Obama Kept Many Campaign Promises But Now Faces GOP Wall

January 18, 2011

Frank James

How's President Obama doing in terms of keeping all those campaign promises he made back in 2008?

Bill Adair, editor of PolitiFact, the political fact-checking outfit, says Obama has what he called an "astounding" success rate, keeping 26 percent of his promises.

But in a discussion with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep airing Wednesday, Adair says Obama's batting average should fall, now that he must contend with a Republican-controlled House.

An excerpt from their conversation:

STEVE: You said more than 500 promises are being tracked that were made by President Obama in 2008?

ADAIR: Five hundred and six. It's just an astounding number, everything from promises to families who have autistic children to wildfires to climate change.

STEVE: So how's he doing, 506 promises, we're midway through his term?

ADAIR: He's doing well. You have to recognize that on many of his major initiatives, he has kept promises. About removing troops from Iraq and putting additional troops into Afghanistan.

He's also made tremendous progress through the economic stimulus bill which kept many of the promises he made. Overall, he's kept 26 percent of the 506 promises. We've rated 8 percent "compromise" and 7 percent "promise broken."

STEVE: Promise broken. Some people will point to the extension of President Bush's tax cuts. That was something that he was against, tax cuts for the wealthy, that is.

ADAIR: Yeah, and that was one that we just rated broken in December. And I think this is the new reality. Because Obama has to compromise more to get things done, he just can't get things through with partisan muscle. I think we're going to see more promises broken.

We're also going to see a lot of his smaller promises that we've rated in the works that are going to go to "stalled" or even "promise broken" because he doesn't have control of the House committees anymore.

As for Republicans, will they get a big "promise kept" if the House votes, as expected, to approve health care law repeal legislation?

Er, no, says Adair who explains his rationale thusly:

ADAIR: That one will go to works. The promise is repeal the law. And the vote (Wednesday) won't repeal the law. It's just the vote of one House of Congress and it would then, of course, have to go to the Senate. So at this point, the Republicans will make progress (Wednesday.) It just won't be the final word on that promise.

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