PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BROKEN PROMISES
This section of DiscoverTheNetworks examines the promises that Barack Obama made during the 2008 presidential campaign and early in his presidency, but subsequently broke.
I) OBAMA PROMISES TO BE A UNITER OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE:
* “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is a United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America, a Latino America, an Asian America, There is a United States of America.” -- Obama addressing the Democratic national convention in 2004 (here and here)
* “[Too often] we’re distracted from our real failures and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants.” -- Obama's announcement speech declaring his presidential candidacy (February 10, 2007)
* “I don’t want to pit Red America against Blue America. I want to be the president
of the United States of America.” -- Obama at the 2007 Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa
* “We have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division and conflict and cynicism…. That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, ‘Not this time….’” -- Obama speech in Philadelphia, addressing the controversy over Jeremiah Wright (March 18, 2008)
* Candidate Obama told Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone in 2008 that he would put an end to the type of politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism,” and that he would help Americans “rediscover our bonds to each other and to get out of this constant petty bickering that’s come to characterize our politics.”
* “If you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint
your opponent as someone people should run from.” -- Obama, implicitly rejecting political scare tactics, during his presidential acceptance speech (August 28, 2008)
* “You [voters] said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and ager and pettiness that's consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that's been all about division. And instead make it about addition; to build a coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states.” -- Obama, after winning the Iowa Caucus (January 1, 2008)
* “The time has come for a president … who will listen to you and learn from you even when we disagree.... I will be that president for America.” -- Obama, after winning the Iowa Caucus (January 1, 2008)
* “I'll be a president who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American, the same way I expanded health care in Illinois. By bringing Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done.” -- Obama, after winning the Iowa Caucus (January 1, 2008)
* “This [victory in Iowa] was the moment when we finally beat back the politics of fear and doubt and cynicism, the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up.” -- Obama, after winning the Iowa Caucus (January 1, 2008)
* “We are not a collection of red states and blue state. We are the United States of America.” -- Obama, after winning the Iowa Caucus (January 1, 2008)
* “I will listen to you,
especially when we disagree… Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics
for too long.” -- Obama in Grant Park, Chicago, on the night of his election (Nov. 4, 2008)
END RESULT: Obama has consistently sought to divide Americans along lines of class, race, ethnicity, and sex. For details and documentation of this, click here.
II) OBAMA PROMISES TO END POLITICAL PARTISANSHIP, AND TO WORK WITH REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS TO GET THINGS DONE
* "If the Republicans have ideas for how to improve our healthcare system, if they want to suggest modifications that would deliver faster, more effective reform ... I am happy to consider some of those ideas," Obama told a news conference at the White House. -- Obama during the healthcare debate (Nov. 3, 2010)
* “[T]he Republicans say that they've got a better way of doing it. So I want them to put it on the table because as I told them -- as I told them a while back, look, I mean, I'm not a -- I'm not an unreasonable guy. If you show me that you can do the things we just talked about -- protect people from insurance problems, make sure that the costs are controlled, and people who don't have health insurance are covered -- and you can do it cheaper than me, then why wouldn’t I do that? I'll just grab your idea and say, great, and take all the credit. I'd be happy to do it.” -- Obama at a healthcare town hall meeting in Henderson, NV (Feb. 19, 2010)
* “If next week senators have additional ideas that will put people back to work right now and meet the challenges of -- of the current economy, we are happy to consider them.... I am happy to negotiate with them [Republicans] on a whole host of issues.” -- Obama at a news conference, pressing for a vote on his jobs bill (Oct. 6, 2011)
END RESULT: Obama has consistently refused to take Republican ideas seriously. For example:
- The Washington Post reported on 1/23/09: "President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning - but he also left no doubt about who's in charge of these negotiations. 'I won,' Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation."
- In October 2010, Obama said: These are the folks whose policies help devastate our middle class. They drove our economy into a ditch. And we got in there and put on our boots. We pushed and we shoved and we were sweating. These guys were standing, watching us, sipping on a Slurpee. And they were pointing at us saying, ‘How come you’re not pushing harder? How com you’re not pushing faster?’ And then when we finally got the car up–and it’s got a few dings and a few dents. It’s got some mud on it. We’re going to have to do some work on it. They point out to everybody else and say: ‘Look what these guys did to your car!’ After we got it out of the ditch, and then they got the nerve to ask for the keys back. I don’t want to give them the keys back. They don’t know how to drive.... We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”
III) OBAMA PROMISES TO CUT FEDERAL SPENDING AND THE BUDGET DEFICIT:
* In an October 2008 presidential debate with McCain, Obama said: “But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.”
* Also in 2008, Obama said it was “unpatriotic” for the Bush administration to have added $4 trillion to the national debt in eight years.)
* “[T]oday I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we've long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay – and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control.” – President Barack Obama, Remarks, 2/23/09
* “This is big – the President today promised that by the end of his first term, he will cut in half the massive federal deficit we've inherited. And we'll do it in a new way: honestly and candidly.” – Macon Phillips, The White House Blog, 2/23/09
END RESULT: From 2009 through 2012, President Obama presided over a $5 trillion increase to the U.S. national debt.
IV) OBAMA PROMISES THAT PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO KEEP THEIR DOCTORS AND HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS UNDER OBAMACARE:
* To Promote His Health Care Package, President Obama said the following: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
* “Americans must have the freedom to keep whatever doctor and health care plan they have…” – Barack Obama, Remarks On Health Care, Washington, D.C., 5/11/09
* “The plans you are discussing embody my core belief that Americans should have better choices for health insurance, building on the principle that if they like the coverage they have now, they can keep it, …” – Barack Obama, Letter To Senate Democrat Leaders, 6/2/09
* “There's no doubt that we have to preserve what's best in the health care system, and that means allowing Americans who like their doctor and like their health care plan to keep their plan. And that's going to be a priority for us.” – Barack Obama, Remarks At Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA, 7/1/09
* “I know a lot of Americans who are satisfied with their health care right now are wondering what reform would mean for them, so let me be clear: If you like your doctor or health care provider, you can keep them. If you like your health care plan, you can keep that too.” – Barack Obama, Remarks On Health Care, Washington, D.C., 7/15/09
* “Those who oppose reform will also tell you that under our plan, you won't get to choose your doctor, that some bureaucrat will choose for you. That's also not true. Michelle and I don't want anyone telling us who our family's doctor should be, and no one should decide that for you either. Under our proposals, if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. If you like your current insurance, you keep that insurance. Period. End of story.” – President Barack Obama, Weekly Address, 7/18/09
* In February 2010, President Obama said: “... For example, we said from the start that it was going to be important for us to be consistent in saying to people if you can have your — if you want to keep the health insurance you got, you can keep it, that you’re not going to have anybody getting in between you and your doctor in your decision making. And I think that some of the provisions that got snuck in might have violated that pledge.”
* The Heritage Foundation reports that at least 30 percent of employers say they will definitely or probably stop offering insurance once the law’s main provisions go into effect in 2014, and that the number could rise above 50% once employers become fully aware of all of the law's implications. Investors Business Daily places the figure at 51% for all employers, and 66% among small business employers.
* In Crimes Against Liberty, David Limbaugh writes: “Obama said ObamaCare 'would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan.' But he knew his plan had no such guarantee, and he also knew his plan would likely crowd out private insurers. The chief actuary of the Medicare program estimates 14 million people will lose their employer coverage under ObamaCare, even though many will want to keep it. In fact, many companies are now evaluating whether they can save money by paying the penalty in lieu of providing their employees healthcare coverage. AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere, and Verizon have all made their internal calculations, and those results don't portend well for their employees.”
V) OBAMA PROMISES TO TELEVISE THE HEALTHCARE DEBATES ON C-SPAN:
* During the 2008 campaign, Obama repeatedly promised that all the negotiations would be televised on CSPAN, so that all Americans could see exactly what was being said and done. This page cites the following Obama quotes on this subject:
- "You know I respect what the Clintons tried to do in 1993 in moving health reform forward. But they made one really big mistake, and that is they took all their people and all their experts into a room and then they closed the door. We will work on this process publicly. It'll be on C-SPAN. It will be streaming over the net." -November 2008, Google Q & A
- "Not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are. 'Cause part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process." -January 2008, CNN Debate
- "But these negotiations will be on C-SPAN. And so the public will be part of the conversation, and will see the choices being made." -January 2008, San Francisco Chronicle
- "We will have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN so people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies." -August 2008, Virginia Town Hall
- "And we will have a public process for forming this plan. It'll be televised on C-SPAN. I can't guarantee it'll be exciting so not everybody's gonna be watching. But it will be transparent and accountable to the American people." -November 2007, Keene Sentinel
END RESULT: When Senator John McCain pointed out to Obama (in February 2010) that the proceedings had not been televised, Obama said, disparagingly: “We're not campaigning anymore, the election's over.”
VI) OBAMA PROMISES THAT HEALTHCARE REFORM WILL LOWER INSURANCE POLICY PREMIUM COSTS:
* During the 2008 campaign, President Obama promised to “sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of [his] first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”
* During the healthcare debate, Obama said: "We agree on reforms that will finally reduce the costs of health care. Families will save on their premiums; businesses that will see their costs rise if we do nothing will save money now and in the future. This plan will strengthen Medicare and extend the life of that program. And because it gets rid of the waste and inefficiencies in our health care system, this will be the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade.”
* In October 2008, Obama said: “Here’s what I would do. If you’ve got health care already, and probably the majority of you do, then you can keep your plan if you are satisfied with it. You can keep your choice of doctor. We’re going to work with your employer to lower the cost of your premiums by up to $2,500 a year.”
* MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, the chief architect of Obamacare, also said in 2009 that costs would drop sharply.
* On September 22, 2010, Obama reiterated that “as a consequence of the Affordable Care Act, premiums are going to be lower than they would be otherwise; health care costs overall are going to be lower than they would be otherwise. And that means, by the way, that the deficit is going to be lower than it would be otherwise.”
* Exactly the opposite has happened, as the Heritage Foundation reported in 2011: “Health care spending increased by 7.5 percent in 2010 and will grow by 8 percent this year. In 2012, it will rise again by 8.5 percent. This is exactly the opposite of the President’s promise ...”
* In February 2012, Obamacare's Jonathan Gruber backtracked on his previous analysis. He now told officials in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado the price of insurance premiums would “dramatically increase” under the reforms.
* The Heritage Foundation projects that the average cost of employer-provided insurance will rise by $5.51 per hour for each full-time employee.
* Obama initially stated that his plan would cost no more than $940 billion over a ten-year period. But a subsequent CBO report found that the actual cost to taxpayers would be $1.8 trillion.
VII) OBAMA PROMISES TO CLOSE THE GUANTANAMO BAY DETENTION CENTER:
When running for president, Obama consistently portrayed Guantanamo Bay as a moral stain on America's reputation abroad. Here are four of his statements about it:
- June 2007: “Why don't we close Guantanamo and restore the right of habeas corpus, because that's how we lead, not with the might of our military, but the power of our ideals and the power of our values? It's time to show the world we're not a country that ships prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far off countries.”
- August 2007: "As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists."
- December 13, 2007: “If you were a Muslim overseas listening to Rudy Giuliani say 'they are coming here to try to kill you,' which is the tenor of many of the speeches that are delivered by Republicans, you would get an impression that they are not interested in talking and resolving issues peacefully. Now, what we need to do [to reach Muslims] is we need to close Guantanamo. We need to restore habeas corpus. We need to send a strong signal that we are going to talk directly to not just our friends but also to our enemies.”
- November 16, 2008: "I have said repeatedly that I will close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that."
END RESULT: On January 22, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order that stated: “The detention facilities at Guantanamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable and no later than one year from the date of this order.” Guantanamo remains open to this day. In March 2011 Obama signed an executive order to create a formal system of indefinite detention for the captives still kept at Guantanamo.
VIII) OBAMA PROMISES THAT NO ONE EARNING UNDER $250,000 WOULD GET A TAX HIKE: During the campaign, Obama made “a firm pledge”: “No family making less than $250,000 will see any form of tax increase – not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”
* In February 2010 Obama said he was “agnostic” about raising taxes on such households: “The whole point of it is to make sure that all ideas are on the table. So what I want to do is to be completely agnostic, in terms of solutions.”
* A case can be made that Obama's support for Cap & Trade was support for an energy tax on every American regardless of income, and that only the Senate's failure to pass the bill spared Americans from that tax.
* A case can also be made for the claim that Obamacare, and the increased healthcare costs it imposes on people through the individual mandate as well as its higher costs in general, also constitutes a heavy tax on millions of middle-class people. Indeed the Supreme Court in 2012 definitively called it a tax.
* According to Americans for Tax Reform, here are some other items related to Obama's pledge not to raise taxes on those earning under $250,000:
- Feb. 4, 2009 – Just sixteen days into his presidency, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco – a hike of 62 cents per pack. The median income of smokers is just over $36,000.
- March 23, 2010 – Obama’s health care bill enacted two dozen new or higher taxes (at least seven of which violated his “firm pledge” on taxes), including:
-- Individual Mandate Excise Tax
-- Employer Mandate Excise Tax
-- Small business 1099-MISC Information Reporting
-- Surtax on Investment Income
-- Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans
-- Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax
-- Medicine Cabinet Tax
-- HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike
-- Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax”
-- Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers
-- "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of Adjusted Gross Income
-- Tax on Indoor Tanning Services
-- Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage
-- Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike
-- Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals
-- Tax on Innovator Drug Companies
-- Tax on Health Insurers
-- Biofuel “black liquor” tax hike
-- Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”
IX) OBAMA PROMISES TO RENEGOTIATE NAFTA: At an Aug 7, 2007
AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum, candidate Obama was asked, “Would you scrap NAFTA or fix it?” He replied: “I would immediately call the president of Mexico, the president of Canada to try to amend NAFTA because I think that we can get labor agreements in that agreement right now. And it should reflect the basic principle that our trade agreements should not just be good for Wall Street, it should also be good for Main Street.” Here is video of several times Obama pledged to renegotiate NAFTA.
END RESULT: In April 2009, Obama broke his campaign pledge to renegotiate NAFTA.
X) OBAMA PROMISES NOT TO APPOINT LOBBYISTS IN HIS ADMINISTRATION: During the campaign, Obama said that lobbyists “won’t work in my White House.” “They are not going to dominate my White House,” he said at a rally.
END RESULT: Obama broke this pledge immediately upon taking office in January 2009, when he nominated William Lynn as deputy to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. At the time, Lynn was a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts. Obama’s transition office explained the decision: “Because Mr. Lynn came so highly recommended from experts across the political spectrum, the president-elect felt it was critical that he fill this position.” During his first two weeks in office, Obama nominated 17 lobbyists for Administration posts. There were many others after that. This source says that by January 2012, Obama had appointed nearly 100 lobbyists.
XI) OBAMA PROMISES TO POST ALL PENDING LEGISLATION ONLINE 5 DAYS BEFORE SIGNING IT:
* In June 2007, Obama announced his “Sunlight Before Signing” promise: “When there is a bill that ends up on my desk as the president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it.”
* Obama repeated that promise on his campaign website: “Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.”
END RESULT: Obama signed his first bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, on Jan. 20, 2009 – only two days after its passage. He signed a second bill expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program just three hours after Congress passed it. And on Feb. 17, 2009, he signed his 1,000-page $787 billion stimulus bill only one business day after it passed through Congress.
XII) OBAMA PROMISES TO SUPPORT AND PROTECT ISRAEL:
In June 2008, Obama made a speech to AIPAC, where he said:
* “... as president I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security. Not when there are still voices that deny the Holocaust. Not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel's destruction. Not when there are maps across the Middle East that don't even acknowledge Israel's existence, and government-funded textbooks filled with hatred toward Jews. Not when there are rockets raining down on Sderot, and Israeli children have to take a deep breath and summon uncommon courage every time they board a bus or walk to school.”
* “But part of our commitment must be speaking up when Israel's security is at risk, and I don't think any of us can be satisfied that America's recent foreign policy has made Israel more secure.”
* “Our alliance is based on shared interests and shared values. Those who threaten Israel threaten us. Israel has always faced these threats on the front lines. And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security. That starts with ensuring Israel's qualitative military advantage. I will ensure that Israel can defend itself from any threat — from Gaza to Tehran. Defense cooperation between the United States and Israel is a model of success, and must be deepened.”
* “Let me be clear. Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper — but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
* Two days after his inauguration, President Obama placed his first phone call to a foreign leader -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas had repeatedly emphasized the importance of "implementing the principles of Yasser Arafat.”
* On June 4, 2009, President Obama went to Cairo, Egypt to deliver a much-anticipated address to the Muslim world. Drawing a moral equivalence between the historical experiences of the Jews and Middle Eastern Arabs, Obama said: "The Jewish people were persecuted.… [A]nti-Semitism … culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust…. Six million Jews were killed…. On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland."
“There has been a stalemate,” Obama elaborated. “Two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history…. It's easy to point fingers — for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought about by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks."
* In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2009, President Obama drew a moral equivalence between the suffering of the Israelis and of the Palestinians:
- "We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel. And we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."
- "The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians.
* In a January 2010 interview, President Obama said -- despite Israel’s acceptance-in-principle of a Palestinian state, its readiness to negotiate, and its commitment to an unprecedented ten-month Jewish construction freeze in Judea and Samaria -- that Israel theretofore had made no “bold gestures” for peace.
* In November 2009, President Obama expressed displeasure over Israel's approval of a plan to build 900 new homes in Gilo. Said Obama: "I think that additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel's security. I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous."
* After IDF troops intercepted and boarded ships in the Free Gaza flotilla in 2010, MSNBC reported that the Obama administration "wants to see a new approach that would allow more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area while guaranteeing Israel's security"; that there was "a growing consensus within the administration that U.S. and Israeli policy toward Gaza must change"; that "White House officials said they had warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to use 'caution and restraint' before the raid on the aid convoy"; that Vice President Joe Biden was in favor of putting "as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow [the Palestinians] to get building materials and other designated humanitarian aid into Gaza"; and that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported a Security Council statement condemning the "acts" that had cost the lives of the activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.
* In an effort to contain the political fallout from the Mavi Marmara incident, in June 2010 President Obama offered to send an extra $400 million in “humanitarian aid” to the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (This was to be above and beyond the $600+ million in aid which the U.S. was already sending to the Palestinian Authority each year.) In remarks he made during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama urged Israel to put a stop to its settlement activity and called on the Palestinians to avoid inciting further confrontation. He also called on Israel to reassess its blockade on Gaza.
* On May 19, 2011, Obama urged Israel to understand that it would never be able to achieve genuine peace if it persisted in seeking "permanent occupation." In issuing his call for the existence of “two states,” Obama said that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” He was referring to the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
* Obama favored the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, even though it was clear to many observers that he would be succeeded by Muslim Brotherhood extremists who would seek to discard Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.
* On November 3, 2011, President Obama conducted what he thought was a private conversation about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the aftermath of a G20 summit. However, the microphones which the two men were wearing from their earlier press conference had not been turned off. What ensued was a major public embarrassment after both Obama and Sarkozy disparaged Netanyahu. In the exchange, Sarkozy told Obama: “I cannot stand him [Netanyahu]. He is a liar.” Obama replied: “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!”
XIII) OBAMA PROMISES TO TRY THE 9/11 CONSPIRATORS IN CIVILIAN COURT RATHER THAN IN MILITARY TRIBUNALS:
* December 2007: Obama said, “The creation of military commissions, without congressional authorization, was unlawful ... and a bad idea.”
* Immediately following his inauguration, Obama's first act as U.S. President was to order the suspension of all military tribunals that had been established to adjudicate the cases of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
* The New York Times cited “the Obama administration’s effort to restore the role of the traditional criminal justice system in handling terrorism prosecutions.”
END RESULT: On November 13, 2009, the Obama administration announced that it would try five Guantanamo Bay detainees with alleged ties to the 9/11 conspiracy, in a civilian court -- the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The defendants were Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But when this decision became politically radioactive, the Obama administration changed the venue to a military tribunal, as had been the Bush administration's original plan.
XIV) OBAMA PROMISES TO BOLSTER U.S. BORDER SECURITY: During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama spoke of the importance of maintaining “border security,” saying: “We can’t just have hundreds of thousands of people coming into the country without knowing who they are.”
* In August 2010, CNS News reported: “Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Ariz., says it is 'an outrage' the Obama administration has stopped building the double-fencing needed to assist the Border Patrol in securing the U.S.-Mexico border and says it is time for the United States to begin fighting illegal immigration and drug smuggling directly at the border instead of within the country where it harms American citizens and communities.”
* On August 24, 2010, the Houston Chronicle reported: “The Department of Homeland Security is systematically reviewing thousands of pending immigration cases and moving to dismiss those filed against suspected illegal immigrants who have no serious criminal records, according to several sources familiar with the efforts....
Critics assailed the plan as another sign that the Obama administration is trying to create a kind of backdoor 'amnesty' program....”
* In August 2011, President Obama issued an executive order to prevent potentially thousands of cases in federal immigration court from moving forward if they did not involve criminals or people with flagrant immigration violations.
XV) THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PREDICTS THAT THE STIMULUS BILL WILL KEEP THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE BELOW 8 PERCENT: This was a projection more than a promise in its truest sense. The Obama administration projected that the stimulus bill would keep unemployment below 8 percent. The source of this projection was a January 9, 2009 report authored by Christina Romer, the incoming chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and Jared Bernstein, chief economic adviser for incoming Vice President Joe Biden.
The report contained a chart predicting unemployment rates in subsequent years.
That chart showed that with the stimulus, unemployment was projected to top out at just under 8 percent towards the end of 2009.
END RESULT: The reality was very different. As of this writing (September 2012), unemployment had never been below 8% since Romer's comments.
XVI) OBAMA PLEDGES TO OPPOSE AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE IN HEALTHCARE:
* In a 2008 debate against Hillary, Obama said he was opposed to the individual mandate for healthcare: “We've got a philosophical difference, which we've debated repeatedly, and that is that Senator Clinton believes the only way to achieve universal health care is to force everybody to purchase it. And my belief is, the reason that people don't have it is not because they don't want it but because they can't afford it. And so I emphasize reducing costs.”
* At a Feb. 26, 2008 debate against Hillary, Obama said: “Her [Hillary's] mandate is not a mandate for the government to provide coverage to everybody; it is a mandate that every individual purchase health care.... I believe that if ... people end up seeing a plan that is affordable for them, I promise you they are snatching it up because they are desperate to get health care. And that’s what I intend to provide as president of the United States.”
* At the same debate, Obama said: “But we don’t want to put adults in a situation in which, on the front end, we are mandating them, we are forcing them to purchase insurance, and if the subsidies are inadequate, the burden is on them, and they will be penalized. And that is what Sen. Clinton’s plan does.”
* On January 30, 2008, Obama said: “... I emphasize reducing costs. If we provide subsidies to those who can’t afford it, they will buy it. Sen. Clinton has a different approach. She believes that we have to force people who don’t have health insurance to buy it, or there will be a lot of people who don’t get it. But if you are going to mandate the purchase of insurance & it’s not affordable, then there’s going to have to be some enforcement mechanism that the government uses. And they may charge fines to people who already don’t have health care, or take it out of their paychecks. And that, I don’t think, is helping those without health insurance.”
END RESULT: The healthcare reform bill included an individual mandate.
XVII) OBAMA PROMISES TO OPPOSE RECESS APPOINTMENTS: In August 2005, then-Senator Obama criticized President Bush’s recess appointment of UN Ambassador John Bolton, saying: “To some degree, he's damaged goods … somebody who couldn't get through a nomination in the Senate. And I think that that means that we will have less credibility.”
* In March 2010 Obama made 15 recess appointments, saying: “If, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility [referring to approving Obama’s appointments], I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these appointments on an interim basis.”
* In January 2012, Obama made 4 more recess appointments: Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 3 others to the NLRB. This brought the total number of recess appointments Obama had made during his presidency to 32.