Campaign Promises

Other/Miscellaneous -> Miscellaneous Promises

ItemMiscellaneous Promises
Al GoreGrade
MP-1The Promise: "I will make a commitment that Al Gore will be at the table and play a central part in us figuring out how we solve this problem. He's somebody I talk to on a regular basis. I'm already consulting with him in terms of these issues, but climate change is real."
When/Where: Obama Statement at a Town Hall Meeting, Wallingford, PA, 04/02/08.
Status:It's unclear what Candidate Obama meant by "at the table," a term he used frequently during his first presidential campaign. But this comment should not be interpreted as Obama offering former Vice President Gore a cabinet position. Ultimately, any meaningful interface between President Obama and Nobel Prize Laureate Gore on climate change issues were invisible to the public during President Obama's two terms in office.

On 11/13/08, Gore's office advised President-Elect Obama's White House transition team that Gore did not want to be considered to fill the position of "Climate Czar" under President Obama.

The two met to discuss climate issues prior to the CY2009 international negotiations held in Copenhagen, Denmark -- a conference that produced no substantive, enforceable targets for global warming pollution, only a "rhetorical agreement," according to Gore.

On 06/22/11, the magazine "Rolling Stone" published a 7K-word essay written by former Vice President Gore that accused President Obama of having failed to lead the U.S. and international communities on the issue of global warming.

This promise was not fulfilled.
MP-2The Promise: "...and I believe that there are a lot of Republicans who hunger for that kind of bipartisan approach -- that's what I will offer as President of the United States."
When/Where: Democratic Presidential Debate, Las Vegas, NV, dated 11/15/07.
Status:While this specific promise was made within the context of national security and foreign policy, the prevailing theme was bipartisanship on all fronts.

President Obama addressed the House Republican Retreat in Baltimore on 01/29/10. He stated during that address: "Bipartisanship, not for its own sake but to solve problems, that's what our constituents, the American people, need from us right now. All of us then have a choice to make. We have to choose whether we're going to be politicians first or partners for progress; whether we're going to put success at the polls ahead of the lasting success we can achieve together for America."

With few exceptions, bipartisanship did not prevail during President Obama's two terms in office. Nonetheless, he did try to communicate his willingness to work with the Republican sides of the House and Senate early in his first term as evidenced by his address to the House Republican Retreat depicted above.

This promise was fulfilled.
MP-3The Promise: "I will call for a standing, bipartisan consultative group of congressional leaders on national security. I will meet with this consultative group every month and consult with them before taking major military action."
When/Where: Campaign Speech entitled "A New Beginning," Chicago, IL, dated 10/02/07.
Status:A consultative group was not formed during President Obama's two terms in office, despite a bipartisan study and recommendation to do so.

Further, President Obama did not meet monthly with a bipartisan representation of legislative leaders on military/national security matters.

This promise was not fulfilled.
MP-4The Promise: "...put an end to the petty partisanship that passes for politics in Washington..."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Speech entitled "League of United Latin American Citizens," Washington, D.C., 07/08/08.
Status:The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was passed with only three (3) Republicans in the Senate (none in the House) voting for it.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) was even worse, with all Republicans in the House and Senate voting either against it or not at all (as in the case of Senator Isakson, R-GA).

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173) passed the Democrat-controlled House on 12/11/09 without one single Republican vote and passed the Democrat-controlled Senate with support from only three Republican and two Independent Senators.

On these big bills, there was absolutely no significant bipartisanship.

After the Republicans won control of the House in the 11/10 elections and to prevent "petty partisanship" from continuing, a first meeting took place on 11/30/10 between President Obama and top Congressional leaders from both parties. In an address to the media following this meeting, President Obama focused on the "hyperpartisan climate" in which "both sides come to the table. They read their talking points. Then they head out to the microphones, trying to win the news cycle instead of solving problems." This statement is one of many that set the stage for continued animosity between Congress and the White House.

To be fair, bipartisan compromises were reached to extend Bush-era tax cuts (H.R. 4853), repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (H.R. 2965)," and ratify the "New START" treaty with Russia (signed into law on 02/02/11). These are but a few significant examples.

Nonetheless, it was evident that "petty partisanship" would continue, making progress on such dicey issues as a new Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, immigration reform, etc. virtually impossible.

Meanwhile, President Obama missed no opportunities to insult Congressional Republicans. On 10/17/11, he mocked their intelligence by stating that Republicans were "not smart enough" to understand his $447B jobs bill and he therefore had to present it to Congress in smaller pieces so that Republicans could understand them.

As of end-CY2016, with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, the page on "petty partisanship" had not been turned.

This promise was not fulfilled.
Campaign FinancingGrade
MP-5The Promise: "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."
When/Where: Midwest Democracy Network Presidential Candidate Questionnaire, dated 11/27/07.
Status:The amount of public financing for a candidate's campaign after nomination is established and limited by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) based on funds made available by the Department of the Treasury from contributions made by individuals on their tax return ($3 per person on CY2008 and CY2012 IRS Form 1040).

After winning his party's nomination on 08/27/08 for the 2008 general election, it became clear that Candidate Obama was doing extremely well with private funding from small donors, principally through the Internet. He reportedly received about $745M for the CY2008 campaign and $782M for the CY2012 campaign from private sources .

Based on his success in raising money through social media, Candidate Obama retreated/flip-flopped from pursuing public financing, did not "aggressively" engage with his opponent at the time on this issue, and shunned public campaign financing altogether. That funding would reportedly have been limited by the FEC to about $85M for each nominee.

This promise was not fulfilled.
College FootballGrade
MP-6The Promise: "....we should be creating a playoff system. Eight teams. That would be three rounds to determine a national champion....I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit..."
When/Where: Interview on CBS New Program "60 Minutes" dated 11/17/08.
Status:Among the principal complaints against the college football Bowl Championship Series (BCS) when Candidate Obama promised to "influence" change were that the methodology employed to select championship game participants consisted of subjective voting assessments coupled with the ability for an undefeated team to finish a season without being afforded the opportunity to play in that year's national championship game. Further, a team could lose its own conference championship but still be selected to play in the BCS championship game.

President Obama's desire for a college football playoff system was repeated several times during his first term in office, most notably on 04/23/09 when he received the Florida Gators champions at the White House. During his remarks to that winning football team, he stated "You guys are the national champions. I'm not backing off the fact we need a playoff system." This remark became reality on 06/26/12 when university presidents approved a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) plan to institute a four-team playoff system. The structure: four teams, two semifinals played in bowl games during the New Year holiday, followed by a national championship game played about a week later. The four-team playoff system was activated with the CY2014-CY2015 college football season.

President Obama didn't get the eight teams he wanted in the new college football playoff system. However, he most likely influenced the creation of the new four-team playoff system.

This promise was fulfilled.
Miscellaneous Promises GPA0.33