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Before and after photo showing improvements to Sawyer Bridge in Hillsborough, New Hampshire
Renovation of Sawyer Bridge in Hillsborough, New Hampshire:
Before on left (afka_bob in Aug. 2008) and after on right (Josh Graciano in Dec. 2011)
Classic Mitt Romney: find something that on the surface sounds like a great political hit, but once you spend two seconds looking into it, you learn the emperor has no clothes.
Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney is visiting New Hampshire again, this time appearing at what's become known as the "bridge to nowhere."

The 19th century stone arch bridge in Hillsborough used to be called Sawyer Bridge. More than $150,000 from the federal stimulus bill was awarded to preserve and repair it. However, the bridge, which doesn't cross a river, hasn't had vehicle traffic since the 1800s. It ends in a field with an 8-foot drop.

But as Huffington Post points out, Sawyer Bridge is actually a historic bridge—and the New Hampshire state legislature overwhelmingly voted to support its restoration. Among the supporters, reports HuffPost, are 28 state legislators who endorsed Mitt Romney. Moreover, the citizens of Hillsborough, New Hampshire, the site of the bridge, voted to turn the area into a public park.

In 2010, Hillsborough's planning director defended the project from outside critics:

"It's an oversimplification to call it a bridge to nowhere, in my opinion," said Shane O'Keefe, Hillsborough planning director.

O'Keefe said the historic stone arch bridge was falling apart. The town had been trying to fix it for years but never had enough money. He said the town wants to turn the area into a public park.

"It's an historic transportation structure," O'Keefe said.

Romney will appear at the bridge Friday afternoon. Presumably he won't literally say that New Hampshire would be better off if the bridge were falling apart and if nobody had ever been put to work fixing it, but that's the logical extension of the case he's going to make. And it doesn't take great political mind to realize that's really not the best argument to make if you want to win over voters.

9:11 AM PT: Portsmouth, New Hampshire architect William Tucker has more on the bridge's history—as well as the history of this political attack—at Miscellany Blue.

9:12 AM PT: According to the photographer who took the 'after' photo, the bridge, which was built in 1866, was used to carry vehicles until 1988.

9:17 AM PT: Multiple commenters note with amusement that the AP writeup of Romney's visit say the bridge "doesn't cross a river." As you can see from the photo ... it does actually does cross a river: The Contoocook River. Presumably Mitt's staff fed the AP the story that it doesn't cross a river. I wish I could see the look on his face when he finds out it does.

9:46 AM PT: Actually, it is the North Branch River. But a river nonetheless.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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