First 100 Days: Obama's Promises Kept
By Robert Farley
Published on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 at 5:12 p.m.
Editor's note: Today we examine promises kept, and tomorrow we'll look at those he's broken.
Barack Obama promised change — lots of it. And in his first 100 days, a PolitiFact analysis finds he has already fulfilled
and begun work on 61 others that we've rated In the Works.
Today, we examine his efforts on the ones we've rated Promises Kept. Tomorrow, we'll shift our attention to those he has broken.
Some have been easy, promises he could fulfill through executive orders or simple presidential muscle. But he also managed to piggyback many of his promises onto the massive economic stimulus package that passed one month into his presidency.
Collectively, he has managed to fulfill promises that address key themes of his campaign:
· Bringing an end to the war in Iraq while boosting the effort in Afghanistan. He had promised that one of his first acts as president would be to "give the military a new mission: ending this war." And on his first full day in office, he met with the military commanders in charge of Iraq and told them "to engage in additional planning necessary to execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq," according his comments afterwards. Obama also promised that as combat forces were removed from Iraq, he would send at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to combat a resurgent Taliban. On Feb. 17, he issued an executive order to send one Marine and one Army brigade to Afghanistan by the summer.
· Improving transparency and ethics. In one of his first acts as president, Barack Obama kept a promise to reduce political influence in his administration by issuing an executive order that requires appointees to sign forms saying they were not hired because of political affiliations or contributions . The same day, Obama kept a campaign promise to toughen ethics rules, signing an executive order that, in part, banned gifts by lobbyists to anyone serving in the administration.
· Encouraging a greener economy. President Obama packed a lot of green initiatives into the economic stimulus package, including promised money for solar, wind and other alternative energy research. The stimulus also included $5 billion to weatherize low-income homes, putting the administration on track to fulfill Obama's promise to weatherize one million homes per year. And it included funding for grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes as well as tax credits to purchasers of plug-in hybrid cars — knocking two more off his list.
· Improving diplomacy. Obama kept a promise to give a speech at a major Islamic forum when he spoke to the Turkish Parliament on April 6, 2009, and said the United States is not at war with Islam. And on April 13, Obama made good on a pledge to allow Americans unlimited trips to see family members in Cuba , and to lift restrictions on sending money to them. That not only pleased many Cuban-Americans; fulfilling the promise was also emblematic of Obama's efforts to improve dialogue with longtime adversaries.
· Promoting equality. Obama signed a law that effectively overturned the Supreme Court's decision on Lilly Ledbetter , a former supervisor at a Goodyear tire plant in Alabama who claimed she was paid less than male colleagues, making it easier for racial minorities and women to sue over pay discrimination. During the campaign, Ledbetter became a symbol of the fairness issues Democrats hoped to tackle if they won the White House.
Among his other notable kept promises, Obama followed through on his pledge to reverse the actions of President George W. Bush that limited the use of human embryonic stem cells in scientific research funded by the federal government.
We also rated 61 promises In the Works, on everything from doubling funding for cancer research to modernizing the nation's electricity grid. Many were included in the Obama administration's proposed 2010 budget. But they remain In the Works until they receive congressional approval.
We want to hear your suggestions and comments.
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