Campaign Promises

Other/Miscellaneous -> Appointments


ItemAppointments
American Indian AdvisorGrade
AP-1
The Promise: "I'll appoint an American Indian Policy Adviser to my senior White House staff to work with tribes."
When/Where: Speech at Crow Agency, MT, 05/19/08.
Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU4WR_rcGUA
Status:On 06/15/09, President Obama announced the appointment of Kimberly TeeHee as his Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs. She served in that position until 04/27/12 when she was replaced by Jodi Gillette. Ms. Gillette served until 05/14/15 and was not replaced.

This promise has been fulfilled.
1.00
Autism CoordinatorGrade
AP-2
The Promise: "...will appoint a Federal ASD Coordinator to oversee federal ASD research and federal efforts to improve awareness of ASD and improve the training of medical professionals to identify and treat ASD."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Supporting Americans with Autism Spectrum Disorders" dated 10/30/08.
Source: http://www.haleynagy.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/obama-on-autism-spectrum-disorders.pdf
Status:As of early-CY2013, no Federal Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Coordinator has been appointed by President Obama.

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
Cabinet RepublicanGrade
AP-3
The Promise: "Often stated promise to appoint a Republican to his Cabinet, otherwise stated as "appoint a cabinet of the talents, irrespective of party labels." At one point, Obama stated that he "absolutely" considered it important to have Republicans in the Cabinet."
When/Where: Throughout campaign.
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE49T05X20081030
Status:Obama retained Robert Gates as Defense Secretary. On 12/18/08, he added Congressman Ray Lahood (R-IL) as his pick to be Transportation Secretary, a nomination that was confirmed. On 02/03/09, he picked Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) to be his Commerce Secretary. Although that appointment didn't pan out, the intent was there.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Chief Financial OfficerGrade
AP-4
The Promise: "Will appoint a Chief Financial Officer to oversee the rebuilding following national disasters to minimize waste and abuse."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Rebuilding the Gulf Coast and Preventing Future Catastrophes" dated 09/11/08.
Source: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/550006/barack-obama-2008-rebuilding-the-gulf-coast-and.pdf
Status:The following are examples of multi-state disasters that occurred during President Obama's two terms in office:

YEAR/TYPE/LOCATION
2011/Flood/Mississippi River Valley
2011/Tornado/Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia
2012/Hurricane Sandy/ Eastern USA
2014/Tornado/Nebraska, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina
2015/Flood/Carolinas

No Chief Financial Officer was appointed to mitigate waste and abuse in the aftermath of these national disasters.

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
Chief Performance OfficerGrade
AP-5
The Promise: "Obama ...will create a focused team within the White House that will work with agency leaders and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to improve results and outcomes for federal government programs while eliminating waste and inefficiency. This unit...will be ... headed by a new Chief Performance Officer (CPO) who will report directly to the president."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "The Change We Need in Washington" dated 09/22/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/0080cc578614b42284_2a0mvyxpz.pdf
Status:On 01/07/09, Obama named Nancy Killefer, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, to this post. Killefer had to withdraw her nomination for failure to pay household help employment taxes.

Jeffrey Zients, a board member of several corporations, was nominated to replace Ms. Killefer as the first CPO on 04/18/09. On 01/27/12, Mr. Zients was named the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) while maintaining his CPO functions until his departure on 10/16/13.

Ms. Beth Cobert replaced Mr. Zients until she became Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on 07/10/15.

The Acting CPO since 07/15 has been Mr. Dave Mader, OMB Controller.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Chief Technology OfficerGrade
AP-6
The Promise: "Will appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan for Science and Innovation dated 09/25/08
Source: http://www.faseb.org/portals/0/pdfs/opa/2008/ObamaFactSheetScience.pdf
Status:Obama's nominee, Aneesh Chopra, formerly the Secretary of Technology for Virginia, required Senate confirmation which was rendered 05/21/09. Mr. Chopra resigned from his position as the first first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) on 02/08/12 to run for political office in Virginia.

Mr. Chopra was replaced by Mr. Todd Park who served as the second CTO from 03/01/12 to 08/28/14.

The third CTO is Ms. Megan J. Smith, appointed on 09/04/14 and who remains as incumbent.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Director, FEMAGrade
AP-7
The Promise: "The FEMA Director will report directly to President Obama, serve a six-year term and will have professional emergency management experience."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Rebuilding the Gulf Coast and Preventing Future Catastrophes" dated 09/11/08.
Source: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/550006/barack-obama-2008-rebuilding-the-gulf-coast-and.pdf
Status:Craig Fugate, former director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director on 05/12/09.

Since then, the appointee continues to report to the Director of Homeland Security in lieu of reporting to the President as promised.

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
Fed Rebuilding CoordinatorGrade
AP-8
The Promise: "...will elevate the federal rebuilding coordinator so that he or she reports directly to the president and so that rebuilding remains a national priority."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Rebuilding the Gulf Coast and Preventing Future Catastrophes" dated 09/11/08.
Source: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/550006/barack-obama-2008-rebuilding-the-gulf-coast-and.pdf
Status:Janet Woodka was appointed as Gulf Coast Rebuilding Coordinator by the Secretary of Homeland Security on 03/31/09 and reported to Secretary Napolitano, not to President Obama as promised.

Ms. Woodka served as Director of the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding until that office was closed on 03/31/10, at which time she transferred to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
Federal Coordinating OfficerGrade
AP-9
The Promise: "Immediately following a catastrophe, Barack Obama will appoint a Federal Coordinating Officer to direct reconstruction efforts."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Rebuilding the Gulf Coast and Preventing Future Catastrophes" dated 09/11/08.
Source: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/550006/barack-obama-2008-rebuilding-the-gulf-coast-and.pdf
Status:The appointment of a Federal Coordinating Officer is mandated under the "Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act," which is an amended version of the "Disaster Relief Act of 1974."

Reporting to the Director of of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), William L. Vogel was appointed as Federal Coordinating Officer on 03/24/10 in the aftermath of flooding in New Jersey.

Gracia B. Szczech was appointed as Federal Coordinating Officer on 05/13/10 in the aftermath of flooding in Tennessee.

By another name (National Incident Commander), the former Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, was designated as the government's point person for the 04/20/10 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He served in that position until 09/10, three months after he retired from the Coast Guard in 06/10.

Federal Coordinating Officers were also appointed in the aftermath of tornado and flooding disasters in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and other states during the first half of CY2011, after Hurricane Sandy in late CY2012, and other disasters since then.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
GeneralGrade
AP-10
The Promise: "...in an Obama-Biden administration, every official will have to rise to the standard of proven excellence in the agency's mission."
When/Where: President-Elect "Change.gov" web site, undated
Source: http://change.gov/agenda/ethics_agenda/
Status:The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) falls under the purview of the Secretary of the Treasury. Upon his nomination for that post, it was learned that Timothy Geithner had evaded paying $26,000 in taxes since the 2001-2002 timeframe, an amount he quickly paid. In this instance, Mr. Geithner had failed to "rise to the standard of proven excellence" in the mission of the department he was nominated and later confirmed to lead.

In 04/11, Mr. Geithner stated to the news media that there was "no risk" that the nation's credit rating would be downgraded. He was proven wrong when Standard & Poor's downgraded that credit rating from AAA to AA+ on 08/05/11. Key Republicans called for his resignation, attributing to him questionable bank bailouts and failed stimulus plans that had done nothing to improve the nation's unemployment rate. Mr. Geithner returned to the private section on 01/25/13.

Another example: Ms. Elizabeth Birnbaum was appointed as Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the Department of the Interior on 07/15/09. She apparently did not meet the "standard of proven excellence" demanded by her job in the aftermath of the oil spill of 04/20/10 in the Gulf of Mexico. By some accounts she was fired by President Obama on 05/27/10; by other accounts she resigned after criticism over her lax oversight of oil drilling in general and alleged coziness with the industry she was hired to oversee.

To replace Ms. Birnbaum, President Obama selected Mr. Michael Bromwich (a litigation partner at the Fried Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson law firm when selected) to head the MMS, since rebranded as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Mr. Bromwich, formerly Inspector General at the Department of Justice under President Clinton, had no experience with oil and gas issues and thus had no "proven excellence" in his appointed mission.

These are but a few examples where this promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
National Cyber AdvisorGrade
AP-11
The Promise: "...will establish the position of National Cyber Advisor who will report directly to the President and will be responsible for coordinating federal agency efforts and development of national cyber policy."
When/Where: President-Elect "Change.gov" web site, undated
Source: http://change.gov/agenda/homeland_security_agenda/
Status:On 12/22/09, President Obama announced the appointment of Howard Schmidt, a former Chief Security Officer for eBay and Microsoft, as National Cyber-Security Coordinator or "Cyber Czar". However, Schmidt reported to the National Security Council through the Deputy National Security Advisor, John Brennan, not to the President.

In 05/12, Mr. Schmidt retired and was replaced by Michael Daniel, formerly head of the White House budget office intelligence branch. Like Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Daniel reports to the National Security Advisor and to the head of the National Economic Council.

Under Executive Order 13718 signed on 02/09/16, President Obama established the position of Federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The new CISO does not report directly to the president. Rather, the position is overseen by the Office of the Administrator, Office of E-Government and Information Technology, in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
Nuclear Security AdvisorGrade
AP-12
The Promise: "Obama will appoint a deputy national security advisor to be in charge of coordinating all U.S. programs aimed at reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism and weapons proliferation."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening Homeland Security", dated 10/17/08.
Source: http://change.gov/agenda/homeland_security_agenda/
Status:In late 01/09, President Obama appointed Gary Samore, a former Clinton Administration advisor on nonproliferation matters and coordinator of U.S. policy on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons matters, as White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and Terrorism.

Mr. Samore reported to the National Security Advisor, General (Ret.) James Jones prior to the latter's resignation on 10/08/10. General Jones was replaced by Thomas E. Donilon.

Mr. Samore was replaced by Ms. Liz Sherwood-Randall as Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Czar in 04/13.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Privacy/Civil Liberties BoardGrade
AP-13
The Promise: "Support efforts to strengthen the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board with subpoena powers and reporting responsibilities. Give the Board a robust mandate designed to protect American civil liberties and demand transparency from the Board to ensure accountability."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan "Strengthening Homeland Security" dated 10/17/08
Source: http://change.gov/agenda/homeland_security_agenda/
Status:This promise could have been filed under Homeland Security (HS), but the key tenet pertains to White House level appointments.

As a result of a 9/11 Commission Report recommendation dated 07/22/04 (formally referred to as the "Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States"), former President Bush selected three Republicans and one Democrat to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). Only the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson required Senate confirmation at the time and this was accomplished in 02/06.

In 01/07, Congress decided that this Board should be reorganized as an independent agency with each member subject to Senate confirmation.

In 01/08 the PCLOB, as originally structured, ceased to operate. It would remain nonfunctional for over four years.

In early-08/12, the Senate confirmed four of the PCLOB's five members -- two Republicans and two Democrats -- but failed to confirm its chairman, Democrat David Medine, who worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 01/13, the White House re-nominated Mr. Medine as chair and the Senate confirmed him on 05/07/13. On 07/09/13, the Board held its first public workshop followed by its first substantive hearing on 11/04/13.

As of late-CY2016, the Board may request in writing that the Attorney General subpoena on the Board's behalf parties outside of the executive branch to produce relevant information. Thus the Board itself has no subpoena powers.

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
Science/Technology AdvisorGrade
AP-14
The Promise: "Will appoint an Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Policy who will report directly to the president, and be deeply involved in establishing research priorities..."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Advancing the Frontiers of Space Exploration" dated 08/15/08.
Source: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/382369main_48%20-%2020090803.2.Space_Fact_Sheet_FINAL.pdf
Status:Obama's nominee, John P. Holdren, was confirmed by the Senate as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (the "Science Czar") on 03/19/09. He also serves as Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Special Envoy - AmericasGrade
AP-15
The Promise: "In the past, American presidents have filled the position of special envoy to bring senior-level attention to hemispheric matters...the position was eliminated...in June of 2004. As president Barack Obama will reinstate the position."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Renewing U.S. Leadership in the Americas" dated 06/06/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/85c9392c81570937d6_lqomvygpq.pdf
Status:Early in President Obama's first term in office, there was some lip service to the effect he and SecState Clinton were considering filling this position, which could easily have gone to a retired or retiring, well-known Senate or House Democrat. This didn't happen.

Former President Clinton was appointed Special Envoy to Haiti -- by the United Nations. That doesn't count.

On 02/20/15, President Obama appointed Bernard W. Aronson, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs until CY1993, as a special envoy to the peace process between the Colombian government and the guerilla warfare Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- in Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), in order to facilitate negotiations. It's interesting that FARC, with which Mr. Aronson is negotiating, is listed as a terrorist organization by the Department of State.

By the end of President Obama's second term in office, no Special Envoy for the Americas had been nominated/appointed.

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
Urban Policy DirectorGrade
AP-16
The Promise: "Will create a White House Office of Urban Policy to develop a strategy for metropolitan America and to ensure that all federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs. The Director of Urban Policy will report directly to the president and coordinate all federal urban programs."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Supporting Urban Prosperity" dated 09/11/08.
Source: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/550008-barack-obama-2008-supporting-urban-prosperity.html
Status:The White House Office of Urban Affairs was created by President Obama under Executive Order 13503 dated 02/19/09. On that date, President Obama announced the appointment of Adolfo Carrion as White House Director of Urban Affairs, reporting directly to the President and concurrently to Valerie Jarrett (Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs) and Melody Barnes (Director of the Domestic Policy Council).

Mr. Carrion's service at the Domestic Policy Council ended on 05/03/10 when he was named by President Obama to be Regional Director at the New York and New Jersey Regional Office for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

On 05/03/10, Mr. Carrion was replaced by Derek Douglas as Special Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs. Mr. Douglas served until end-CY2011 after accepting a position as the University of Chicago's Vice President for Civic Engagement. No replacement is known to have been appointed.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Violence Against WomenGrade
AP-17
The Promise: "As president, Barack Obama will appoint a special advisor who will report to him regularly on issues related to violence against women."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Ending Violence Against Women and Children" dated 10/31/07.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/d0739d3f67e3c0896f_b2m6bn9dz.pdf
Status:The appointment of Lynn Rosenthal to this position was announced on 06/26/09. Ms. Rosenthal served as the first White House Advisor on Violence Against Women until 12/14. She was replaced by Carrie Bettinger-Lopez in 01/15.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Appointments GPA0.53