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Long IslandPolitics

Economists: Obama fair, Romney best of GOP

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama gets mediocre marks for his handling of the economy, and Mitt Romney easily outpolls his Republican rivals in an Associated Press survey of economists.

Half of the 36 economists who responded to the Dec. 14-20 survey rated Obama's economic policies "fair," while 13 called them "poor." Just five of the economists gave the president "good" marks. None rated him as "excellent."

The economists' criticisms vary. Some say Obama was distracted by his health care overhaul. Others say his $862 billion stimulus program was poorly designed. Still others fault him for not pushing for an even bigger stimulus when the economy proved weaker than expected.

Asked which of the Republican presidential candidates would do the best job managing the economy, two-thirds of the economists named Romney, one chose former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The rest didn't pick anyone at all.

Jamal Simmons, an adviser to the Obama campaign in 2008, said the president must remind voters how bad things were when he took office. The economy lost more than 820,000 jobs the month Obama was sworn in, the biggest drop since October 1949. -- AP

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