President Barack Obama said on Thursday the actions taken by his administration have helped stop an economic freefall and the United States may be seeing the "very beginnings" of the end of the recession.
Obama, addressing a raucous campaign rally for the Democratic candidate for Virginia governor, offered a spirited defense of policies implemented in his first 200 days in office to combat the worst U.S. economic crisis in decades.
"I'm convinced that actions we've taken in the first six months have helped stop our economic freefall," he told a crowd in Tysons Corner, Virginia, outside of Washington.
"We're losing jobs at half the rate we were at the beginning of this year."
"Our financial system is no longer on the verge of collapse. The market is up. Housing prices are up for the first time in nearly three years. So we may just be seeing the very beginnings of the end of this recession," he added.
Obama acknowledged more work is needed on recovery efforts but struck back at Republican critics, reminding his audience he had inherited the economic crisis when he took office in January. It began under his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
"I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess," Obama said to loud cheers.
Many Republicans have accused Obama of making economic matters worse by trying to spend the country out of recession.
Obama spoke after a government report showed the number of U.S. workers submitting new claims for jobless benefits fell sharply last week, fanning hopes the fragile labor market was on the mend and the broader economy was stabilizing.
Earlier, top White House economic adviser Christina Romer cautioned, though, that economic recovery will be painful and Friday's widely watched report on July unemployment likely will show hundreds of thousands more jobs were lost.
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