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Carney Lists These as Obama's 'Accomplishments' Since Re-Election…but Here's What We Found When We Fact-Checked the List


“But can you point to any tangible accomplishments in the last year?”

Photo credit AP

November 6 marks one year since President Barack Obama was reelected, and the White House – as might be expected – is arguing the first year of the second term was a successful one.

What's their evidence? A tax hike, an immigration reform bill, and a chemical weapons agreement with Syria. But here's the issues we found when we started fact-checking: the tax hike wasn't as big as the administration wanted; the immigration reform hasn't passed yet; and the Syrian weapons agreement only happened after Obama stepped away from proposed military action when he couldn't gain domestic or international support for and with the help of Russia.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Carney opened with remarks on Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki's testimony on Capitol Hill regarding veterans benefits and the partial government shutdown. (Credit: AP)

The accomplishment talk began Tuesday afternoon when a reporter asked White House press secretary Jay Carney to comment on the president's feeling one year after reelection and his accomplishments since that time.

“If you're asking me how he felt about the reelection, I think he's pretty satisfied with the result,” Carney said before launching into talking points about protecting the middle class.

The reporter followed, “But can you point to any tangible accomplishments in the last year?”

Carney went on to name the three.

“I would say a goal that most people in this room and certainly most people in Washington said would have never happened, which is that we would make permanent tax cuts for the middle class and raise rates on millionaires and billionaires happened on the first of this year,” Carney said.

He was referring to the fiscal cliff negotiations at the end of 2012, when the Bush tax cuts were set to expire. The Obama administration and congressional Democrats wanted a tax increase on Americans earning more than $250,000 per year. After a deal reached between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), taxes increased on those earning more than $450,000 per year.

Meanwhile, the immigration reform bill providing a “pathway to citizenship” to more than 11 million illegal immigrants passed the Senate, but the chances of passage in the House look bleak.

“I would say that the enormous progress we made on immigration reform, which the president made clear was a top priority for 2013 was a result of the president and everyone else here in Washington, Democrat and Republican and all the stakeholders around that country that have worked tirelessly to bring about this change for our economy,” Carney said. “We're not there yet but we have an enormous amount of progress we can point to.”

As for Syria, Obama at one point threatened military action if the country used chemical weapons (a "red line"). After Syrian dictator’s Bashar Assad used chemical weapons killing 1,400 people in the country, Obama announced he would seek Congressional approval before taking any action. He further called for Assad to step down.

Congress declined to give him the support he was seeking for military action. The United Nations balked, too. Instead, Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped in, and with the help of Russia, Syria committed to destroy its chemical weapons.

“Even though the situation in Syria remains horrific for so many reasons, I can stand here today and say the Syrian regime is destroying chemical weapons and the apparatus to make chemical weapons that it did not even acknowledge existed a month ago,” Carney said.

“That's a big deal.”


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