Has President Obama broken a promise on offshore drilling?

I received an e-mail from Oceana today encouraging me to “tell President Obama to keep his promise”. The e-mail claims that while running for President, he campaigned against offshore oil drilling, which would make his recent announcement about allowing offshore drilling a broken promise indeed. However, I seem to remember that Obama as a candidate was for offshore drilling. I went to my favorite non-partisan fact check website, Politifact, to sort this out.

From the Politifact article on President Obama’s offshore drilling plan:

“In 2008, we gave him a Half Flip because early in his campaign he said he intended to maintain the long-standing moratorium barring drilling off the Florida coast, telling oil companies to drill on the land they already had leased. Then, amid soaring gas prices in the summer of 2008, he shifted and announced he was receptive to a plan for opening new areas for drilling.”

In other words, at one point Obama was against offshore drilling, but then he was for it later in the campaign. In other other words, if you look at his most recent views on the topic, he hasn’t broken any promises. He’s only breaking promises if you look at what he originally said on the topic. Laws and sausages. Oy.

For the record, Politifact’s Obamater is keeping track of 503 campaign promises that Obama made. They rate 102 as “kept”, 35 as “compromise”, 17 as “broken”, 85 as “stalled”, 262 as “in the works”, and 2 as “not yet rated”.  I suppose that’s not terrible for a politician?


March 31, 2010 • 7:00 pm