A bridge re-traveled

March 13, 2006, Senator Barack Obama:

"The cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and states of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on. . . . If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we'd see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies."

National debt:             $8.27 trillion
Unemployment rate:    4.7%

November 21, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama:

"We'll be working out the details in the weeks ahead, but it will be a two-year, nationwide effort to jumpstart job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy. We'll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels..."

National debt:             $10.66 trillion
Unemployment rate:    6.8%

February 17, 2009, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("Stimulus") signed into law by President Obama. Total: $787 billion including transportation, infrastructure and education spending.

National debt:             $10.79 trillion
Unemployment rate:    8.2%

(On March 3, 2009, while touting passage of Stimulus, President Obama said: "Of the 3.5 million jobs that will be created and saved over the next two years as a result of this recovery plan, 400,000 will be jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges and schools, repairing our faulty levees and dams, connecting nearly every American to broadband, and upgrading the buses and trains that commuters take every day.")

September 14, 2011, President Obama in North Carolina pitching his $447 billion "jobs bill":

"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. Four of them are near here, on or around the Beltline. Why would we wait to act until another bridge falls?"

National debt:             $14.68 trillion
Unemployment rate:   9.1%