At 6-month mark, Obama has long to-do list
By Bill Adair
Published on Friday, July 17th, 2009 at 3:43 p.m.
At the six-month mark of his presidency, Barack Obama has made progress on some of his biggest campaign promises. Of the Top 25 we're tracking with our Obameter, we've rated two as Promise Kept, one as a Compromise and 10 as In the Works. (The rest: One earned a Promise Broken, one Stalled and 10 No Action.)
But when you step back and look at all 515 promises that we're tracking , it's clear that Obama still has a huge to-do list: Of the 515, we've rated 32 Kept, seven Broken and 10 Compromise. A whopping 376 are still rated No Action.
Monday (July 20, 2009) will be six months since Obama took the oath of office. He has wrestled with the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, but as we noted in February, he used the crisis as an opportunity to fullfill many of his campaign promises through the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.
He also managed to keep some promises with pure presidential muscle. Promises such as sending troops to Afghanistan and creating a White House office on urban policy were the low-hanging fruit of the Blueprint for Change, the Obama campaign agenda. He didn't need to persuade Congress; he could simply do them on his own.
But now that he's largely done with the easy ones, Obama is encountering some headwinds — not just from Republicans, but also from members of his own party. He has an ambitious plan to reform health care but he still must persuade some wary Democrats to go along.
Also, his administration has made tactical decisions not to pursue certain promises, such as his pledge to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for gay people in the military, and to seek a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act . Both were important to gay voters, but Obama has yet to put much effort into either promise. We've rated both Stalled.
Obama has also had difficulty breaking away from Bush administration policies on detainess at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (he promised to close the detention center ), and on military tribunals for suspected terrorists. Both of those promises are also rated Stalled.
On our Flip-O-Meter, which rates flip-flops, we've done two ratings on Obama since he became president, a Full Flop for his switch on releasing photos showing abuse of prisoners, and a Half Flip for his position on a single-payer health care system.
On our Truth-O-Meter, Obama's record has slipped a bit since we last did an overview at the 100-day mark. Back then, we noted that the Obama administration could claim a small victory: no Pants on Fire rulings.
But alas, the meter has been on fire twice since then — once for Vice President Joe Biden's claim during the flu scare that "when one person (on a plane) sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft ", and for Obama's claim that the United States is o ne of the largest Muslim countries .
The Obama White House has earned a total of five False ratings, most recently for Obama's claim that the United States imports more oil today than ever , and for his claim that U.S. eighth graders "have fallen to ninth place" for their math scores.
The overall Truth-O-Meter record for Obama and other senior administration officials:
True - 11
Mostly True - 7
Half True - 6
Barely True - 3
False - 5
Pants on Fire - 2
See individual promise and Truth-O-Meter items.
Researchers: Bill Adair
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