Confused or Lying? Obama Think He’s “Accomplished 70%” of Campaign Promises


How do percentages work again?

This past week much was written about President Obama’s interview with Rolling Stone magazine.  One thing few caught was Obama’s fuzzy math skills.  The President claimed a 70% success rate in accomplishing campaign promises.  What was it that John Adams said about facts?  Wasn’t it something about them being stubborn things?

Rolling Stone’s interview was a love fest toward the President, and the only ‘tough’ questions had to do with progressives wishing Obama was doing more.  Of course, Rolling Stone went to bat for Obama in how they asked him the questions.

“You’ve passed more progressive legislation than any president since Lyndon Johnson. Yet your base does not seem nearly as fired up as the opposition, and you don’t seem to be getting the credit for those legislative victories…What do you say to those people who have developed a sense of frustration — your base — who feel that you need to fight harder?” – Rolling Stone

The President had a long answer of self-defense and he offered up this whopper:

“I keep in my pocket a checklist of the promises I made during the campaign, and here I am, halfway through my first term, and we’ve probably accomplished 70 percent of the things that we said we were going to do — and by the way, I’ve got two years left to finish the rest of the list, at minimum. So I think that it is very important for Democrats to take pride in what we’ve accomplished.” – Obama

Obviously Obama feels he has done a superb job as President.  He believes (or wants us to believe) that he has accomplished 70% of his campaign promises in less than two years in office.  Wow, that seems impressive (or terrifying if you aren’t a fan of Obama’s campaign promises).  I wonder if there is a way to check the President’s math?

The St. Petersburg Times of Tampa, Florida is known as a left-leaning paper, but it has a popular fact checking website called Politifact.com.  Politifact does fact checking on politicians and has dedicated a portion of their site to checking Obama on his 500 campaign promises.  They rate his promises as: promises kept, compromised versions of his promises, broken promises, stalled promises that show no sign of coming true any time soon, in the works (which means Obama hasn’t accomplished a task but still hopes to), and not yet rated.

Below you will see how Politifact rates the President:

The Obameter Scorecard

  • Promise Kept: 122
  • Compromise: 39
  • Promise Broken: 22
  • Stalled: 82
  • In the Works: 238
  • Not yet rated: 3

Keep in mind that Politifact comes from a progressive-leaning paper.  And even their numbers show only 122 of 500 promises kept – or as Obama put it, “accomplished.”  That is not a success rate of 70% using anyone’s numbers.  That is a 24% accomplishment rate.  Now Obama suggests in his interview that compromised bills also count as success, so let’s give  him the 39 promises he got a compromised version of.  That makes for an accomplishment rate of 32%.  Maybe Obama meant he had a 70% unaccomplished rate – then the numbers would actually make sense.

Obama’s accomplishment numbers are even less impressive when you look at the promises kept list.  The vast majority of them are small promises within things like Obamacare, ending the Iraq War, or creating new bureaucracy in other areas.  Every promise has a price tag that we can’t afford, and even if all of Obama’s tax hike promises came true, we still couldn’t pay for them.  I guess we should be glad Obama has been such a failure on keeping promises.

You’ve passed more progressive legislation than any president since Lyndon Johnson. Yet your base does not seem nearly as fired up as the opposition, and you don’t seem to be getting the credit for those legislative victories. There was talk that you were going to mobilize your grass-roots volunteers and use them to pressure Congress, but you decided for whatever reason not to involve the public directly and not to force a filibuster on issues like health care. What do you say to those people who have developed a sense of frustration — your base — who feel that you need to fight harder? You’ve passed more progressive legislation than any president since Lyndon Johnson. Yet your base does not seem nearly as fired up as the opposition, and you don’t seem to be getting the credit for those legislative victories. There was talk that you were going to mobilize your grass-roots volunteers and use them to pressure Congress, but you decided for whatever reason not to involve the public directly and not to force a filibuster on issues like health care. What do you say to those people who have developed a sense of frustration — your base — who feel that you need to fight harder?
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