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5 promises Obama might still keep

With four more years on the clock, another chance to make good.

By Rich_Maloof Jan 22, 2013 5:54PM

Near the conclusion of his second inaugural address, President Obama described several ways in which “our journey is not complete.” 

He was speaking broadly of America’s journey but, here at the start of his second term, it was hard not to think of the stated goals that have and haven’t been completed by this halfway point in Obama’s presidential journey.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSome promises made on the campaign trail and in the president’s first term have been kept, some broken, and some remain works in progress. With four years on the clock, here are five promises President Obama still has time to honor. “For now decisions are upon us,” he said in his let’s-get-it-done inaugural, “and we cannot afford delay.”

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Address climate change meaningfully. The administration has tightened energy standards in the auto industry and elsewhere, and sometimes taken a beating for investing in clean technologies. But the White House hasn’t yet pushed a big environmental bill through Congress. The president’s vow to address climate change was forcefully reaffirmed in yesterday’s address.

Reform immigration.  Back in May 2008, Obama said he could “guarantee…that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting.” He has deported 1.5 million and in 2012 directed the Dept. of Homeland Security to approve temporary reprieves for qualifying illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children — but no unilateral reform of immigration laws yet.

Rescue the economy. A hard nut to crack, no doubt, but the economy was foremost in voters’ minds when the president was elected in 2008 and remains top priority today. Obama is credited for the 2009 stimulus package that was central to preventing a recession, and new regulations have rained down hard on Wall St. in the interest of consumer protection. But slow-to-recover unemployment and housing rates still leave the middle and lower classes squeezed.

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Overhaul healthcare. Obama has a leg up on this promise — passing the sweeping Affordable Care Act, aimed at controlling health costs and covering some 30 million uninsured people, is regarded as the crowning accomplishment of his first term. Still to come: a reduction in the cost of healthcare delivering on Obama’s commitment to save up to $2,500 per year for the average family.

Reducing partisanship.  Obama had vowed to “turn the page on the ugly partisanship in Washington” but heavy Democratic losses in the 2010 midterm elections were a swift kick in the shins to that promise. How does one solve an issue that is at the root of its own problem? If we knew, we’d be president.

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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