Obama makes progress on promises

Obama makes progress on promises

By Brittany Nielsen & Savannah McDade Posted March 3, 2010

Americans are accustomed to politicians making promises, but in the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama made over 500 of them. Since the average person doesn’t have the time to keep track of such pledges, PolitiFact has kept track of, and followed the numerous promises. Listed below are just a few of the many promises as well as the status of each promise.

Promise: Urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws.

As a presidential candidate, Obama had said he “will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws.” So far he has not done that. During the months of April to December, Vermont, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., legalized same-sex marriage; Colorado, Washington, Nevada and Wisconsin legalized domestic partnerships. California, New York, and Maine’s voters or courts rejected same-sex marriage.

Promise: Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.

On the campaign trail, he promised that he would close Guantanamo Bay in his first year. Guantanamo Bay is a detention center that holds terrorists that have been apprehended by the military. In May of 2005 and according to pbs.org there were 300 pages of declassified FBI reports that came to the public’s attention regarding the torture occurring in Guantanamo Bay. President Obama signed an executive order on January 22, 2009, to close Guantanamo Bay. However, Congress needs to decide what to do with the detainees and fund any new facility.

“I think it has been long enough that we need to do something rather than storing them in some base in the Caribbean,” said Mr. Doc Welter when asked his opinion on Guantanamo Bay.

Promise: Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

The “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” is a policy that has governed the service of gay and lesbians in the military since 1993. This policy prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military, it was proposed 17 years ago by former president, Bill Clinton. “I believe the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was an easy way out for the Clinton administration that didn’t really want to tackle the issue head-on. It never solved anything,” said Mr. Jeff Setzer.

In his State of the Union speech on January 27, 2010, Obama said, “This year, I will work in Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.” According to politifact.com, this promise is in the works. Six days after his State of the Union speech, the top Pentagon officials gave some details to the Senate Armed Forces Committee on how Obama’s pledge will work.

Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Mike Mullen, the nation’s top-ranked uniformed officer said, “It is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

Promise: Encourage water-conservation efforts in the West

In an effort to combat the issue of drought in the Western United States, Obama promised that he would “support federal policies to encourage voluntary water banks and other market-based conservation measures”. To do this, $175 million was included in the stimulus bill specifically for water conservation which includes water reclamation and grants to improve water efficiency and conservation. Water shortage is presently a major issue in Nevada; according to msnbc.msn.com, currently, a 10-year drought along the Colorado River may potentially affect roughly 30 million people because the Colorado River supplies much of Nevada, Arizona, and Southern California with drinking and irrigation water. A recent study found that there is a one-in-two chance that the water reservoirs of the Colorado River will dry up by 2050 if water management practices remain unchanged. However, Obama did invest in water conservation through the stimulus bill, so this promise is considered kept.

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