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Obama Takes Aim at Stimulus Critics

With the majority of Americans still not seeing direct impact from the Recovery Act, and criticism mounting as unemployment hovers around 10 percent, President Obama today took direct aim at critics, telling a town hall audience in North Carolina, that he was going to lay out the facts, because "there's a lot of misinformation" out there.

"I think some folks are confused," he said, talking about the impact of the $787 Billion stimulus package that he signed into law in February.

The president took it upon himself to be the informer in chief, with a new defense of the stimulus act and enlisting those in the audience to help fight the negative spin. "I know a lot of people think, oh, this is just blowing up government and wasting money. Let me describe exactly where this money went, just so, if your friends or neighbors talk to you, you can -- you can give them the right information."

He said the stimulus bill had three main parts. Number one he said, was tax relief. "Ninety-five percent of you got a tax cut," he said.

While he noted that many may not have noticed that tax cuts because the cuts came in a gradual reduction of payroll taxes, he was emphatic that they have been effective. "And all those folks who are complaining about growing government and all that stuff? We are actually cutting your taxes, giving your money back so you can spend it. That's a third."

He said the other two thirds were emergency relief for the less fortunate and recently unemployed and money for states for recovery projects.

"I want you to know -- this money is not being wasted. We're seeing the results of these investments here in Raleigh and across North Carolina," he said.

He cited the renovation of runways at the Raleigh airport and new a new maintenance facility for the transit system as local projects that are helping the communities and creating jobs.

Overall, he used this town hall to say that what was spent on recovery was necessary and successful, as the country has begun to turn the corner on the economic downturn. "There's no doubt that things have gotten better. We may be seeing the beginning of the end of the recession."

He went on to caution that the country is not out of the woods yet and that his push for health care reform is critical to helping get the country's budget under control in the long term.

Robert Hendin is a CBS News White House producer. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.
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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.