Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

The lists: Barack Obama's Top 10 Broken and Kept promises
Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan September 1, 2012

Here’s our list of Barack Obama’s Top 10 Broken and Kept promises, taken from our complete list of 508 promises that Obama made in the 2008 campaign. We've included links to our continuing coverage of each individual promise. You can also read our analysis of where he stands on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The top 10 promises are listed in no particular order.

Top 10 Broken Promises

1. Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners

Obama created a fund, but it failed to meet its own benchmarks for helping homeowners. A special inspector general deemed the program "a colossal failure."

2. Repeal the Bush tax cuts for higher incomes

In 2010, Obama agreed to a deal with Republicans to extend the current tax rates for another two years. He will get another shot at keeping this promise if he wins re-election.

3. Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center

Obama has consistently said he wants the facility closed, but he hasn’t found a way to get Congress to agree. Guantanamo Bay remains open.
4. Create cap and trade system with interim goals to reduce global warming

A bill for cap-and-trade passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009, but the Senate wouldn’t bite. Now Republicans control Congress, and it’s considered dead.

5. Sign the Employee Free Choice Act, making it easier for workers to unionize

This didn’t get done when Democrats controlled Congress, and now it looks as if it won’t get done at all, thanks to Republican opposition.  

6. Allow imported prescription drugs

The White House dropped this pledge as it lured drug makers to get on board with the president’s health care law. The promise hasn’t been heard from since.

7. Sign the Freedom of Choice Act

Candidate Obama said one of the first things he wanted to do was sign abortion rights legislation. President Obama said he had other priorities and wanted to tamp down anger surrounding the issue.  

8. Create a public option health plan for a new National Health Insurance Exchange

Congress rejected the idea for a public health insurance option open to everyone. Obama downplayed the fact that it was left out of the final version of the health care law.

9. Introduce a comprehensive immigration bill in the first year

Obama said he would introduce legislation that included a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. But other priorities -- health care and financial regulation -- seemed to run out the clock.

10. Bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda

On matters large and small, partisanship is worse than ever.


Top 10 Kept Promises

1. End the use of torture

Obama said he would stop the torture of terror suspects, and human rights experts say he did.

2. Seek verifiable reductions in nuclear stockpiles

In 2010, the Senate ratified a new START treaty for the United States and Russia to verify reductions in nuclear weapons.

3. Create new financial regulations

Obama signed a massive overhaul of financial regulations in 2010. It included a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to look out for the little guy.

4. Sign a "universal" health care bill

Republicans may hate the individual mandate, but it allows Obama to make a credible case that the health care law will lead to universal coverage.

5. Extend the Bush tax cuts for lower incomes

A rare compromise with Republicans at the end of 2010 left in place current tax rates for middle-class Americans. What happens when they expire in 2013 is the great unknown.

6. Fully fund the Veterans Administration

It doesn’t get much attention, but Obama kept his promises on veterans, sending more money and resources to programs that serve them.

7. Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq

Obama did as he said, bringing the Iraq war to its conclusion. A Promise Kept for a huge campaign issue.

8. Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy

The policy that stopped gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military ended in 2011.

9. Raise fuel economy standards

Obama won increases for the required miles-per-gallon in cars, reducing oil consumption and carbon emissions.

10. We will kill bin Laden

On the campaign trail, Obama said the United States would go after Osama bin Laden if it got the chance. When U.S. forces found the terrorist in Pakistan, they took him out.

Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter

Our Sources

See individual promises for complete sources.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Angie Drobnic Holan

The lists: Barack Obama's Top 10 Broken and Kept promises