The dirty secret of presidential campaigns is that those crafting the candidate's public pledges are usually not those who will be in charge of policy if victorious. As a consequence, voters who take to heart promises made between now and November 6, 2012, are likely to be disappointed – even (or rather: especially) if their candidate wins.
Just ask those who voted for President Obama. As a candidate, Senator Barack Obama repeatedly told Democratic primary voters that if elected he'd close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The base is still open today.
His predecessor, George W. Bush, was no different. In 2000, as a candidate, Governor Bush repeatedly promised Jewish and evangelical audiences that: "As soon as I take office I will begin the process of moving the U.S. ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital," – Jerusalem. He didn't do that. Instead, every six months of his eight years in the White House, he utilized a waiver allowing him to postpone the Congressionally-mandated move. The U.S. embassy is today still in Tel Aviv.
Our two most recent presidents are no different from their predecessors. Indeed a close look shows a litany of broken campaign promises stretching throughout U.S. history.
Thomas Jefferson, for example, campaigned as a strict constructionist, but in office he pushed through the Louisiana Purchase – a great deal, but one that assumed the increased Federal power he had bitterly declaimed. Woodrow Wilson won the 1916 election with the slogan "he kept us out of war," and then took the country into that very same First World War.