Consumers should be aware that promises, pledged, and soul-healing rhetoric are only effective for a limited time; upon expiration they become “just words.”
STATEMENT: “Based on the conversations we’ve had internally as well as external reports, we believe that you can get one to two brigades out a month. At that pace, the forces would be out in approximately 16 months from the time that we began. That would be the time frame that I would be setting up,” Obama to the New York Times, November 1, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: March 7, 2008: Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power, to the BBC: “You can’t make a commitment in whatever month we’re in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are gonna be like in Jan. 2009. We can’t even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.”
Also: July 3, 2008: “My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything I’ve said, was always premised on making sure our troops were safe,” Obama told reporters as his campaign plane landed in North Dakota. “And my guiding approach continues to be that we’ve got to make sure that our troops are safe, and that Iraq is stable. And I’m going to continue to gather information to find out whether those conditions still hold.”
STATEMENT: On June 14, Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice called the RNC’s argument that Obama needed to go to Iraq to get a firsthand look “complete garbage.”
EXPIRATION DATE: On June 16, Obama announced he would go to Iraq and Afghanistan “so he can see first hand the progress of the wars he would inherit if he’s elected president.”
STATEMENT: May 16, 2008: “If John McCain wants to meet me, anywhere, anytime to have a debate about our respective policies in Iraq, Iran, the Middle East or around the world that is a conversation I’m happy to have.”
EXPIRATION DATE: June 13, 2008: Obama campaign manager David Plouffe: “Barack Obama offered to meet John McCain at five joint appearances between now and Election Day—the three traditional debates plus a joint town hall on the economy in July [on the Fourth of July] and an in-depth debate on foreign policy in August.”
STATEMENT: “We can, then, more effectively deal with what I consider to be one of the greatest threats to the United States, to Israel, and world peace, and that is Iran,” Obama speaking to American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Chicago, March 5, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny…They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.” – May 20, 2008
STATEMENT: Question at the YouTube debate, as the video depicted leaders of the countries, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?…..”
“I would,” Obama answered. July 27, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: May 10, 2008: Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate: “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”
JEREMIAH WRIGHT/TRINITY UNITED
STATEMENT: “I could no more disown Jeremiah Wright than I could disown my own grandmother.”
—Barack Obama, March 18, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: on April 28, 2008, cut all ties to Wright, declaring, “based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought.”
STATEMENT: Obama said that his church, “Trinity United “embodies the black community in its entirety” and that his church was being caricatured on March 18, 2008.
EXPIRATION DATE: On May 31, 2008, Obama resigned his membership at Trinity United Church.
STATEMENT: Criticism of running mate vetter Jim Johnson loan from Countrywide was “a game” and that his vice-presidential vetting team “aren’t folks who are working for me.” June 10, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 11, 2008, when Obama accepted Johnson’s resignation.
STATEMENT: Obama spokesman Bill Burton on October 24, 2007: “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”
EXPIRATION DATE: June 20, 2008: “Given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as president, I will carefully monitor the program.”
STATEMENT: “I am not a nuclear energy proponent.” Barack Obama, December 30, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: The above statement actually was the expiration date for his previous position, “I actually think we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix,” expressed on July 23, 2007; the above statement expired when he told Democratic governors he thought it is “worth investigating its further development” on June 20, 2008.
STATEMENT: Tim Russert:: Senator Obama . . . Simple question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, “This has not worked for us; we are out”?
Obama: “I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton’s answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has been happening so far.” February 23, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 18, 2008, Fortune magazine: “Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.
Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? “Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself,” he answered.
“I’m not a big believer in doing things unilaterally,” Obama said. “I’m a big believer in opening up a dialogue and figuring out how we can make this work for all people.”
STATEMENT: “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” Also, a Common Cause questionnaire dated November 27, 2007, asked “If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?”, Obama checked, “Yes.”
EXPIRATION DATE: June 19, 2008: Obama announced he would not participate in the presidential public financing system.
WORKING OUT A DEAL ON PUBLIC FINANCING
STATEMENT: “What I’ve said is, at the point where I’m the nominee, at the point where it’s appropriate, I will sit down with John McCain and make sure that we have a system that works for everybody.”Obama to Tim Russert, Febuary 27.
EXPIRATION DATE: When Obama announced his decision to break his public financing pledge June 19, no meeting between the Democratic nominee and McCain had occurred.
STATEMENT: “I probably would not have supported the federal legislation [to overhaul welfare], because I think it had some problems.” Obama on the floor of the Illinois Senate, May 31, 1997
EXPIRATION DATE: April 11, 2008: Asked if he would have vetoed the 1996 law, Mr. Obama said, “I won’t second guess President Clinton for signing” it. Obama to the New York Times.
STATEMENT: “Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.” – campaign spokesman, May 5, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 29, 2008: “I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states… Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.” — letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club
STATEMENT: “Now, I don’t think that ‘mental distress’ qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.” – Interview with Relevant magazine, July 1, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: July 5, 2008: “”My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases.” statement to reporters.
DIVISION OF JERUSALEM
STATEMENT: “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” — speech before AIPAC, June 4, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 6, 2008: “Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties” as part of “an agreement that they both can live with.” – an Obama adviser clarifying his remarks to the Jerusalem Post.