Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Barack Obama's promises: Our Top 10

President Barack Obama took the oath of office with his hand on Lincoln's Inaugural Bible.
President Barack Obama took the oath of office with his hand on Lincoln's Inaugural Bible.


As Barack Obama takes the oath of office to become the nation's 44th president, he has an ambitious agenda that touches every aspect of government. He's promised new approaches to foreign policy, health care, the environment and energy, and pledged to increase government efficiency and transparency.

We examined our database of 510 campaign promises to find the most sweeping and significant — the most change from the new president who made change his signature. We'll be tracking their progress — not just the Top 10, but all 510 — and rating them on our Obameter over the coming months.

Below are the promises we've selected as the ones most likely to define the Obama presidency:

• No. 15: Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners

Obama proposed a $10 billion foreclosure fund to help struggling homeowners hold onto their homes. Speculators, people who bought vacation homes or people who falsely represented their incomes would not qualify.

• No. 32: Create a tax credit of $500 for workers

Obama's Making Work Pay tax credit would equal 6.2 percent of up to $8,100 of earnings, yielding a maximum credit of about $500 for most workers. It's included in the economic stimulus bill that Congress is considering; we rated the promise In the Works.

• No. 38: Repeal the Bush tax cuts for higher incomes

Obama said he wants to raise taxes on roughly the top 3 percent of taxpayers in order to help pay for his health care plan. That translates to increases for single people making more than $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000.

• No. 52: Create a National Health Insurance Exchange

This is part of Obama's comprehensive health care reform, which includes many other health promises. Under Obama's plan, the creation of a National Health Insurance Exchange would allow all Americans to select a private plan or enroll in a new public one.

• No. 126: Begin removing combat brigades from Iraq

Obama said he would work with military commanders to bring troops home, with combat troops out in roughly 16 months.

• No. 177: Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center

Obama said closing the prison created after 9/11 will "send a message to the world that we are serious about our values."

• No. 422: Create new financial regulations

Obama wants "common-sense regulations and rules" to "restore accountability and responsibility in our corporate boardrooms."

• No. 439: Create 5 million "green" jobs

Changing the country's orientation from foreign oil to renewable energy should invigorate the "green" energy sector. That means 5 million jobs, Obama said.

• No. 441: Reduce oil consumption by 35 percent by 2030

The time frame is long — more than 20 years — but Obama hopes his policies will cut U.S. oil consumption by more than a third.

• No. 456: Create cap and trade system with interim goals to reduce global warming

This is a regulatory plan to curb carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Under the plan, polluters have to pay according to what they emit.