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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama insisted Friday that the U.S. economy is digging itself out of the deepest recession in decades but conceded that "progress has been painfully slow" and many voters in November's elections may blame him.
Facing a rising jobless rate, Obama told a White House news conference: "For all the progress we've made, we're not there yet. And that means the people are frustrated and that means people are angry."
"And since I'm the president and Democrats have controlled the House and the Senate, it's understandable that people are saying, you know, 'What have you done?'"
The president, who also is the leader of the Democratic Party, spent much of his appearance before cameras on the defensive, underscoring his frustration with being unable to convince the public that his economic fixes are working.
At his first formal session with reporters since May, one that lasted nearly an hour and 20 minutes, Obama also appealed to Americans to stand by the nation's long heritage of religious tolerance.
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