It was exactly one month ago that President Obama warned the Republican-controlled Congress, "I've got a pen and I've got a phone." That simple declaration was Obama's indication that he was going to use executive orders to push his agenda forward without the approval of Congress.
However, a recently unearthed video from then-Sen. Barack Obama's first presidential campaign in 2008 appears to show the candidate making a promise that he has been unable to keep. The statement was made during a town hall event in Lancaster, Pa.
First, he reminded the audience that he was a constitutional scholar.
"Ya know, I taught constitutional law for 10 years. I take the constitution very seriously," he said.
Then, candidate Obama pledged to be very different from the man he hoped to replace: "The biggest problems we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that's what I intend to reverse when I'm president of the United States of America."
President Obama has violated his promise to "reverse" the problem of executive orders 168 times, issuing 147 executive orders during his first term. That compares to 173 orders in Bush's first term. Bush ended his two terms with a total of 291 executive orders to his credit. Obama's latest action puts his total at 168 orders with just less than three years remaining on his second term in the White House.
In terms of executive orders, Bush and Obama do not come close to Bill Clinton's total of 364. But all presidents pale in comparison to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 3,728 Executive Orders (573 came in the first year of his first term).
Watch the clip:
Lest you think this was an isolated incident, Obama was also captured making the exact same promise at a Colorado town hall-style meeting in May 2008:
(H/T: Heritage Foundation)
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