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NH Obama campaign blasts watchdog group

A conservative organization said the federal stimulus program created jobs in New Hampshire at the rate of $1.1 million per job, a claim that prompted the New Hampshire Obama campaign to defend the President's stimulus program Wednesday.

The tally comes from New Hampshire Watchdog, an offshoot of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.

Watchdog editor Grant Bosse reported his findings in a post Tuesday titled &#';NH stimulus — $985 million for 845 jobs.&#';

Bosse attributes his information to, the U.S. government website that tracks stimulus funding. The website makes no mention of the cost per job, and data show far more jobs created in New Hampshire during the life of the stimulus program.

As the three-year stimulus program started to draw to a close last year, federal checks to New Hampshire slowed. With that, the number of jobs funded by the program fell, to 845 in the final quarter of last year.

Bosse's calculation links three years of stimulus awards — $985.7 million — to the 845 jobs, a calculation that works out to $1.1 million per job.

During its peak, however, stimulus spending funded more than 1,300 jobs for five straight quarters, including 2,337 in the third quarter of 2010, reported.

And much of the stimulus program did not go to direct job creation.

Harrell Kirstein, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said a third of the Recovery Act went to tax cuts largely aimed at the middle class and small businesses.

&#';President Obama brought us back from the brink of economic disaster, and we have now seen 25 months of consecutive private-sector job growth,&#'; Kirstein said.

In his post, Bosse said New Hampshire stimulus funds went to jobs that were already filled and unlikely to go away. In the first quarter of 2009, the largest block of stimulus jobs represented federal funding that replaced state education grants to local schools, he said.

&#';New Hampshire used that federal money to help balance a growing budget deficit, but did not create or save any jobs with it,&#'; Bosse said.

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