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Obama insists US economy 'headed in right direction'

Barack Obama speaks at an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, on November 21, 2013
Barack Obama speaks at an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, on November 21, 2013

Barack Obama, amid the lowest poll numbers of his presidency and a barrage of bad headlines, accentuated the positive on Saturday, telling Americans that the US economy is headed "in the right direction."

"Over the past couple months, most of the political headlines you've read have probably been about the government shutdown and the launch of the Affordable Care Act," the president said in his weekly media address referring to the new health care law informally known as Obamacare.

"But if you look beyond those headlines, there are some good things happening in our economy," he said.

Obama said 7.8 million new jobs have been created in the private sector in the past 44 months.

He said that the US auto industry is resurgent and America is on the path to reversing its "addiction to foreign oil."

And although he felt compelled to apologize last week for mistakes in the rollout of his signature health reform legislation, he said the program would do good for the nation.

Some 500,000 Americans "are poised to gain health coverage starting January 1," Obama said.

"Imagine how much farther along we could be if both parties were working together."

The president's approval ratings, battered by slow economic growth, the October partial government shutdown, and the clumsy health care law rollout, have sunk to around 40 percent, according to several recent polls.

A November 13 Quinnipiac University had him at 39 percent, a new low.

Obama's polling track at this point of his presidency are similar to that of George W. Bush, who left Washington with a paltry 34 percent approval.

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