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Updating the Obameter

By Martha M. Hamilton
Published on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.

A presidential election on the horizon means lots for us to do. In addition to checking statements made in debates, on the stump and in campaign ads, we're updating promises made by President Barack Obama in his last run.

Some recent promises we've updated include one to increase special operations and civil affairs forces. The number of personnel authorized for special operations have increased from 55,890 in fiscal year 2009 to 63,779 for fiscal year 2012, according to the Pentagon. Meanwhile, the budget has increased from $8.9 billion to $10.5 billion over the same period. And civil affairs forces have grown as well, so we rated this Promise Kept.

We also found widespread agreement that the president lived up to his vow to "end the use torture without exception." Another Promise Kept.

A promise to change China's manipulation of the value of its currency was less successful. We found that there had been diplomatic efforts but not much success and rated it a Compromise.

On Obama's promise to reform the patent system, we found that Congress passed the Leahy-Smith American Invents Act. President Obama signed the bill into law shortly thereafter on Sept. 16, 2011. Although the law has been criticized for putting inventors at a disadvantage versus corporations, its passage marked the first major patent reform since 1952, so we rated it a Promise Kept.

The tally so far? 158 Promise Kept, 49 Compromise, 53 Broken, 67 Stalled, 179 In The Works and two not yet rated because the circumstances that would trigger them have not occurred.

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Researchers: Martha M. Hamilton

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