All those interested in finding out whether Pres. Barack Obama is keeping the hundreds of promises he made during the presidential campaign now have a simple tool to keep track of them.
A group of journalists, headed by Bill Adair, Washington Bureau Chief of the St. Petersburg Times of Florida, have set up a website -- www.politifact.com -- that tracks down 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 Pres. 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, Pres. Obama has already kept 7 promises, compromised on 1, broke 1, stalled on 1, 18 are in the works, and no action is 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 war in Iraq." But there was no trace of Pres. Obama's campaign promise to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.
I immediately sent an e-mail to the administrator of Politifact.com, alerting him that Pres. Obama's pledge on the Armenian 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 this matter to her attention and promised to add it to the website as soon as possible. To expedite matters, I provided to Ms. Holan the text of various statements made by Senator Obama on the Armenian Genocide during his presidential campaign.
A few days later, I received an e-mail from Ms. Holan, informing me that Pres. Obama's promise on the Armenian Genocide was added to the Politifact.com website, under this link.
By clicking on the above link, one can find Pres. Obama's promise number 511 on the Armenian Genocide which the website describes as follows:
"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.'
"Barack Obama on the Importance of US-Armenia Relations"
We add promise on the Armenian genocide
Updated: Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 | By Angie Drobnic Holan
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.
So we add this promise to our database as promise No. 511.
Los Angeles Times: House delays Armenian genocide vote, Oct. 26, 2007;
House Resolution on the Armenian genocide, 2007;
BBC News: Q&A: Armenian genocide dispute, July 10, 2008."
This website is yet another reminder to Pres. 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.