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Obama and business at odds on economy fix

The business world had high hopes when President Barack Obama won the White House and put the economy at the top of his to-do list.

In March 2009, with the nation on the brink of recession and the stock market at 12-year lows, Obama met with the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executives from top U.S. firms. The two sides said they would work together to rescue the economy and signaled openness to tackling long-term problems like tax reform and deficit reduction.

Eighteen months later, oil and vinegar would be among the more polite ways to describe the state of the White House's relationship with the business community.

Obama's travels this week to Asia and last week's midterm elections have put the spotlight on his economic performance. In India and elsewhere, Obama and a delegation of about 200 business leaders are marketing U.S. goods and services, but many merchants and executives on the home front have not been sold on Obama's economic agenda.

To many voters and political leaders, the Republican victories in the House sent a message against more government spending. It's not clear if Obama can rope in business support for a break on payroll taxes, spending on transportation infrastructure and other ideas when a divided Congress convenes next year.

- With Reuters

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