Obamateurism of the Day

Barack Obama has hit the road, trying to sell his new Porkulus II stimulus, er, job-creation plan, asking Congress for $450 billion for the usual government subsidies and “shovel ready” infrastructure projects that worked so well in keeping unemployment under control that we still haven’t seen it dip below 9%.  That’s obviously a tough sell, and Obama has worked hard to close the deal.  In fact, in North Carolina, Obama tried relying on a notorious hard-sell tactic — scare the customers:

 Governor Perdue can tell you — there are a lot of roads and a lot of bridges that need fixing.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done in schools and airports.  All these things are in need of repair.  In North Carolina alone, there are 153 structurally deficient bridges that need to be repaired.

Well, that’s news to North Carolinians — and to their Department of Transportation.  The News-Observer checked with the NCDoT, who were just as puzzled at the President’s remarks:

DOT engineers and administrators are fielding calls about the president’s remarks, too. They say the bridges around the Beltline and across the state are safe.

“The key thing is: We don’t have any bridges that are about to fall,” said Wally Bowman, DOT’s division chief for Wake and six neighboring counties. “We don’t have any bridge out there that is structurally inadequate, where it cannot handle the traffic. We make sure those bridges stay in a good state of repair.”

Actually, the term “structurally deficient” applies to any bridge with any damage, regardless of whether repairs are required or not.  North Carolina has 2,700 bridges in that category, not 153, and none of them need immediate repair, let alone federal intervention.  The number of bridges that need repair to keep them from falling on people?  Zero.  As the NCDoT told the News-Observer, if there was a bridge in danger of doing that, they’d close it and fix it.

But this passage caught the attention of Newsbusters:

Obama appears to have undercounted his bridges. And at the same time – employing the deft spin that political speakers use when they spice up a little information to make a big impression – the president may have over-suggested the risk to public safety.

“Over-suggested”?  Is that anything like “failing to do research,” or “scaremongering,” or just “lying“?

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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