Obama pleads for optimism on the economy 

President Obama pleaded with his jobs council on Monday to help him counter growing pessimism surrounding the economic recovery.

"Every time I look at the data, every time I look at all the formidable challenges that are before us... I'm always struck by the fact that these are solvable problems," he said to members of his jobs and competitiveness council in Durham, N.C., on Monday. "The more that those of you around this table are pointing that out, that the sky is not falling, [then] the question is: Are we going to build on the strengths that we have got?" 

Obama has been trying to characterize a recent uptick in unemployment as a mere "bump in the road" to recovery. Concerned that his message is falling on deaf ears, Obama is asking the council of business executives to back him up.

"You guys can amplify that probably more effectively than I can because when I say it, you know, I'm an elected official – I'm a president, I'm supposed to say that," Obama said.

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