Highway Construction

Christi Parsons, Michael A. Memoli
July 1, 2014

In his latest attempt to get Congress to spend money to upgrade America’s roads and bridges, President Obama debuted a new sales pitch Tuesday: patriotism.

Standing beside the Francis Scott Key Bridge on a sweltering afternoon, Obama paid homage to the writer of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a speech about the Highway Trust Fund.

“Economic patriotism” dictates that Congress should help states repair and rebuild crucial infrastructure, Obama said, and thus “reward American workers and the businesses that hire them.”

A good place to start, he said, is the heavily used bridge named for the Baltimore lawyer who wrote the lyrics for the song that, more than a century later, became the national anthem.

The Key Bridge, which spans the Potomac River, has been classified as structurally deficient and needs urgent repairs, Obama said.

“It’s not crazy. It’s not socialism,” he said to laughter. “It’s not the imperial presidency. No laws are broken.”

Republican lawmakers “are patriots,” he said. “They love their country. They love their families. They just have a flawed theory of the economy that they can’t seem to get past.

“Economic patriotism says that instead of stacking the deck in the favor of folks just at the top, let’s harness the talents and ingenuity of every American and give every child access to quality education, and make sure that if your job was stamped obsolete or shipped overseas, you’re going to get retrained for an even better job,” he said.
It’s not crazy. It’s not socialism. It’s not the imperial presidency. No laws are broken. – President Obama

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