Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Inside the Meter

A few changes to PolitiFact's Top Promises

When we unveiled our Obameter -- an unprecedented collection of the president's campaign promises -- it had more than 500. Several readers told us they wanted a way to highlight the truly important ones.

So we came up with PolitiFact's Top Promises, which started as a group of 10 campaign promises that the editors and reporters of PolitiFact deemed most significant. Soon afterwards, we expanded the list to the Top 25.

We periodically adjust the list to reflect the most significant issues.

So we're removing five promises from the list and replacing them. No promises are being deleted from our database. It's only the label that changes.

We're adding these promises to PolitiFact's Top Promises:

Sign a "universal" health care bill. Obama signed a health care bill into law in March 2010, and we rated this one Promise Kept. That may change if the courts reject the requirement that everyone have health insurance.

If you don't have insurance, or don't like the insurance you have, you'll be able to choose a new plan on a health insurance exchange. Obama said many times during the campaign that health reform would give people new options to buy health insurance. We're waiting to see how the exchanges work in practice, but for now we've rated this promise In the Works.

Cut the cost of a typical family's health insurance premium by up to $2,500 a year. Obama said health care reform would help make insurance less expensive. Many analysts are skeptical of that, and we see little evidence so far that rates will drop. The promise is now rated Stalled.

Bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda. For most of Obama's first two years, we rated this promise Stalled. Several of Obama's signature initiatives passed with little or no Republican support. But that changed during the lame duck session when Obama and Republicans came together to enact several new measures. The promise is now rated In the Works.

Train and equip the Afghan army. One of Obama's most significant foreign policy challenges is the war in Afghanistan. This promise is a key step toward bringing the war to a conclusion. We rated it In the Works.

These promises remain in our database but are no longer labeled "Top Promises":

Create a National Health Insurance Exchange. We rated this promise Compromise, because the new health care law allows for state-based exchanges instead of a single national exchange.

Require children to have health insurance coverage. During the campaign, Obama supported a mandate that children have health insurance, but he specifically rejected one for adults. Later, he changed position and decided to support a mandate for adults as well. We rated this Promise Kept because the new health care law includes an individual mandate.

Invest in electronic health information systems. This promise is rated In the Works. Obama has achieved about $20 billion, but has a ways to go before reaching the $50 billion he promised.

Fully fund the Veterans Administration. Obama kept this promise early on. We've rated it Promise Kept.

Send two additional brigades to Afghanistan. This promise too Obama kept early on, and then sent more troops. It's rated Promise Kept.