A presidential shout-out for the Obameter
Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan April 21, 2015

President Barack Obama, sports fan, has continued a tradition of welcoming championship teams to the White House for some presidential props. On April 20, he greeted the Ohio State Buckeyes, who won the 2014 College Football Playoff national championship.

What’s that got to do with politics? Well, back in 2008, Obama pledged to "throw his weight around" to get a playoff system for college football, rather than a system based on computer and human rankings.

"I think any sensible person would say that if you've got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season and many of them have one loss or two losses — there's no clear, decisive winner — that we should be creating a playoff system," he said on 60 Minutes, adding, "I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this."

Granted, this isn’t as weighty a promise as world peace. It’s one of a handful of light-hearted pledges in our database of 500-plus promises. But lo and behold, a college playoff system did come to pass, and Obama did speak up in favor of it. So back in 2012, when plans were made to start a playoff system, we rated his promise as Promise Kept.

Obama couldn’t resist cheering his own accomplishment when the Buckeyes showed up at the White House this week, getting some big laughs from the players:

"This was an historic year in college football.  The country got to enjoy its first-ever College Football Playoffs.  And I will say it -- it was about time.  I cannot claim full credit. I will point out that I pushed for a playoff system in 2008. I’d say I threw my weight around. PolitiFact, which keeps track of whether politicians keep their promises -- this is a Promise Kept by me.  So you’re welcome, America.  It was a great playoffs."

PolitiFact is tracking more than 500 promises made by President Barack Obama during the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. See a promise that needs an update? Email us at [email protected]

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