We told you about this little drama back in September, when Obama stopped off briefly in Covington, Kentucky, to flog his latest
stimulus jobs bill. Suggesting to the hastily-assembled crowd that it was “purely coincidental” that he selected the bridge connecting the two states represented by his two congressional nemeses, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, the president said the Brent Spence Bridge was and example of the nation’s “structurally deficient” infrastructure.
"Part of the reason I came here is because Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell are the two most powerful Republicans in government," he said. "They can either kill this jobs bill, or they can help us pass it." "Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge," Obama said. "Help us rebuild America. Help us put this country back to work. Pass this jobs bill right away."
Obama told the friendly crowd last September that he wanted to repair the bridge with his proposed stimulus cash. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the plan. Ohio and Kentucky are going to build a new bridge nearby instead, and none of the president’s “jobs bill” funds will be involved. The president's proposal is designed for "immediate" highway spending, and the new $2.3 billion Covington to Cincinnati bridge is not scheduled to even start construction for probably three or four years, and, without delays, it wouldn't be finished until 2022, (when, according to the L.A. Times, “no one will be counting Obama's rounds of golf”).
The crumbling infrastructure of the nation’s bridges is certainly an important issue, but symbolism can only go so far. The administration could never explain what, if anything, the jobs bill would do to improve the Brent Spence Bridge, especially since construction was not slated to start until 2015 — and Obama’s jobs bill would spend most of its money in its first year.
Despite the fact that there is a long history of bipartisan support for this project, Obama suggested to the folks at the Washington Hilton Hotel yesterday that the Republicans were blocking its reconstruction with their opposition to his legislation. Once again he framed it as GOP opposition to fixing the Brent Spence Bridge, and he expanded this canard by mentioning other bridges “between Kentucky and Ohio” that “don’t work.”
An administration official told reporter Kessler that the president was referring to the Sherman Minton Bridge, which actually connects Indiana and Kentucky, near Louisville. Back in September, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) had to shut down the bridge because a 2 ½ inch crack had been discovered.
Of course, while Obama was telling his union audience “these bridges don’t work,” the Sherman Minton Bridge has already been repaired, and without needing any of Obama’s jobs-bill funds. And another nearby bridge, the Kennedy Bridge, is slated to undergo redecking; again, without using any of Obama’s jobs-bill money.
Kessler goes on in his article to quote “an administration official” as explaining: “The President was making a point about the need to rebuild our infrastructure and the job creation opportunities that come with that, and was pointing to Ohio River area projects to illustrate the point that these kinds of projects are right in the Congressional Republican leadership’s backyards.”
In awarding the president “Four Pinocchios” for lying, Kessler said, “Calling out the Republicans at the Brent Spence bridge was bad enough, given the bipartisan support for its reconstruction. But pointing to the Sherman Minton Bridge, which already has been repaired without funding from the president’s jobs bill, is ridiculous.”
Pregnant, of course, is the question of whether Obama’s lies—so transparent that even the credulous Washington Post won’t fall for them—will convince the voters in November to give him another four years. Stay tuned.
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