Campaign Promises

Other/Miscellaneous -> Miscellaneous Promises -> Bipartisanship

ItemMiscellaneous Promises
MP-2 The 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-3 The 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-4 The 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.