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Obama Blasts Critics of US Economic Recovery Plan

U.S. President Barack Obama is challenging critics who claim his policies are not helping the country's economy.

Mr. Obama told factory workers in the central state of Ohio Tuesday that the United States would have been in "a deeper world of hurt" without a massive economic stimulus package and the bailout of the financial and auto industries.

He said because of those polices the U.S. economy has started creating jobs again and he chastised what he called "the just-say-no crowd" for opposing plans to kick-start economic growth. But he also told critics it was not too late to work together.

Mr. Obama, a Democrat, did not mention Republicans by name, instead criticizing what he called the "unified, determined opposition of one party."

The president spoke on the same day that millions of Americans vote in primary elections in four states.

Some political observers say the elections could serve as a sort of referendum on the president's policies ahead of nationwide Congressional elections in November.

Despite a multi-billion-dollar government stimulus package, the U.S. unemployment rate has climbed to 9.9 percent. The unemployment rate in Ohio is about 11 percent.

Before his speech, Mr. Obama toured the V&M Star steel plant in the city of Youngstown.

The plant, owned by a French company, is about to invest about $650 million in a new facility that could create about 350 new jobs. Some of the money for the project is from a federal stimulus grant.

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