The Record
Remember the open-mic comment? “After my election, I have more flexibility.”


This is the record on which President Obama seeks reelection:

The Economic Record

Unemployment at 7.9 percent (over 8 percent for the prior 43 months); 23 million unemployed and underemployed Americans

47 million on food stamps, a record number of people dependent on government

Average household annual income down more than $3,000 since 2009

46 million Americans, or one in six, living in poverty — the highest rate in a generation and 6 million more than four years ago

A record 8.8 million Americans collecting disability payments, up by over 1.3 million since 2009


Gas prices: $1.76 a gallon on January 20, 2009; $3.53 a gallon on October 29, 2012

The stimulus that didn’t stimulate, $862 billion later: “Some of those shovel-ready projects were not as shovel-ready as we had hoped”

$16 trillion debt, increasing more than $4 billion per day

U.S. bond rating downgraded from AAA for the first time 

Renunciation of the American entrepreneurial spirit: “You didn’t build that”

Obamacare, featuring:

Passage through parliamentary gimmicks without consultation with, or any votes from, Republicans, and with many members of Congress not even reading the 906-page bill

Intrusion of government into the relationship between individuals and their doctors

Raiding Medicare for $716 billion to pay for part of it

An unprecedented government mandate that an individual purchase a good or service

IPAB, the Independent Payment Advisory Board: unelected, virtually unaccountable bureaucrats rationing care

$1.93 trillion: the cost from 2014 to 2023, according to the Congressional Budget Office; 30 million Americans will remain uninsured

Violating the First Amendment by requiring religious institutions to provide coverage for birth control to their employees, in violation of the institutions’ religious beliefs

Failing to pass a budget, or even present a plausible budget, in three years

Failing to address or meaningfully consider necessary structural changes to Medicare and Social Security, which simple demographics (or “simple math,” as the president says) illustrate cannot be sustained in their current form

The Foreign-Policy Record

Security lapses that enabled, or failed to prevent or stop, the Benghazi attack

The subsequent cover-up and apparent lies

Still speaking of Libya as a foreign-policy success

Breaking faith with Israel, our closest and only dependable ally in the Middle East, thereby increasing the risk of conflict with Iran

Abandoning the Iranian people who took to the streets for their freedom in the Green Revolution

Iran is closing in on a nuclear weapon when the U.S. could have hindered its progress but didn’t

The Obama Doctrine: “Leading from behind”

Open-mic quote to Russian president Medvedev, who opposes an anti-ballistic-missile shield: “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”

Apologizing for America

Calling the Fort Hood murders “workplace violence” rather than terrorism

Killing Osama bin Laden: Without question a significant accomplishment, but one unlikely to be repeated in a second term

‘Good Government’

Solyndra: As much as $849 million in taxpayer losses for the administration’s losing bet on it, and yet more on a litany of other alternative-energy start-ups (now shut-downs) subsidized by taxpayers

Fast and Furious: 

2,000 guns were loosed onto the Mexican black market

U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered with one of those guns

The DOJ admittedly provided false information to Congress about how this law-enforcement debacle happened

The administration refused to provide Congress with information about how the DOJ came to provide false information to Congress

Serial violations of the Hatch Act by the most senior-level officials

Abandoning the investigation into the videotaped instances of voter intimidation by the Black Panthers in Philadelphia on Election Day, 2008

Meeting with lobbyists at Caribou Coffee to bypass the White House visitors list, undercutting the claim of “unprecedented” transparency

In the State of the Union address, chastising the Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision, and then reportedly accepting illegal contributions from foreigners

Skirting of the Presidential Records Act by high-level staffers using personal e-mail accounts for official business

Presidential ‘Leadership’

Fomenting class warfare by insisting that “wealthy” Americans do not pay their “fair share” of taxes

A response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that was so passive that James Carville — James Carville! — called it “lackadaisical” and passionately urged the president to “get down here!”

The Beer Summit

Still blaming his predecessor, with his term nearly complete

What would this list look like four years from now?

Scott A. Coffina is a former associate counsel to President George W. Bush.  


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