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Bloomberg vows to back Obama economic programs

WASHINGTON - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged Friday to work to build support for President Barack Obama's spending on infrastructure in the stimulus package and his 2010 budget after meeting with him at the White House.

"The president gets it," Bloomberg said outside of the West Wing as he stood with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.).

"This is about the future of our country, whether it's transportation, or water, or all the other things we need to invest in now so that our children and our grandchildren will have a future," he said.

Bloomberg, an independent, Schwarzenegger and Rendell met for nearly an hour with Obama as co-chairmen of Building America's Future, a group funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to promote increased federal spending on infrastructure such as roads, transit systems and schools.

The projects not only pave the way for the future, the three politicians said, but also put people to work: 18,000 to 25,000 jobs created for every $1 billion spent.

Rendell said they talked in the meeting about creating Obama's campaign suggestion of an "infrastructure bank" that would raise money for major projects by issuing bonds.

The three political leaders, who expect to receive billions in infrastructure funds from the $787 billion stimulus package, said Obama's efforts deserve bipartisan support. "And the three of us pledged to do everything we can to make sure he gets the support he needs and the help," Bloomberg said.

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