Those interested in finding out whether President Barack Obama is keeping the hundreds of promises he made during the presidential campaign, including the one on the Armenian Genocide, now have a simple tool to keep track of all of them.
A group of journalists, headed by Bill Adair, the Washington bureau chief of the St. Petersburg Times of Florida, have set up a website (www.politifact.com) that tracks the promises made by various politicians during their campaigns.
Politifact.com has received widespread media attention from scores of newspapers and various TV networks, including CNN. Such public scrutiny makes it more difficult for politicians to evade their pledges to the voters.
The website promises to “provide an up-to-the-minute report card” on how Obama is faring with his agenda of change. Visitors to the website can find out the status of his campaign promises by checking the “Obameter,” which is divided into three categories: No Action, In the Works, or Stalled. After action is taken by the president on a particular issue, it is rated as either Promise Kept or Compromise or Promise Broken. The website’s scorecard indicates that in his first three weeks in office, Obama has already kept 7 promises, compromised on 1, broke 1, and stalled on 1, with 18 still in the works and no action yet taken on the remaining 482.
Two weeks ago, when I first checked the website’s “Obameter,” it had a list of 510 Obama promises, everything from “requiring large employers to contribute to a national health plan” to “directing military leaders to end the war in Iraq.” But there was no trace of Obama’s campaign promise to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.
I immediately sent an email to the administrator of Politifact.com, alerting him that Obama’s pledge on the genocide was missing from the website. Staff writer Angie Holan quickly responded, acknowledging that this particular promise was not in their database. She thanked me for bringing the matter to her attention and promised to add it to the website as soon as possible. To expedite matters, I provided her with the text of various statements made by then-Senator Obama on the genocide during his presidential campaign.
A few days later, I received an email from Holan informing me that Obama’s promise on the Armenian Genocide had been added to the Politifact.com website under the following link:
http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/511/recognize-armenian-genocide. By clicking on the above link, one can find Obama’s “promise number 511” on the genocide, copied below.
Barack Obama Campaign Promise No. 511:
Recognize the Armenian Genocide
“Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term ‘genocide’ to describe Turkey’s slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. … As President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
When we started looking for President Obama’s campaign promises, we knew we might not find all of them, and we hoped our readers would alert us to promises we had missed. Today we are adding our first promise based on reader feedback: Obama’s pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
The issue has been a hot-button issue on the world stage because the government of Turkey has objected to the use of the term “genocide” as inaccurate and inflammatory.
A 2007 resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives said the Armenian Genocide was carried out by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923, and resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million. The resolution failed in the face of Bush Administration concerns that it would alienate Turkey, which borders Iraq.
This website is yet another reminder to Obama and his White House aides that the president has a promise to keep on the Armenian Genocide and that both the media and the public will judge his credibility by his actions rather than words.