For Seven Years, Obama Has Said His Fixes for the Country Won't Happen 'Overnight'

December 8, 2015

Call him Overnight Obama.

Anyone who watches the president's public appearances on a regular basis knows he has certain expressions that pop up over and over, such as admonishing opponents that they're on the "wrong side of history" or scolding Americans with the phrase "that's not who we are."

Another subtle one shows up a lot too: His caveats that the changes he's advocating for on issues ranging from the economy to immigration to education to climate change will not happen "overnight." In fact, Obama's said this since he was Senator Obama from Illinois, running for president in 2008. After his Feb. 19 victory in the Wisconsin primary, Obama told the cheering crowds to manage expectations.

"As wonderful as this gathering is, as exciting as these enormous crowds and this enormous energy may be, what we're trying to do here is not easy, and it will not happen overnight," Obama said.

In 2009, Obama said in his Cairo speech to the Muslim world that "change will not happen overnight," and he also told Americans that the economy would not "transform overnight."

In 2010, Obama said his education reform plans wouldn't "transform our education system overnight," and he later said the comprehensive immigration reform he sought wouldn't come easily.

"While this work isn’t easy, and the changes we seek won’t always happen overnight, what we’ve made clear is that this administration will not just kick the can down the road," Obama said.

Obama has repeatedly remarked about the economic "challenges" facing his administration that they weren't "created overnight," and "they're not going to be solved overnight," and in 2012, he reminded supporters on the campaign trail that the stack of problems he got "didn't happen overnight," and "turning that around wasn't going to happen overnight."

"The shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight," Obama said at the 2014 State of the Union address.

Neither, Obama has said in his second term, will major action on gun control, police reform, or stopping climate change.

Obama has a little more than 14 months remaining in office.