White House to Focus on Economy After Mass. Upset

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WASHINGTON -- With health care running into serious problems, the White House is promising a sharper focus on jobs and the economy.

President Barack Obama recently dispatched his top advisors to tell Americans he got the message, loud and clear. From this point forward, the White House will be focusing on the economy.

"We have pulled it back from the brink of disaster," White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett said. "That was our first and primary goal. The president took some bold steps that were not necessarily popular, but that did stabilize the financial system."

Obama's renewed focus on the economy is the political calculus of adding GOP Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown to the equation.

Brown's win put an exclamation point on the fact that Americans are most concerned about the economy, not health care.

This comes on top of growing concerns about the increasing size of the federal deficit.

The Democrats' proposal to raise the debt limit by another $1.9 trillion would grow the national debt to $14.3 trillion - roughly the size of the entire economy.

Meanwhile, the president is now backing legislation that would create an independent commission with the power to force Congress to vote on major deficit reduction steps this year.

The move is seen as a way to win over fiscal moderates. But some Republicans are already saying no way.

"We're not going to have bipartisanship as long as Democrats are moving towards just more spending and debt," Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said.

Even if the measure passed, the panel wouldn't begin its work until after the November elections.

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