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The Contender
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Obama has not fullfilled his campaign promises well

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/9/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,713 times Debate No: 17843
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (3)




Barrack Obama, current president of the United States has not fullilled a sufficient number of his original promises from his 2008 campaign. There are several examples of this. Primarily, he failed to pass a public health care option, a key part of his original healthcare plan. In addition, he extended the Bush-era tax cuts, failed to pass a comprehensive policy concerning illegal immiration, has not actively supported Gay rights, and said nothing when Wisconsin public workers were stripped of their bargaining rights (when he had campaigned that he would defend such rights if they were ever in question). Recently, he has compromised with Republicans numerous times during negotiations regarding budget and the debt ceiling, and nearly all of these compromises were in Republican's favor, notably the debt ceiling compromise, which included massive cuts without any additional revenue.

For this debate, my opponent must cite significant accomplishments made by President Obama.


Thanks for the topic!

PolitiFact tracks campaign promises and how many are kept: Obama has KEPT 141 promises, COMPROMISED on 41, BROKEN 42, 212 are IN THE WORKS, and 70 have STALLED. Due to my opponent severely limiting character space, I can't go into each promise in detail, but when you have a Republican House, you need to compromise, so we should count those promises as kept. Meaning that Obama has upheld 182 of his promises and only broken 42 of them. Of those that are in limbo, he is actively working on 300% more of his promises than those promises which he has put on the backburner. Overall, his record is incredible.

Let's look to a few key big promises he kept:

1. Refocus on the War in Afghanistan (the real war) and get us out of Iraq. Obama sent 30,000 addition troops to Afghanistan while removing all combat forces from Iraq and the non-combat troops will leave by the end of the year. He put a plan in place to kill bin Laden and has used drones to kill 2/3 of al Qaeda's senior leadership.

2. Health care for all Americans

The only possible bill that would have passed the heavily pro-business Senate was the current incarnation, which is still universal health care and worked quite well in Massachusetts. The bill gives tax breaks to the poor, helps them purchase insurance at cheaper prices by setting up insurance pools, and gives parity to mental illnesses, which is a huge deal for many people. In policy debate, I ran a case about how parents had to give up their children with severe mental illnesses to get them treatment, since insurance companies used to cap treatment at $50,000 per year. The new legislation also bans excluding people based on pre-existing conditions, a terrible practice that Michael Moore highlighted in his movie Sicko.

3. Non-proliferation

New START Treaty with Russia.

4. Gay rights

Don't Ask Don't Tell is repealed.

5. Bush tax cuts

Obama only extended these for two years because Republicans were holding the budget hostage. A government shutdown would have been worse for the country, seeing how bad the political situation has affected the economy through the S&P downgrade. However, Obama pledged he won't extend them again and put huge military cuts into the debt ceiling bill to force Republicans to give key concessions on tax cuts for the wealthy, or else huge defense cuts kick in.

6. Immigration

The last time a Dem pushed immigration reform (Harry Reid did prior to the 2010 election), this caused Obama's comprehensive climate change bill to fall apart, because Lindsey Graham, their Republican compatriot, got too much flak for working with Dems when Dems were pushing immigration. Obama has, however, issued an executive order "paving the way for the Dream Act," telling INS officials to use their discretion on deportation and to let many people stay.

7. Wisconsin

There was nothing Obama could do about this, since it's a state's issue, and it was ultimately for the Wisconsin Supreme Cour to decide (they ruled against it). But he did come out publicly against what the Republican governors were doing as far as collective bargaining.

8. Other big promises he's kept

From PolitiFacts: expanding access to student loans, establishing consumer protections and a credit card bill of rights, extend the Bush tax cuts for lower incomes, fully fund the Veteran's Administration, fully fund the Violence Against Women Act to prevent domestic violence, condition aid to Pakistan on them cooperating on fighting terror (forced them to invade Waziristan, where the Taliban were hiding), increase funding for local emergency funding (FEMA and Katrina was pretty bad), fund cyber-crime prevention programs, fund rapid reaction forces for emerging democracies, release Presidential records in a timely fashion, require a freezing off period for Executive staff trying to take lobbying jobs, encourage water conservation in the West. And that's only partway through page 3 of 8.

Obama can't beat Congress if Congress won't cooperate. You can make promises but you also have to play with the hand you're dealt, and Obama has done the best job possible given the circumstances with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stating his primary goal is to make Obama lose in 2012 and with the tea party calling for his supposedly non-American head on a platter.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, Bluesteel, for accepting this debate. For this round, I shall address my opponent's points. First of all, regarding the politifact, these figure actually show that 153 have been broken, stalled, or compromised, while 141 have actually been kept. Another 212 are "in the works", which is still not the same as truly being kept.

In response to some of the inividual promises kept that you noted.

1. While it is true that Obama got troops out of Iraq and sent additional troops to Afghanistan, keep in mind that he also started a third war in Libya, which has used up much of the money saved by decreasing activity in Iraq.

2. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while often stated as a "Universal Health Care" bill, has many flaws. This bill achieves "Universal" healthcare by enacting a mandate for all Americans, essentially saying "You must buy Health Insurance". The bill does little else to reduce costs of healthcare. While the bill technically prohibits exclusion based on Pre-existing conditions, there are some loopholes insurance companies have bee able to find (see Again, I raise the point that while Obama promised a public health insurance option during his campaign, he never proposed or even advocated one while in office.

3. This is correct. However, note that the START Treaty was supported by many Republicans as well (

4. Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed, yes, but Obama has done little else to support gay rights. Note that his official position remains opposed to Gay Marriage (

5. This is partially incorrect, as this was still during the Supermajority lame duck session, and the Republicans were not holding the budget hostage, but rather the tax cuts for the lower class. But in any case, the fact remains that he compromised with the Republicans. The compromise in question was more in favor to the Republicans then the Democrats, with the only "Democratic" part of the compromise was the extension of unemployment benefits. The compromise altogether resulted in a large increase in spending during the following months. Obama may have "promised" to not let them extend, but even if the Democrats regain a supermajority in the upcoming election, the Bush Tax cuts will come into negotiation during the lame duck session wherethe Republicans will still have the House.

6. Obama's major bill related, the Dream Act, failed in congress (note that this was when the Democrats still controlled congress)

7. In his campaign, Obama clearly said that if American workers would ever be denied rights, he would "put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with [them]". Unfortunately, I am out of characters, but I will try to address any remaining points in my last round.


Thanks Mr. Anon.


My opponent cannot count campaign promises that resulted in a compromise with Repubs as "broken" promises. The entire point of our political system, particularly the new supermajority rules in the Senate, are designed to force compromise. Stalled also does not mean broken - it means he's pushing for that legislation but Congress either does not have the time or inclination to do anything about it. Even with a more conservative estimate, Obama has compromised to get through as many promises as he has broken, but he has THREE TIMES AS MANY promises that he has DIRECTLY kept than that he has broken. He also has 3 times more promises that are "in the works" than that are stalled.


My opponent claims that Libya cost as much as Iraq. We were in Libya for two weeks, with only air support, and it only cost around $1 billion. Obama also never promised to NOT intervene in struggles for democracy; the Arab Spring necessitated we do something to gain Arab good will.

==Health Care==

Obama never promised a public option in the campaign. My opponent claims it does not make health care more affordable, but it provides government subsidies to help people with the Individual Mandate, and creates insurance pools to lower prices. It also makes all our premiums lower because the uninsured no longer use the emergency room as primary care, which hospitals charge us (the already insured) for.

My opponent never responds to mental health parity or pre-existing conditions being covered now.


Just because the Republicans support something doesn't make it NOT a campaign promise. Obama promised multiple times to deal with non-proliferation. In fact, it's a ridiculous burden to have to prove that Obama achieved only things that Republicans opposed.


Obama never promised to repeal DOMA or pass federal gay marriage, since he IS against it. He did, however, promise to end DADT, which he did.

==Bush cuts==

Yeah, he needed tax cuts for the poor, since this was a campaign promise and the economy needed it, but the Republicans held that hostage. Either way, my opponent doesn't answer my argument that HUGE defense cuts were passed with the debt ceiling raise to FORCE Republicans to concede later on tax cuts. Obama is a man with a plan.


Failed because the Republicans filibustered it in the lame duck session. Obama still plans to get it passed when he wins another term and has done all he can by issuing an Executive Order telling INS not to deport the very young, college educated illegal immigrants the DREAM Act tries to give amnesty to.


Getting in the picket line with them was clearly rhetoric. We have to separate a campaign promise from a rhetorical flourish. He DID show his support publicly.
Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank my opponent for taking the time to respond. In response to several of my opponents points, particularly his opening, while "technically" a 60/40 majority is needed to break a filibuster, there is a way in the senate where a filibuster can be broken using only a 51/59 majority. This is called the "nuclear option" (, and the Republicans threatened to use it during Bush's term. Though it could be argued that this is Congress', not the President's, fault, as leader of his party, it is Obama's job to rally the Democratic senators to vote together.

I do, however concede with my opponent's point about the wars.

Regarding Health care, my opponent claims that I did not address his point about pre-existing conditions, whereas I pointed out loopholes that can be found in the new regulation. In addition, my opponent claims that Obama did not promise a public option, despite his comments supporting one (

My original point about the START treaty was meant to note that though this can be considered a fulfilled promise, it is not really a significant one, as wide support from both parties indicates that it may have been passed even under Bush or another Republican president.

I concede my point on the Bush cuts and the Wisconsin protests.

However, the DREAM act should have been passed regardless of a filibuster (see my opening points).

There are some other important points I would like to make note of. First of all, though initially he made an executive order to close down Guantanamo Bay, he has recently made a separate executive order reopening it, a clear departing from his original campaign promise. In addition, despite initially wanting a review of the Patriot Act, he signed a bill reauthorizing its most controversial measures ( Furthermore, in the recent debt ceiling compromise, there exists no revenue increases. Instead, there are a huge amount of spending cuts, including cuts from Medicare.


Thanks for the debate!


1) The Nuclear Option

This is precisely what Obama used to pass his health care bill. However, the Republicans made a HUGE deal about using the nuclear option, so Obama can only use a VERY limited number of times. Of course there are things Obama can't get because the Republicans will not let him pursue his agenda.

2) Wars

My opponent CONCEDES this. This is HUGE. This was #1 on most Democrats' wish lists - finish both wars and get us out, without losing, as quickly as possible. That is what Obama has done.

3) Health care

Obama DID achieve mental health parity, cover pre-existing conditions, cap health care companies profits, and create insurance pools to help individual buyers purchase insurance for less money. The Individual Mandate will also lower premiums for the currently insured because the uninsured will no longer use the emergency room as their primary care facility.

My opponent's only real argument here is that Obama made a statement once supporting the public option. However, he never promised the public option in his campaign. Not a promise, hence not broken. Obama has done astounding things for health care in this country.


Bush did not have the foreign policy wherewithal to make it happen, more specifically because he insisted in missile defense off Russia's border. Obama's "Russia Reset" policy was what got non-proliferation kick-started.

5) Bush tax cuts/Wisconsin

My opponent concedes these, meaning he does not have much left.


He can't just keep using the nuclear option; he has achieved progress on the Dream Act, though, through the executive branch and executive orders.

7) New arguments

Not typically allowed in the final speech.


Obama tried to close Guantanamo, but NO state governors (primarily Republicans) would accept the prisoners in regular prisons. He had no choice but to re-open it.

-Patriot Act

According to my opponent's source, most of the controversial parts are already permanent law. The part that was up for re-authorization was roving wiretaps (if the defendant switches phones, the police can tap the new number without going back to a judge). This just sounds like a good idea.


1) DADT repeal - huge achievement for Obama and gay rights.

2) List - I listed a HUGE number of things in round 1, all of which were dropped. HUGE foreign policy achievement in Pakistan against the Taliban; domestic violence accomplishment; FEMA improvement accomplished; water conservation; HUGE prevention of the revolving door to lobbyists offices from the Executive Branch; huge VA funding increases, consumer financial protection agency, etc.

Additional voter:

Politifacts - 141 kept promises, only 42 broken. 3 times more kept than broken. 3 times more in the works than stalled. Clear win, numerically, for the Con.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
Ruined small business with Reagenomics, alex
Posted by alex0828 5 years ago
Ore ele, he was a great president, how was he not?
Posted by Mr_Anon 5 years ago
I don't really expect to win this one, but it was quite a fun experience debating with someone in this fashion.
Posted by Mr_Anon 5 years ago
I guess I made the amount of characters per post a bit too low.
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
@Alex, I hope we never see anyone become the man that Ronald Reagan was. Don't know if we could survive another one of those.
Posted by Mr_Anon 5 years ago
Tbh, it would be ideal if my contender was an Obama supporter supplying reasons.
Posted by alex0828 5 years ago
Mr_Anon, if he didn't compromise with republicans he would destroy this country. And don't ever use Ronl Reagan and Obama in the same sentence. Barack Obama will never be the man Ronald Reagan was
Posted by Pacey5714 5 years ago
If I wasn't going on a trip tomorrow that will last 2 weeks with me really not being by a computer, I would otherwise accept and take the position as the con of this argument
Posted by Mr_Anon 5 years ago
If you have an objection, you can chose to be the contender.
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
Obama *has* to compromise now because he no longer has the supermajority.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro lost from the start, really. the numbers said it all.
Vote Placed by crackrocks 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro basically conceded everything, the few arguments he maintained did not give him enough offense to win.
Vote Placed by seraine 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The numbers don't lie. In addition, Pro's arguments kept getting weaker and weaker, while Con's were the inverse.