Here Are the Obama Laws Each Primary Candidate Wants to Repeal First

February 1st 2016

Lucy Tiven

The Iowa Caucus is upon us, and as the 2016 campaign ratchets up, many candidates are using the current administration in their stump speeches — whether they're distancing themselves from President Obama, or praising him.


On the Republican side, it's safe to say that the GOP debates are looking more and more like a roast of President Obama and his administration.

Though the Democratic candidates have been less outspoken in their criticism of the Obama administration, they have also voiced grievances with specific policies and suggested that their voters can expect a brighter future rather than just "more of the same."

Here is each primary candidate's beef with the sitting president:

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

While the Clinton campaign is overwhelmingly the most supportive of Obama — and even billing herself as a continuation of President Obama's policies — the former Secretary of State's views diverge significantly from the sitting president on Syria and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement passed by the Obama administration and once supported by Clinton.

"We've learned a lot about trade agreements over the years," Clinton said at a speaking engagement at an Iowa college. "Sometimes they look great on paper."


While she has avoided condemning Obama too overtly, Clinton has called for more aggressive air-strikes on ISIS and a no-fly zone in Syria.

“Our goal is not to deter or contain ISIS, but to defeat and destroy ISIS,” she said a day before the Paris attack in 2015.

Bernie Sanders


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been a far more outspoken critic of Obama than Clinton, and he has openly taken issue with the Obama administration and its willingness to negotiate and compromise with Republicans over taxes and social security. Sanders has called for a complete "political revolution" and announced plans to replace Obamacare with a more comprehensive Medicare plan for all. However, he has deflected claims that he wants to scrap Obamacare entirely.

Martin O'Malley

Martin O'Malley close up

Democratic primary contender Martin O'Malley's campaign was once critical of the Obama administration's plans to return undocumented children to Central America in 2014. The Maryland Governor has been most outspoken about climate change and has both praised Obama's work and insisted that he would go further. O'Malley has said he would begin his time in office with an executive order prioritizing a transition to clean energy.

Donald Trump


Businessman Donald Trump, has railed against the Obama administration over many issues. One of those is gun control, Trump claims he will eliminate gun-free zones at schools and military bases. The Republican frontrunner announced his aggressive stance on guns in early January, shortly following Obama's executive orders tightening regulations on where guns are purchased and can be taken.

“You know what a gun free zone is to sickos? That’s bait!” Trump said at a Vermont rally. "I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and — you have to — and on military bases. My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There’s no more gun-free zones."

Trump has also said he plans to ship out 11 million illegal immigrants, order the Treasury Department to declare China a "currency manipulator" and stop American companies from building products abroad when he takes office. In 2015, President Obama announced that he would be seeking amnesty for an estimate of 5 million undocumented illegal immigrants in the United States — a decision that has recently come under review by the Supreme Court. As Forbes and others have noted, Trump's stance on investments abroad contradicts the fact that much of the business and real estate tycoon's assets come from overseas investments.

Ted Cruz


Former Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has promised to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood, if he takes office at the White House. President Obama has been a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood throughout his presidency.

Cruz PP tweets

Cruz, who has courted the Evangelical vote for much of his campaign, also alleges that he will demand the Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service stop their "persecution of religious liberty." He also plans to end the Obama administrations Iran nuclear deal, which he has described as a great embarrassment.

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio Climate Change

Rubio, like Cruz, plans to rip up the Iran nuclear deal.


"This is not a treaty, there’s nothing about this that’s binding on the next administration," Rubio said on on Fox News, 

“When I’m president of the United States, we will re-impose those sanctions on day one, and then I will go to Congress, ask them even to increase sanctions more, and I will back that up with a credible threat of military force."

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Santorum has told supporters and Pizza Ranch fans that he will promptly end the Iran nuclear deal.

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina also plans to end the Iranian nuclear deal and pick up the phone to call Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying that she will allow the U.S. to conduct random inspections of Iranian nuclear sites.

Rand Paul

Rand Paul at a fundraiser in Colorado

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has announced that he will end NSA surveillance, which he has credited to both Obama and fellow GOP contender Jeb Bush.

Jeb Bush


Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush plans to end Obamacare with a repeal-and-replace plan.

Chris Christie

Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has asserted he will issue an executive order for no more regulation by “any government agency or department” within his first 120 days in office.


Christie has also gone after Obama for his foreign policy and implied that his dealings with Syria and Russia made him “a feckless weakling” in a disparaging tweet.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee speaks at CPAC 2014

Mike Huckabee, like Cruz, promises to forefront socially conservative policy, and has been an outspoken critic of same sex marriage.

Huckabee's plan to protect "traditional marriage" includes an executive order and constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. While the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage was technically a Supreme Court decision, it is one that the Obama administration supported wholeheartedly, even lighting up the White House with rainbow colors.

Ben Carson


A Carson presidency would begin with freezing the national debt limit (the Obama administration has fought tirelessly with Congress to raise the debt limit several times), according to the surgeon-turned-presidential hopeful. Carson also plans to create a government agency devoted to protecting cybersecurity.