Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy) | St. Petersburg Times
Sorting out the truth in politics

PolitiFact: Obama's claim on 'Promises Kept' is a stretch

The statement

"I made a bunch of these promises during the campaign. ... We've got about 60 percent done in three years."

President Barack Obama, Oct. 25 at a fundraiser

The ruling

A few readers wondered what PolitiFact thought about this figure, since we've been using our Obameter to check how well Obama has been keeping 500-plus campaign promises since his inauguration. It is the most comprehensive look at what Obama promised during the campaign.

When we asked, the White House confirmed that it has indeed been using our Obameter as its yardstick.

"By PolitiFact's own independent assessment, the president has achieved or made progress on over 60 percent of his agenda," Kate Bedingfield, a White House spokeswoman, told PolitiFact.

However, Bedingfield's standard — "achieved or made progress" — is different from what Obama said at the fundraiser, that he'd gotten "about 60 percent done." And that becomes a crucial difference.

Here's the current breakdown of promises on the Obameter:

Promise Kept: 151

(30 percent)

Compromise: 46 (9 percent)

In the Works: 189 (37 percent)

Stalled: 68 (13 percent)

Promise Broken: 52

(10 percent)

Not Yet Rated: 2 (0.3 percent)

We think it's reasonable to give Obama credit for accomplishing the promises rated Promise Kept or Compromise. Together, those account for 39 percent of all promises.

At the same time, we think it's fair to say the president hasn't accomplished those rated Stalled or Promise Broken. Together, they account for 23 percent of all promises.

But to reach 60 percent, the White House needs to include a lot of promises rated In the Works in its count of what's been "done." And that's a problem.

We rate promises In the Works if the administration or its allies in Congress have taken steps to implement the promise but haven't done enough to move it to either Promise Kept or Promise Broken.

For instance, if a House member introduced a bill to enact the promise, we might move it to In the Works — long before the bill was considered by the House, much less passed by Congress and signed by Obama.

So Bedingfield is accurate to say Obama "has achieved or made progress on over 60 percent" of his promises, but Obama was wrong to say that his agenda is "60 percent done." In the Works is not "done."

We rate his statement False.

This ruling has been edited for print. Read the full version at

PolitiFact: Obama's claim on 'Promises Kept' is a stretch 11/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 10:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pitching on no rest backfires for Erasmo Ramirez, Rays

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — After battling through a 61/2-hour affair Sunday in Minnesota that was the second-longest game in franchise history, Rays officials were quick to decide that even though Erasmo Ramirez had just worked the 15th and final inning, they would stick with him to start Monday's game in Texas.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers, comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)