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Obama Touts Stimulus Success as Ahead of Schedule

President Barack Obama on Monday declared the stimulus bill a preliminary success, saying projects are costing less than anticipated and being approved more quickly than expected.

Obama, who appeared at the Transportation Department along with Vice President Joseph Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said the performance of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had allowed him to use a phrase rarely heard in the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C..

“This government effort is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget,— he said.

The president said competition for projects to be funded under the legislation has been so “fierce— that contractors were bidding for less than expected. He said the lower costs have resulted in savings, which he said will be plowed into additional projects.

Obama spoke at an event designed to highlight the speed with which money is getting out the door, celebrating the 2000th project to be approved. The $68 million project involves widening an interstate highway in Kalamazoo County, Mich. Biden will attend the June groundbreaking.

Obama also expressed “how pleased I am— that the U.S. military had successfully freed American Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates.

“We are resolved to halt the rise of [piracy] in that region— and “ensure that those who commit piracy are held accountable for their crimes,— Obama said.

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