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Advisers Pressed On Memo Fallout

Three days before Obama hits the 100-day mark, advisers also sought to portray his efforts to repair the economy as gaining some traction despite the continuing bad financial news.

National Economic Council Director Lawrence H. Summers said the economic picture no longer feels like it did two months ago, when there were no positive signs and the "economy felt like it was falling vertically."

Today, he said, "the picture is much more mixed. There are some negative indicators, to be sure. There are also some positive indicators. And no one knows what the next turn will be."

Two big economic stories are likely to emerge in the next two weeks: the results of "stress tests" for the nation's major banks, which will reveal whether they are healthy or need more government aid; and the results of negotiations at Chrysler to determine whether it needs bankruptcy protection.

Summers said on Fox that the administration is not desperate to help Chrysler avoid bankruptcy, adding that the process does not necessarily lead to the kind of liquidation that people often think of.

Asked about the banks, Jarrett raised the prospect that the White House could force more management changes, but she declined to be specific before the results of the tests are made public next Monday.

"In order to have a healthy economy, we need to have strong banks," she said. "They need to be well-capitalized. They need to be able to lend dollars and help support our economy. And so, at the end of the stress test, we want to make sure that those are -- that the banks are in a position to do that. And so whether management changes occur, whether banks are asked to raise more capital, all of that is going to come forth in the coming week."


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