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Obama Stresses Need For Infrastructure Repairs


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from Cincinnati. And, Ari, tell us more about the significance of this bridge.

ARI SHAPIRO: President Obama argues that upgrading bridges like this one is a short-term investment for the country's long-term benefit. And he says if we don't spend this kind of money now, the country will pay more down the road in lost productivity.

BLOCK: And, Ari, how does this fit into the president's larger push for jobs and deficit reduction?

SHAPIRO: Here's part of what he said this afternoon here in Cincinnati.

SHAPIRO: Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge.


OBAMA: Help us rebuild America. Help us put construction workers back to work. Pass this bill.

BLOCK: And what's the Republican response to that call?

SHAPIRO: Well, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky spoke on the Senate floor this morning. He says he would love to see the bridge rebuilt but doesn't think this bill - what he calls a second stimulus - will do the trick. He says President Obama talked about rebuilding bridges when he pushed the first stimulus bill and it never happened.

NORRIS: If a bridge needs fixing, by all means, let's fix it. But don't tell us we need to pass a half a trillion dollar stimulus bill and accept job-killing tax hikes to do it. Don't tell the people of Kentucky they need to finance every turtle tunnel and solar panel company on some bureaucrat's wish list in order to get their bridges fixed.

BLOCK: Ari, this event from the president today wasn't an official campaign rally. It did have the feel of one. How does it fit into President Obama's re-election strategy?

SHAPIRO: You know, the company is owned by a Republican but he certainly wouldn't mind having the opportunity to hire some more people.

BLOCK: OK. Ari, thanks so much.

SHAPIRO: You're welcome.

BLOCK: That's NPR's Ari Shapiro, traveling with the president today in Cincinnati. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.