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"Let's not make the perfect the enemy of the essential," Obama said as Senate Republicans stepped up their criticism of the bill's spending and pressed for additional tax cuts and relief for homeowners. He warned that failure to act quickly "will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession."
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that keeping a "protectionist" clause in Congress's version of his economic stimulus bill would be a "mistake," following sharp protests from US trading partners.
In an interview with Fox News Channel, one of a flurry of encounters with US television anchors, the president weighed in on a "Buy American" proposal which has sparked alarm in Europe, Canada and other parts of the world.
"I agree that we can't send a protectionist message. I want to see what kind of language we can work on this issue," Obama said in the interview in the Oval Office.
"I think it would be a mistake though, at a time when worldwide trade is declining, for us to start sending a message that somehow we're just looking after ourselves and not concerned with world trade."
"But what we can't do is let very modest differences get in the way of the overall package moving forward quickly," Obama told reporters in the Oval Office.