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Obama Sees Hope for US Economy


President Barack Obama says he sees flickers of hope that the U.S. economy may be starting to recover from the recession.

In a television interview broadcast Sunday, on the CBS program 60 Minutes the president said increasing numbers of homeowners are refinancing their mortgages, taking advantage of low interest rates. Mr. Obama said that is a possible indication that the nation's housing market is beginning to recover.

He acknowledged widespread public anger resulting from large bonuses paid to executives of insurance giant AIG after the government paid billions of dollars to keep the company in business.

But the president questioned the legality of a bill passed last week in Congress that would impose a 90 percent tax on the recipients of the bonuses. Mr. Obama spoke of balancing the need to deal with taxpayer anger with the need for support from the financial industry in helping the economy recover.

He also said he would refuse a hypothetical resignation offer from his treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner.

The president also spoke of the conflict in Afghanistan, saying that military force alone will not solve the problems there. Mr. Obama said he is looking to develop a comprehensive plan that includes a strategy for getting U.S. forces out of Afghanistan.

President Obama also took issue with recent criticism of his security policies by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney said the Obama administration's decision to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will make America less safe and more vulnerable to another terrorist attack.

Mr. Obama responded by saying his predecessor's detention policies were unsustainable and fueled anti-American sentiment abroad.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.


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