President Obama's 2008 pledge to kill Osama bin Laden is a Promise Kept
By Bill Adair
Published on Monday, May 2nd, 2011 at 3:26 p.m.
During the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama pledged several times that he would act to capture or kill terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. Today, that's a Promise Kept on our Obameter.
With the late-night announcement on May 1, 2011, that bin Laden is dead, many PolitiFact readers have pointed out President Obama's vow to kill him from October 2008. We had not included this promise when we created our Obameter database in 2009, so we are adding it now, as we have done with other campaign vows that readers have pointed out.
In an October 2008 debate with Republican nominee John McCain, Obama said the following:.
"What I have said is we're going encourage democracy in Pakistan, expand our non-military aid to Pakistan so that they have more of a stake in working with us, but insisting that they go after these militants. And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out.
"We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaida . That has to be our biggest national security priority."
You can read our full report on this promise on the PolitiFact National site. We've also rated that Obama vow to "crush al-Qaida" as In the Works. With the killing of bin Laden and the deaths of other leaders in the past decade, al-Qaida is not as strong as it was once way -- but neither is it out of business.
We have a wrapup of seven other campaign promises related to terrorism too.
The New York Times, Second presidential debate: foreign policy, Oct. 7, 2008
Council on Foreign Relations, Obama's speech on foreign policy at Woodrow Wilson Center, Oct. 1, 2007
ABC News, transcript of Democratic debate, Aug. 19, 2007
Federal News Service, Remarks by Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Sunrise, Fla., Oct. 29, 2008, accessed via Nexis.
The White House, Remarks by the President on Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011
The White House, Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on the Killing of Osama bin Laden, May 2, 2011
Researchers: Bill Adair
Names in this article: Barack Obama