President Joe Biden launched a publicity tour touting his newly passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, but political operatives in both parties question whether it will move the needle for Democrats in the midterm elections.

Though Biden has not yet signed the bill into law, the White House is sending him to multiple cities across the country to deliver remarks on how the administration's investments will improve those particular communities, with the first coming last week in Baltimore.


Biden opened by discussing rampant inflation, which he called "one of the most pressing economic concerns in the American people."

"Too many people remain unsettled about the economy and we all know why. They see higher prices," he stated. "Everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more, and it's worrisome even though wages are going up."

"This bill is going to reduce the cost of goods to consumer businesses and get people back to work helping us build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out," the president continued. "I'm tired of this trickle-down economy stuff."

The president's speech touched on the usual hallmarks of his past infrastructure remarks, including how the plan will create new union jobs, ease inflationary bottlenecks, replace lead water pipes in states across the country, and modernize the country's aging roads, bridges, and rail systems. However, he devoted just a handful of lines in the 23-minute speech to what the plan will specifically do to improve Baltimore.

"Here in Baltimore, you've got a port that's older than America itself, and has been operating for 315 years," Biden stated. "This port is connected to the nation's oldest rail line, the B&O Railroad, which in turn relies on the tunnels that are about 126 years old. The tunnel has become a major bottleneck to the port. Now, the Port of Baltimore will be getting a $125 million grant to upgrade that tunnel so freight trains can come double stacked through that tunnel."

As of Friday, Biden also has trips to Woodstock, New Hampshire, this coming Tuesday and Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday to tout the infrastructure bill, and some senior Democrat officials say the president needs to do more to stress his and the party's role in getting this "historic" legislation passed.

"This bill is one of the single most important investments in modern American history, and combined with President Biden's historic Build Back Better package, will strengthen the economy for years to come," one official told the Washington Examiner. "But what's the point if we get steamrolled in 2022? Voters need to understand exactly how hard the president and Democrats worked to get this over the finish line, and he's the best messenger to do that."

"President Obama made a major mistake in 2010 by not vocally taking credit for stopping the Great Recession bailout, and we paid the price in the midterms," a second official added. "We can't afford for that to happen again, especially with important issues like voting rights, police reform, and gun safety still at risk if Republicans retake Congressional majorities. We have to make it clear that we're the party with voters' best interests in mind, not the interests of corporate donors."

For his part, the president also gave his first local news interview this past week, speaking with WKRC-TV in Cincinnati. During that interview, just 7 minutes in length, Biden rattled off the exact amounts of money Cincinnati, Ohio, and nearby Lousiville, Kentucky, would receive from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, and White House officials suggested the president will take more opportunities to speak with local press on the subject.

"I would expect that there will be more from the president," one White House official told Politico. "Between interviews and everything else, I think you’ll continue to see more regional media with the president and vice president and the Cabinet."

Still, a number of Republican officials openly celebrated Biden's ramped-up involvement in messaging around his infrastructure proposals ahead of the midterm elections.

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump conducted 78 and 157 1-on-1 interviews, respectively, during their first years in office, while Biden has only conducted 11 sit-down 1-on-1s, which one Republican official says is intentional.

"Biden has never been the best public speaker, but he's capable of straight up reading off a teleprompter," that person told the Washington Examiner. "If you've got a reporter in front of him asking questions that he might not have expected, it's a totally different story. If he starts doing more of these, I'd expect his gaffes to go through the roof."

A second official suggested that even if Biden replicates his performance in Baltimore, failing to properly hammer home the real-world impact the bill will have on specific local communities will cause voters to view him as disconnected.


"Odds are this PR tour won't help Democrats hold on to seats, and the polling supports that," that official added. "Worst-case scenario for us, Biden spends so much time out of town that he won't be able to negotiate the second part of this bloated spending package the Democrats are fighting over. It's a win-win."