Obama highlights the 'functionally obsolete' in Boehner and McConnell's backyards

09/22/2011 08:23 PM

President Barack Obama made his case Thursday for passing a $450 billion bill that would include money for infrastructure improvements using as a backdrop the “functionally obsolete” bridge between the home states of the nation’s most powerful Republicans.

Obama pointed out that the Brent Spence Bridge between Ohio and Kentucky is still safe to drive on but out of date with current transportation needs, making it “functionally obsolete.”

Obama chuckled when someone in the mostly Democratic crowd yelled, “Sounds like John Boehner,” the Republican speaker of the House who hails from Ohio.

Obama joked that it was a “coincidence” that he was standing in front of the Brent Spence Bridge that links the home state of the Republican House Speaker to the home state of the Republican Senate minority leader, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell.

“Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell — those are the two most powerful Republicans in government. They can either kill this jobs bill or they can help pass this jobs bill,” Obama said. “I know these men care about their states.”

Obama didn’t stop there. He challenged McConnell directly over McConnell’s statement last fall that his top political priority was to make Obama a one term president.

“I’ve got news for him and every other member of Congress who feels the same way. The next election is 14 months away. And I’d be happy to tangle sometime down the road,” he said. But the American people right now don’t have the luxury of waiting to solve our problems another 14 months.”

And the president finished his speech with a final plea to the crowd to urge Congress to “pass this bill” — his new mantra that has replaced “Yes, we can” as his rallying cry.


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