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Obama Predicts Changes and Passage for Stimulus

President Barack Obama on Sunday said he is “confident” the economic stimulus plan now being considered in the Senate would “receive substantial support” in Congress when it is voted on in its final form. Obama, who was interviewed during the NBC Super Bowl pregame show by “Today Show” host Matt Lauer, asserted that the final bill would be without earmarks, and pledged, “We’re going to be trimming out things that are not relevant to putting people back to work right now,” a key demand of Republicans. The legislation passed along party lines in the House and appears heading toward a tight vote this week in the Senate. Obama said he had performed “extraordinary outreach to Republicans,” commending the GOP for having “good ideas” and adding, “I want to make sure that those ideas are incorporated.” The president said he would release details of his financial system rescue and regulation proposal “as soon as Congress moves forward on the recovery plan.” He said the economy would continue to worsen for “a number of months” and then take “a little bit longer” to get back on track. Asked whether a “substantial number” of U.S. troops will be home from Iraq by “next Super Bowl Sunday,” Obama said they would. He explained that, based on reports by military officials and given that the just-completed Iraqi elections went off without violence, “we are in a position to start putting more responsibility on the Iraqis.” Obama, who is backing the Pittsburgh in today’s game, seemed less certain that his team will win than he is about the prospects for the stimulus. He predicted a Steelers victory in a squeaker over the Arizona Cardinals.

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