American Future Fund: “Promises”

American Future Fund highlights examples of President Obama making similar statements in 2008 and 2012, as if it’s somehow discrediting that, after a term marked by Republican obstructionism, the president would still have any of the same goals that he campaigned on four years ago. To drive the point home, AFF closes with Obama’s statement in 2009 that “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” However, the ad leaves out crucial context: Obama was responding to a question about efforts to rescue the economy, and he suggested that he would lose if voters did not see the economy “starting to make some progress.” Three years later, the economy has added 4.6 million private-sector jobs over 30 consecutive months of growth.

“One-Term” Quote Referred To Making Economic Progress…

The ad quotes President Obama saying, “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” That statement was made in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer that aired on February 2, 2009.

President Obama Made “One-Term” Statement In Response To Question Regarding TARP. According to ABC News:

Obama was responding to specific questions about the Troubled Asset Relief Program and whether its economic benefits would merit the costs, then estimated at $700 billion.

“At some point will you say, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve spent this amount of money. We’re not seeing the results. We’ve got to change course dramatically?’” Lauer asked Obama.

“Look, I’m at the start of my administration. One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable. You know, I’ve got four years. And, you know, a year from now I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress,” Obama said. “But there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” [ABC News, 2/2/12]

  • TARP Helped Avert A Worse Financial Collapse And Cost Far Less Than Congress Originally Allocated. According to ABC News: TARP, which began under President George W. Bush in late 2008, provided infusions of capital to struggling banks, boosted Federal Reserve lending and launched a public-private effort to soften the blow of failed assets weighing on banks’ books. It is widely credited with averting the collapse of several major U.S. banks and stabilizing the financial sector, while ultimately costing taxpayers significantly less than originally thought. The lifetime cost of TARP is projected to be $70 billion – one tenth of the amount first allocated by Congress – according to the Government Accountability Office. The program also included financing for the U.S. auto industry, which has since experienced a resurgence that has led to more jobs and new profitability.” [ABC News,2/2/12]

…Like 4.6 Million Jobs Over 30 Consecutive Months Of Private-Sector Growth

Recession Officially Ran From December 2007 To June 2009, Making It The Longest Since World War II. From the National Bureau of Economic Research: “The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months. In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.” [, 9/20/10]

  • Recession Resulted In 8.3 Million Job Losses. According to the Associated Press, “the Great Recession killed 8.3 million jobs, compared with 1.6 million lost in the 2001 recession.” [Associated Press via Yahoo! News, 5/4/12]

Bush Recession Was So Severe That Economy Was Still Shedding Over Three-Quarters Of A Million Jobs Per Month Through First Few Months Of President Obama’s Term. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy shed 839,000 jobs in January 2009, 725,000 in February 2009, 787,000 in March 2009, and 802,000 in April 2009, for a four-month average of 788,250 lost jobs per month. [, accessed 5/3/12]

Since The Recession Ended In June 2009, The Private Sector Has Added 3.4 Million Jobs While Public-Sector Employment Has Fallen By 670,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 107,933,000 private-sector jobs in June 2009, and 111,400,000 private-sector jobs in August 2012, an increase of 3,467,000 jobs. The BLS also reports that there were 22,570,000 Americans working in the public sector in June 2009, and 21,900,000 working in the public sector in August 2012, a decrease of 670,000 jobs. The private-sector gains and public-sector losses add up to a total increase of 2,797,000 jobs.

The following chart shows the cumulative private-sector job gains and public-sector job losses since the recession officially ended in June 2009:


[, accessed 9/7/12;, accessed 9/7/12;, 9/20/10]

  • Conservative AEI: The Public Sector Is Shrinking, But Private-Sector Growth Is Above Average. From American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark J. Perry: “In the second quarter of 2012, ‘public sector GDP’ decreased -1.44%, and that was the eighth straight quarter of negative growth for total government spending, averaging -2.88% per quarter over the last two years. In contrast, there have been 12 consecutive quarters of positive growth for private sector GDP averaging 3.07% per quarter in the three years since the recession ended, which is slightly higher than the 2.8% average growth rate in private real GDP over the last 25 years.” [, 7/31/12]
  • GOP-Favored “Government Downsizing” Has Been “A Drag” On Job Growth. From the Associated Press: “Conservative Republicans have long clamored for government downsizing. They’re starting to get it — by default. Crippled by plunging tax revenues, state and local governments have shed over a half million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. And, after adding jobs early in the downturn, the federal government is now cutting them as well. States cut 49,000 jobs over the past year and localities 210,000, according to an analysis of Labor Department statistics. There are 30,000 fewer federal workers now than a year ago — including 5,300 Postal Service jobs canceled last month. By contrast, private-sector jobs have increased by 1.6 million over the past 12 months. But the state, local and federal job losses have become a drag on efforts to nudge the nation’s unemployment rate down from its painfully high 9.1 percent.” [Associated Press, 10/25/11]

The Private Sector Has Added 4.6 Million Jobs Over 30 Consecutive Months Of Private-Sector Growth. The following chart shows the monthly change in private-sector jobs dating back to January 2008.


[, accessed 9/7/12;, 9/7/12]

[OBAMA 2008:] We’re going through some tough times. [OBAMA 2012:] Still going through some tough times. [OBAMA 2008:] We’ll create millions of new jobs. [OBAMA 2012:] Create a million new manufacturing jobs. [OBAMA 2008:] Rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges. [OBAMA 2012:] Building roads and bridges. [OBAMA 2008:] Pay down some of this debt. [OBAMA 2012:] Pay down our debt. [OBAMA 2008:] Put people back to work. [OBAMA 2012:] Put people back to work. [OBAMA 2008:] In a time when so many people are struggling. [OBAMA 2012:] When so many people are still struggling. [OBAMA 2008:] I promise you. [OBAMA 2012:] I promise you. [OBAMA CLIP:] I promise you change will come. [OBAMA AUDIO:] If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition. [NARRATOR:] American Future Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising. [American Future Fund via, 9/25/12]