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Obama's Accomplishments - Version 382

You'd think that Barack Obama's supporters would be prepared for this question by now... but no...

Here's State Senator Kirk Watson (D-TX) on last night's "Hardball" being asked about Barack Obama's legislative accomplishments:

Anytime Obama's supporters are faced with hard questions about their candidate they weasel into attacks on Clinton. I'm beginning to think anything more challenging that a five-word bumper sticker is just way too much for Obama supporters to handle.

Just like their candidate, that can't get specific, but can only talk about "hope" - it's hilarious.

Update: HIllary responds:

Oldies but goodies - Obama supporters in focus groups post debates:


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Comments (18)

By tomorrow, any small party infighting between supporters of Clinton and Obama will fade as the new John McCain scandal fresh out from THE NEW YORK TIMES tonight will become the big news. Maybe Huckabee was wise to hang around after all and not throw in the towel. McCain will no doubt have a lot of explaining over the next few days if he intends not to be stripped of the nomination.


I think these criticisms are mostly directed to Obama supporters and not Obama himself, as he's accomplished quite a bit in a senate. E.g. he sponsored 233 bills on health care reform, 125 on poverty and public assistance, 97 economic bills, 112 on crime fighting, 60 on human rights and anti-discrimination, 15 on gun control...to namea few.

I agree with the fact that you should have credible and legitimate reasons for why you vote for the candidate of your choice, and that simple charisma should not be a sole reason. But I do not agree with the fact that these videos seems to suggest that Obama has done squat in the senate because that's not true.

Lee Ward:

What the videos show is that Obama has not done a good job of running on his accomplishments, and that his message of hope and change is what's propelled him to the top of the Democratic race.

But I really do think that any official who tries to represent Obama should be prepared for this question, and Kirk Watson in that first video above did not do Obama any favors with his unprepared response.

All it'll take is the media asking the question one time where they get a cogent, detailed response and that will put this meme to rest.

...Assuming that someone somewhere, at some point in time, can give a detailed cogent, and impressive answer. I'm not sure that the quantity of bills are as important as the type and importance, and I also think his record in the US Senate should carry more weight than his Illinois record of accomplishments.

"What has Obama accomplished lately?" is more relevant than "What has he accomplished?," and that'll be the second question once someone answers the first.


I have to agree with the third comment up here. His campaign hasn't done a stellar job on shining the spotlight on some of his accomplishments and that officials representing Obama should really know this kind of info, since situations like this one are sure to arise!

But, just for the record, he are a few things he's done in the senate.

His first year in the U.S. senate, he authored 152 bills and co-sponsored another 427. These included the following:

1) The Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006 (became law)
2) The Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act (became law)
3) The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (passed the Senate)
4) The 2007 Government Ethics Bill (became law)
5) The Protection Act Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill (still in a committee)

I'm not an American citizen, but I have to say that keeping up with American politics (and this election especially), is entertaining to say the least. This impression is what get from the media, and I don't think this is a good thing.
I live in a very conservative state, and discussing politics is taboo (or so SOME of my American friends over here tell me). I honestly don't think this should be the case. You educate yourself by looking through the eyes of others, and being close-minded about these things certainly doesn't help. Most of my information, I gather from the online news sources or the telly.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, I agree Obama hasn't accomplished very much on the national stage ( he has only been a federal senator for 3 years) but he is the candidate running on the rhetoric of change and the promise of youth. The other candidate now the standard bearer of the wise, mangerial executive oosing with 'solutions' and '35 years of experience' has commanded a disastrous campaign which was supposed to be walk through, which is now heavily in the red, with 10 consecutive defeats and counting, up and down the whole country. And not one of those contests has been even remotely close, now that any of Clinton's supporters have noticed.

Hillary's 'Little BigHorn' campaign pretty well mirrors her entire career and rather shaky list of accomplishments. When it is all over , I suppose Hillary can add this 'cluster-goof (they have shelled out half milion dollars on parking fees, plus three times the amount Obama paid in consultant fees-I wonder do they get a bonus) to her list of 'accomplishments' or will she call it another learning experience, like her health reform bill in the 90's, the accomplishment she was mostly associated, that is until this campaign now.

I don't think Hillary could manage the proverbial 'piss-up' in a brewery, and never has, and you think that Obama should just give her the presidency of the country when he has won the last 10 races, all by big margins, just because she and her superannuated husband (and a few others) feel they are entitled to it because they have so much experience (yes and at what?).

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Steve - all you've accomplished with that comment is more of the same -- Obama supporters who rather than list Obama's accomplishments hit Hillary or otherwise change the subject.

It's becoming a striking pattern.


Just posted this over at Politics, in response to ke_future. Funny how you and Republicans have the same talking points.

- Community organizer in Chicago, worked to improve public housing with asbestos removal and other efforts, creating job programs, and programs to keep at-risk youth in school.
- Ran Project VOTE, a voter registration drive that saw registration jumped nearly 15 points between the 1992 primary and the general election.

- Worked as a civil rights attorney, winning cases against the state of Illinois for failing to implement a federal voter-registration law and wrongful termination of a whistle-blower who lost her job after exposing waste and corruption in a medical research project.

- Taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, ranked #6 in USNews top law schools.

Illinois Senate:
- Passed legislation sharply restricting the gifts that Illinois politicians could accept from lobbyists
- Helped set up Illinois' "KidCare" program that provided health care to children in families that did not qualify for Medicaid.
- Passed bills requiring police interrogations to be videotaped and requiring police to study racial profiling in traffic stops, for both of which he managed to secure the endorsements of police groups who were initially opposed.
- Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee Act
- Illinois' first earned-income tax credit
- Illinois Temporary Assistance For Needy Families Program
- Bill requiring advance notice Of mass layoff and plant closings
- Whistle-Blower protection law
- Equal Pay Act
- Victims Economic Security And Safety Act
- Frequently secured bipartisan support for legislation while in the minority and majority (control switched parties during Obama's tenure)

US Senate:
- Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act
- Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act
- Honest Leadership and Open Government Act
- Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act
- The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (passed Senate, not House)

Noteworthy bills not yet passed or signed into law:
- Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2007
- The Protection Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill

Since being elected to the Senate Obama has written 890 bills and co-sponsored another 1096.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"Funny how you and Republicans have the same talking points."

The slams you and your fellow Obamatrons have been using against Hillary have fallen into the same category for many months now.


The slams you and your fellow Obamatrons have been using against Hillary have fallen into the same category for many months now.

Name one "slam" I have used against Hillary.

Nothing to say about the list of accomplishments? Thought not.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, thanks mantis that is a comprehensive Obama supporters have been asked this over and over again..almost every day and have replied with similar rebuttals. There was one post by Larkin Obama's Illinois Record of Accomplishments and Working with the Other side ..Another post by me Some of Obama's Legislative Record in Illinois.

As for her opponent..I think it is quite germane, especially after about 6 posts in a row on Obama's record. It is difficult to talk only about one person's accomplishments without the comparison between her opponent since she (and you) are always suggesting it. Or is it unfair to bring Clinton's record or lack of one into the discussion? Asked about the difference between her and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama , she replied, "Well, about 35 years of experience." That's usually the end of discussion..I guess we will just accept her words and keep the conversation going endlessly round in circles about Obama's experience.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"Or is it unfair to bring Clinton's record or lack of one into the discussion?"

"Unfair" is a loaded word.

Is ignoring the question about Obama's accomplishments and instead launching into an anti-Hillary rant relevant? I don't think so.

Doing so basically says (to me anyway) - "Yes, Obama doesn't have many accomplishments but neither does Hillary" - and I'm not sure that answer serves Obama any better than "No, I can't list his accomplishments, but the guy gives me hope" answer that Watson gave on "Hardball" (clip 1 above).

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

My feeling is that Obama has achieved helluva lot for someone in mid-life. Anyway he inspires others to work for him. When asked this question about what he had managed on '60 minutes' he said his senate office and this campaign.. I think his campaign has been excellent..He has kept it 'on message' even when his advisors or someone like Edwards thought he should go negative..Hillary has been all over the map firing people left and centre as if she was managing the White House Travel office. Rumors are her Texas campaign is now in chaos...The only thing that has been steady is this message of 35 years of experience, which Mark Penn coined two years ago shouldn't it be updated to 36 or 37 years)which she has repeated hundreds of time as if she was a Republican..So John McCain will say well I have 50 years of experience to top that, if she uses it as her national nominee slogan. It is the most idiotic slogan of all time and she pays her consultants big dollars, much more than Obama's to come up with that and the theme that she is the 'inevitable candidate', another sure loser. The old timer whitehaired Texas senator Obama surrogate looked like he had about 40 years of political experience and look where it got him.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I read an analysis yesterday that looked at Clinton's campaign mistakes, and the one that stood out the most was Clinton's framing of the "Experience versus Hope" debate.

By laying claim to experience, Hillary ceded "hope," and when it became obvious that "hope" was what the electorate favored most Clinton vilified those who supported Obama's hopeful message because each attack against Obama's "hopeful" message became an insult to the Obama supporters she was trying to win back.

I'm not sure I explained that as well as the analysis I read yesterday - but 'hopefully' you get the idea.

However, lots of Obama supporters tell me that once he's secured the nomination they have confidence that Obama will begin to address concerns about his accomplishments, and will get specific on the issues.

That, I suspect, will be his opportunity to lose the general election, because I've watched almost all of the debates and I'm a voracious news consumer, and to-date Obama has not been impressive at all when it comes to explaining his platform and plans - and all we can do once he nails the nomination is "hope" that he does a good job of it when finally starts explaining.


While I've been poring through the LoC site looking at the legislative records of Obama and Clinton, I just discovered a post by a diarist at Kos that gives a very good summary:

I Refuse to Buy into the Obama Hype (now a supporter)

I know Lee won't respond in any substantive way--he's too busy searching Youtube for more Obama videos--but some other people may be interested in a comparison of the two Senators' records. It's enlightening if you haven't bothered to sift through the legislation yourself.

Steve Crickmore:

Yes mantis, I will reference that site. I'm glad that both senators are working hard to lower lead paint which is one of the worst detriments of a poor environment for kids especially foH urban kids.

On this experience question, I have a feeling that being in the White house for 8 years, might have made it difficult for her to really commit to being a good senator though from all reports she was surprisingly collegial but I think she always had her eye on the main chance, and spent a lot of her time in the Senate, as she did in the White House raising money.

Lee, yes..It seems the Clinton team by trying to co-opt the staus quo almost incumbent position, left Obama in perfect position to aquire the agent of change, hope ground so easily. It was like going into a prevent defense and Obama just rolled up the middle. She should have really tried for a different, softer perhaps more feminine position that would have endeared her to 51% of the population straight away. We are able to make up all minds on the competency question which seems a bit patronizing and she should have forgetten all this commander -in-chief stuff that she is still using -i.e when the call comes at 3 in the morning- another mistake. Bush and Cheney have ripped that off for a good many years. I think Americans have spent enough time being worried about these reminders of what a frightening world it is. ..I used to teach high school in Northern Ireland during the worst of the troubles but the majority people there just want to get on with their lives and didn't want to be reminded forever about the violence- evidence which they can see for theselves.. There is more talk about terrorism at a GOP rally than I recall in a month, when I lived in Belfast.. People don't want to talk about it when it is all around them, they just want have some normalcy in their lives. Obama gives that feeling to them. He doesn't try to frighten them. A hopemonger rather than a fearmonger. Hillary isn't so bad on this but in the debate tonight we will see.

Obama is not an empty suit.... Well I don't think so, though apart from his books he doesn't have much of a paper trail..not like Robert Bork Here is a very interesting thread on his paper trail which is a bit disappointing about his academic output, but as you said in comment the other day ..He is very bright..not so very quick like Hillary who normally outshines him in debates, but he is probably a deeper thinker. At least, I hope he won't be a lightwieght. Time will tell.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Perhaps his unwillingness to elaborate on his positions and plans stems from a lack of confidence, or whatever. I've said many times he obviously is a brilliant chap, he's just hiding his light a little too much to my liking.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee the problem is people pounce on his words or distort the meaning. The Retzo affair should be a bigger problem for him but using those harmless lines that Patrick gave him in a speech generated far more traction..you figure..Obama is hardly speaking to the press now, whereas Michelle sems to be making it up as she goes along and is getting beaten up for it and even Hillary a little. Anyway he will have to be more explicit in the debate..I will be listening on c-span radio, unless I can find a videocast somewhere..

If Obama wins the nomination, I think this McCain scandal 'in bed' with a lobbyist is going to be very good for Obama, since he doen't have to bring it up from now on, just merely mention the word lobbyist and it will conjure up all sorts of images. With Hillary and her husbsand's history the perceived contrast wouldn't be so clear.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

The Rezko trial starts March 3 I believe, a week from Monday. The judge has already turned down requests from Rezko's counsel for a delay, so I think it'll really go forward on the third.

The trial starts with jury selection, so it'll likely be a while before opening arguments and then testimony begins however.

Ohio and texas primaries are on March 4, so there will be a blitz of noise on the third with the start of the trial but there won't be anything substantial that hurts Obama, I suspect. Anything that comes out in trial will come out after the Ohio and Texas primaries, and I suspect Obama will be safely ahead in the delegates at that point.

CNN is webcasting the debate - there should be a link on their website to the live feed.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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