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Obama warns recession could linger for years

Obama warns recession could linger for years BEDFORD HEIGHTS: President-elect Barack Obama Friday warned of a "tough year" ahead and a recession that will linger for much longer unless Congress takes "dramatic" action on his mammoth stimulus plan.

Four days before he is sworn in as president, Obama traveled to economically bereft Ohio, using a factory that supplies the growing wind power industry as a metaphor for his plans to ignite growth through alternative energy.

"If nothing is done, and we continue on our current path, this recession could linger for years," Obama told a small audience on a grimy factory floor in Bedford Heights, just outside Cleveland.

"It's not too late to change course -- but only if we take dramatic action as soon as possible," Obama said, in his latest pitch for his 800 billion dollar plus economic package now working its way through Congress.

Later, in an interview, the president-elect anticipated a "tough year" for the economy. "I don't think that any economist disputes we're in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," he said.

"The good news is we're getting a consensus about what needs to be done." Obama left Washington a day after the US Senate set the stage for an early victory for the new president by freeing up the second 350-billion-dollar slice of a financial bailout, leaving the House of Representatives to act next week.

Democratic House leaders also laid out their 825-billion-dollar version of Obama's stimulus plan, which he hopes to drive through Congress in a first jolt to the crisis-mired economy.

The president-elect said he was glad Congress had seen the "urgency" of action to act on the stimulus bill, which he hopes to have on his desk in the Oval Office by mid-February.

The package, designed to create or preserve three to four million jobs in the sinking US economy, includes billions of dollars to spark a fast track development of alternative energy industries and sources.

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