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GOP predicts doomsday if Obama budget passed

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By PHILIP ELLIOTT
The Associated Press
Sunday, March 22, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans on Sunday predicted a doomsday scenario of crushing debt and eventual federal bankruptcy if President Barack Obama's massive spending blueprint wins passage.

But a White House adviser dismissed the negative assessments, saying she is "incredibly confident" that the president's policies will "do the job" for the economy.

In a TV interview, Obama himself laughed when discussing the dire state of parts of the economy _ and ascribed his laughter to "gallows humor."

White House Council of Economic Advisers chairwoman Christina Romer insisted that the nation's flailing economy will be rebounding by 2010.

Administration officials _ and the president himself _ have taken a cheerier tone despite economic indicators that are anything but positive.

"I have every expectation, as do private forecasters, that we will bottom out this year and actually be growing again by the end of the year," Romer said.

The president, in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News' "60 Minutes," talked about the need to spend taxpayer money to save financial firms and the auto industry.

"I just want to say that the only thing less popular than putting money into banks is putting money into the auto industry," Obama said with a laugh.

Interviewer Steve Kroft asked how that laughter might be perceived, given the economy's troubles.

"There's got to be a little gallows humor to get you through the day," Obama said. "If you had said to us a year ago that the least of my problems would be Iraq, which is still a pretty serious problem, I don't think anybody would have believed it."

Republicans say Obama's budget is no laughing matter.

Senate Republicans predicted $20 trillion annual deficits and a weakened dollar if Obama and his Democratic allies get their proposed $3.6 trillion budget plan passed.


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