With mere hours remaining in his presidency, we can now return to the promises then-Senator Obama made as a candidate and see how he actually performed as president.
In reviewing his speeches the 2007-2008 campaign season, we’ve identified 13 promises that became regular features in his stump speech.
The record shows Obama failed to deliver on every one.
Here’s the tale of the tape.
1. To unite America in a new era of bipartisanship.
In his final “60 Minutes” interview as president, Obama lamented being unable to cure America’s “severe” partisanship.
2. To consult congressional leaders and a to-be-created bipartisan commission before taking military action.
Congress was not consulted before Syria, Iraq (against ISIS), or Libya.
3. To stop spying on Americans not suspected of participating in terrorism.
On Obama’s watch the NSA and FBI were exposed for capturing and retaining Americans’ personal information beyond their legislative authority.
4. To close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center “immediately.”
The White House has conceded it’s not going to close the center, but it has released most of the detainees.
5. To rein in executive privilege.
After getting frustrated with Republicans, Obama began boasting of using his “pen and phone” to get things done without Congress.
6. To oversee “the most transparent administration in history.”
The Obama Administration set a record for denying the vast majority of FOIA requests.
7. To cut the average American family’s health insurance premiums by $2,500.
Average premiums in 2008: $12,680
Average premiums in 2016: $18,142
8. To not hike taxes on any family earning less than $250,000.
Obama raised or created a number of taxes on the non-rich: tanning salons, cigarette taxes, health-savings accounts, medical devices, and many more.
9. To cut the deficit in half and to stop recklessly growing the national debt.
2008 deficit: $459 billion
2016 deficit: $591 billion
2008 debt: $10.6 trillion
2016 debt: $19.9 trillion
10. To refuse any money from, or meetings with, PACs and lobbyists.
Obama met frequently with lobbyists in the White House and raised money from lobbyists and PACs.
11. To fix the Veterans Affairs system, eliminating waiting lines and improving care.
Obama’s VA kept secret waiting lists (with some showing a backlog of 4,500-plus veterans); the delays cost at least 6 deaths, but potentially dozens more.
12. To end the war in Iraq and win the war in Afghanistan.
The U.S. remains militarily engaged in both countries.
13. To “heal the planet” and lower the oceans.
Obama regularly warns that, despite his best efforts, the oceans are still rising.