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Obama's bold deficit pledge comes back to haunt him

• Jason Lange and David Lawder
 

Standing at a podium in the elegant East Room, the Democratic president wasted no time in reminding his audience, which included Republican congressional leaders, that he had just inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit in the midst of "an economic crisis unlike any we have seen in generations."

 

He gave a finger-waving talk on fiscal responsibility and boldly pledged to halve the deficit in four years.

 

There was no hint in his remarks of the behind-the-scenes debate that had taken place among his advisers over whether such an ambitious promise could be kept. And as the economic recovery failed to take off, he stuck with it for the next two years.

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