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Opinion: Obama: My plan means rehires here. CEO: Actually, more layoffs first

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This is awkward, like truly first-date awkward, when your hands brush and the other one pulls away.

President Obama speaking at the Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Ill., Thursday afternoon on his economic stimulus plan (see video below) still before Congress:

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‘When they finally pass our plan, I believe it will be a major step forward on our path to economic recovery. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. ‘Yesterday, Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off. And that’s a story I’m confident will be repeated at companies across the country.’

Jim Owens, chief executive of Caterpillar who announced 22,000 layoffs recently and supports the president’s plan, was asked if he agreed with that rehiring assessment:

‘I think, realistically, no. The truth is we’re going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again.’

So, like, call me sometime? Sure, yeah. OK. Sometime.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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