Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Obama's Top 25 Promises: A Progress Report

We're updating our Obameter database of campaign promises.
We're updating our Obameter database of campaign promises.

When we launched the Obameter -- an online database of Obama's 515 campaign promises -- we designated 25 promises as the most significant . As President Barack Obama closes in on his first full year in office, we found that he's made at least some progress on most of them.

Here is the current tally of Obama's top promises:

In the Works: 18
Promise Kept: 3
Compromise: 2
Stalled: 1
Promise Broken: 1

Getting a promise rated In the Works requires measurable action of any kind. The bar to do that isn't particularly high, but it's worth noting that Obama has made progress on a wide variety of promises, everything from  No. 382: Secure nuclear weapons materials in four years to No. 59: Invest in electronic health information systems .

We've also given our In the Works rating to promises that still need to overcome political opposition, promises such as No. 38: Repeal the Bush tax cuts for higher incomes or No. 177: Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center . These are promises we'll be monitoring closely. If the opposition gains momentum, that could prompt us to move the promises to Stalled or even Promise Broken.

Obama has gotten solid Promise Kept ratings on three promises: No. 15: Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners ; No. 134: Send two additional brigades to Afghanistan ; and No. 300: Reform mandatory minimum sentences .

We've rated two promises Compromise: No. 32: Create a tax credit of $500 for workers and No. 235: Require more disclosure and a waiting period for earmarks .

Obama got a Stalled for No. 288: Provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants because he said he doesn't intend to address immigration reform until other items are resolved: health care reform, financial regulations and a cap-and-trade plan on climate change.

Finally, we rated Promise Broken No. 240: Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials . Obama said he would not allow former lobbyists to serve in his administration, but now he allows them if they obtain a waiver. The Obama administration itself gives out the waivers, which struck us somewhat arbitrary.

We should emphasize that we don't see our ratings as set in stone. Promises move from In the Works to Stalled and back again. And it's conceivable that a Promise Kept could become a Promise Broken. There's a lot happening in Washington and we'll be using the Obameter to help you keep track of it.