President Barack Obama's campaign obviously knows that Bill Clinton is a hard act to follow. In an effort to build anticipation for his Thursday night acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, the president's campaign has released a new video championing his achievements from his first term.
The video, titled "Promises Kept," shows clips from Obama's 2008 DNC acceptance speech in order to prove he has kept many of the promises he made while on the campaign trail that year. The point? To demonstrate that Obama is the candidate whose policies will strengthen a middle class under siege, in comparison to an opponent whose policies would dismantle the safety nets that demographic depends on.
"From cutting taxes for middle-class families to bringing about comprehensive health care reform to re-investing in education and infrastructure, President Obama has kept his promise to rebuild America for millions of families," said the Obama campaign in an e-mail including the video.
Among the "promises kept" advertised in the video are: that Obama signed 18 tax cuts for small businesses, created 4.5 million private sector jobs, saved the U.S. auto industry, passed tax cuts that saved the average middle class family $3,600, doubled funding for Pell Grants and passed the Affordable Care Act.
Obama made a wide array of campaign promises in 2008. The number of pledges were so extraordinary that the fact-checking website PolitiFact created an "Obameter" to track the 508 recorded promises made on everything from increasing taxes on the wealthy to ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of those pledges, PolitiFact reports two are not yet rated, 112 are "in the works," and 49 have been stalled. However, the scorecard shows that Obama has, thus far, kept 37 percent of his promises - the big ones, which include bringing an end to the war in Iraq, passing a health care reform law, and getting rid of Osama bin Laden.
16 percent (83) of those promises have been rated broken, often - but not always - because they were blocked in Congress. Some of those broken promises include:
- Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners. While Obama created a fund, it reportedly failed to meet its own benchmarks for helping homeowners.
- Close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Although Obama has often said he wants to close the facility, which houses suspected terrorists, he ultimately signed an executive order that made some policies changes but did not close the military prison.
- Allow imported prescription drugs into the U.S. During his first campaign, Obama promised to "allow Americans to buy their medicines from other developed countries if the drugs are safe and prices are lower outside the U.S." But that provision was not, in the end, included in the Affordable Care Act.
- Create a cap and trade system, with goal of reducing global warming. Cap and trade legislation - which would allow the government to set a limit on how much carbon different companies can emit - passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009, but was never taken up by the U.S. Senate.
- Sign the Freedom of Choice Act. As a presidential candidate, Obama said one of the first things he wanted to do in the White House was sign abortion rights legislation. But once elected, the president said he had other priorities that trumped the controversial issue.