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Friday, April 3, 2009

Biden Takes Credit For Bush's Plan

Biden brags about stimulus in N.C.
By Mark Johnson - Staff Writer
Published: Thu, Apr. 02, 2009 02:00AM

PIKEVILLE -- Vice President Joe Biden brought a clear message to this tiny Eastern North Carolina town Wednesday: The federal recovery money isn't just for big banks and auto companies.

Biden and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a new wave of $10.4 billion in federal stimulus money for home loans across the country, and billions more for essential services in rural communities such as Pikeville, which is getting money for a new fire station. Biden used the outdated, current station as a backdrop. Pikeville is just north of Goldsboro in Wayne County.

"We're investing in places like this all across the country," Biden said, "to demonstrate the vital role towns like this play in the recovery."

Most of the money for the station that was announced Wednesday, however, had been secured last year under the Bush administration, according to fire department officials.

State Sen. David Rouzer, a Republican who represents Pikeville and worked in the Agriculture Department under President Bush, said he helped secure the fire department money last year out of the federal agency's regular programs.

"They're coming in and cherry picking the best projects and switching out the money, saying it's stimulus money," Rouzer said. "But it was already approved and in the pipeline. It's totally disingenuous to come down here and say this is stimulus money, when regardless of whether a stimulus bill passed, they were getting the money."

The Obama administration is working to draw attention to money for rural communities, where gravel roads and volunteer fire departments are the norm. The moves come as irritation and anger are rising over federal money that has been streaming to Wall Street, banks and car companies.

Biden and Vilsack talked Wednesday about grants that are being parceled out for water systems, police stations, hospitals and fire stations. Earlier in the day, they visited Goshen Medical Center in Faison, where $635,000 in federal money will help hire two doctors, two nurses and three administrative workers.

Pikeville, where nearly all residents live below the poverty line, will receive $150,000 in grants and a $1 million loan toward the $1.3 million cost of the new fire station, said Fire Chief Wesley Wooten.

It is expected to create several months of work for the contractor, who has sat idle since late last year, he said.

A few volunteer firefighters perched on their trucks to watch Biden and snap photos. Fewer than 80people squeezed into metal folding chairs in the bays that normally hold pumper trucks."

These people are smart people," Wooten said. "Eventually, they'll see the effect."

Biden and Vilsack also talked about money being made available through the Department of Agriculture for low-cost home loans in rural areas.

A wave of new loans, though, sounds like a repeat of what created the recession, said John Tyndall, a volunteer firefighter and corn and soybean farmer who attended the Biden event.

"They gave out loans to people who couldn't pay 'em back," Tyndall said.

Wilbur "Andy" Anderson is the county commissioner for the district that includes the fire department, and one of two Republicans on the board of commissioners. He was not invited to the event in Pikeville, but offered his take later on what Biden had said.

"It'll help people," Anderson said, "but I don't see where it'll create a lot of jobs in the immediate future."


Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday disputed statements by officials from a volunteer fire department in North Carolina and a state senator about when the fire department's recently announced loan and grants for a new fire station were approved.

Leaders of the Pikeville Pleasant Grove Volunteer Fire Department and N.C. Sen. David Rouzer, a Republican, said Wednesday that the department had requested the $1 million loan and at least some of the $150,000 in grants last year and was working through the application process with the Bush administration.

The fire department's president, Russell Robertson, said he was told the loan was approved in December. Contract bids for the new station were put out in January, he said. Rouzer, who worked for the Agriculture Department in the Bush administration, accused the Obama administration of being disingenuous because Vice President Joe Biden, who visited the fire department Wednesday, announced that the fire department was receiving stimulus money through the Obama administration.

Robertson reiterated his December time frame Thursday morning. But after speaking with USDA officials, Robertson said later in the day that he had misunderstood the process. He said the fire department did not officially apply for the money until March 5. USDA provided a copy of the application with that date.


My Thoughts

So, I guess the Obama administration give Bush all the blame for their bad behavior and take the credit for things Bush may have done right. They might as well. The Mainstream media will minimize and bury the story. Of course, as Dan Rather found out you can't misrepresent the facts for long these days with the rise of new media and bloggers like me calling them out on it. They will be found out in the end.

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