Biden visits old, rusty New Hampshire bridge to tout newly signed infrastructure bill

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A tiny crowd – including some protesters – greeted President Biden near a rusty old bridge in rural New Hampshire on Tuesday as he tried to build excitement for the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill he signed into law a day earlier.

A letter from the state’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, urging further economic help for the state, also greeted the president, The Associated Press reported.

“Ensuring that roads get built, bridges get repaired and drinking water gets improved will be even more challenging given the economic challenges Washington seems oblivious to,” Sununu wrote, according to the AP.

Biden had a bumpy landing into New Hampshire after experiencing turbulence aboard Air Force One, according to WMUR-TV of Manchester. 

The president and his entourage then traveled to Woodstock, about 58 miles north of Concord, the state capital, where he used the rickety Green Bridge across the Pemigewasset River along Route 175 as a backdrop to tout the bill’s passage.

President Joe Biden delivers a speech on infrastructure  while visiting the Green Bridge spanning the Pemigewasset River on Nov. 16, 2021, in Woodstock, New Hampshire. (Getty Images)

“This may not seem like a big bridge, but it saves lives and solves problems,” Biden said during a news conference, for which the bridge was temporarily closed. Repairing the 1939 span is just one of the numerous projects nationwide being funded by the new law.

A small crowd sat on folding chairs as the president spoke. He was visiting a state where his approval rating dropped to 34% in a recent New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll, according to the AP. The same poll showed Biden with an unfavorable rating of 53%, the report said.

President Joe Biden waits to speak during a visit to the Green Bridge over the Pemigewasset River to promote infrastructure spending Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Woodstock, N.H. (Associated Press)

Supply chain bottlenecks and rising consumer prices were among the problems dogging the president, the AP reported.

‘Let’s go, Brandon!’

At least two groups of protesters gathered near the president’s news conference, according to reporter Erin Tiernan of the Boston Herald.

“Whoever voted Biden owes me gas money,” read a sign that one protester wore from a string around his neck. Another held a sign listing price increases for Thanksgiving staples as the U.S. economy continued to grapple with inflation.  

At another spot, a group traded shouts of “Let’s go, Brandon!” and “F— Joe Biden,” and held signs with slogans such as “Kabul Joe,” referring to the president’s problem-plagued withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, according to another Tiernan post.

President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the Green Bridge over the Pemigewasset River to promote infrastructure spending Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Woodstock, N.H. (Associated Press)

Biden’s New Hampshire stop appeared designed to aid Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation, who backed the infrastructure bill and joined the president in Woodstock. For instance, Biden praised U.S. Sen. Maggie Hansen and U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, both of whom are viewed as vulnerable heading into next year’s elections, WMUR reported.

Detroit stop is next

Next for the president is a Wednesday stop in Detroit to promote his Build Back Better plan, while members of his administration fan out to other locations across the country.

Michael Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, will visit Louisiana and Texas; Deb Haaland, interior secretary, will travel to Massachusetts, California and New Mexico; and Vice President Kamala Harris will go to Ohio, the AP reported.

President Biden greets people after speaking during a visit to the Green Bridge over the Pemigewasset River to promote infrastructure spending Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Woodstock, N.H. (Associated Press)

Despite his sharply worded letter to Biden, Sununu greeted the president when he landed at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, WMUR reported.

The Republican said he and the president spoke briefly about the matters addressed in his letter, as well as the president’s conversation this week with China’s President Xi Jinping.

“It was a very pleasant conversation. I wished him well, and I appreciate his willingness to engage on these important issues,” Sununu said, according to the station.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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