President’s focus on Ohio River bridge no fluke

BRIDGE TO RE-ELECTION: President Barack Obama’s focus on the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River is loaded with politics ? it connects the home states of the top Republican congressional leaders and takes him to Ohio, a swing state likely to be crucial in the 2012 presidential election.

PRESIDENT’S CASE: Obama is expected to say Thursday that the bridge overhaul is the kind of project that will create jobs and address critical infrastructure needs ? if he can get Republican leaders’ cooperation.

NO DEBATE OVER NEED: One Republican Ohio congressman says an overhaul of the bridge ? an outdated, unsafe 1960s span that is at more than double capacity ? has long had bipartisan support. But GOP officials question whether it should come through new taxes and spending, and say it will take years for the project to be ready to put enough people to work to dent high unemployment rates.