The Los Angeles Times reported this morning, in an article titled “Armenian Hopes Crushed as Obama Decides Not To Use the Word ‘Genocide’“, that Obama was in fact breaking a campaign pledge with his decision.
His 2008 promise could not have left less wiggle room:
The decision, revealed Tuesday in a meeting with Armenian American groups, backs down from a previous Obama pledge.
“As president I will recognize the Armenian Genocide,” Obama said while running for president in 2008.
Obama’s decision is a continuation of federal policy, though no prior U.S. president had made a specific promise of recognition.
The federal refusal to recognize is certainly not in step with the states. According to the Armenian National Committee of America, 43 U.S. states, by “legislation or proclamation,” have recognized the 1915 genocide since New York and New Jersey first did in 1975:
More on Obama’s campaign promise, from the LA Times article:
Obama, as a senator and a candidate for president, supported using the term to describe the killings and criticized the George W. Bush administration for not doing so.
“Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence,” Obama said in 2008. “The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy.”