfill that promise.

(For more on the U.S. midterm elections please click: http://www.reuters.com/politics/elections-2010)

(Reporting by Ross Colvin; additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Jeremy Pelofsky; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Factbox: Promises, promises: How Obama has fared