10 of History's Boldest Presidential Promises

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Introduction

Despite fighting two wars abroad and facing the worst economic crisis in decades at home, President Obama made a whopper of a pledge in his first address to Congress on February 24. The new president promised to "launch a new effort to conquer a disease that has touched the life of nearly every American by seeking a cure for cancer in our time."

Obama repeated the promise at last week's much-publicized health care summit. Some would say passing a major health care overhaul is a tough enough prospect. But the president was aiming higher, following an example set by his predecessors in making an ambitious - one might say audacious - bid for history.

In the past century, presidents have promised to eradicate poverty (LBJ) and drugs (Bush 41); eliminate nuclear weapons (Carter) and create a global defense system (Reagan); link the nation with interstate highways (Eisenhower) and drive on them in hydrogen-fueled cars (Bush 43). With a few notable exceptions, most of these promises remain unfulfilled. Here's a look at 10 of the boldest presidential promises in recent history.

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