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President Joe Biden returns to Pittsburgh Friday

President Joe Biden arrives to speak on infrastructure spending at Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Pittsburgh.
Evan Vucci
President Joe Biden arrives to speak on infrastructure spending on March 31, 2021 at the Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center in Pittsburgh.

President Joe Biden is headed back to Pittsburgh on Friday, according to an announcement Monday evening from the White House.

Biden will "discuss strengthening the nation’s supply chains, revitalizing American manufacturing, creating good-paying, union jobs, and building a better America," said the statement.

The White House released few other details about the visit, but Pittsburgh has been a touchstone for Biden's presidency and, before that, his 2020 campaign. Biden launched his bid at a Teamsters hall in April 2019, and last March he rolled out an expansive vision of the country's infrastructures needs at a carpenters training facility.

Biden has seen many of those priorities get whittled away by Republican opposition and the recalcitrance of a small number of Democrats led by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. And his approval ratings, which were in the mid-50s around the time he unveiled his infrastructure wishlist, have dropped precipitously to the low 40s this month.

But a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill did pass last fall.

And Democrats — who by most reckonings face a brutal midterm election later this year — have been at pains in recent weeks to hail its impact. Earlier this month, for example, Pennsylvania Democrats touted a massive investment in a long-delayed lock-and-dam rebuilding.

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.