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Obama seeks a quick solution to European Union's economic woes

CANNES, France — His political fortunes and his nation's economy at risk, President Barack Obama on Thursday implored European leaders to swiftly work out a eurozone rescue plan, aware of the potential fallout at home if they fail.

Obama, at the French Riviera for a summit of the Group of 20 leading industrialized and developing economies, pledged to be a partner in helping the Europeans cope with the economic emergency. But his aides insisted that Europe's problem, brought on by the threat of a Greek default, was one it had to fix.

Taking his jobs-first message abroad, Obama said the goal was getting people back to work. "That means," Obama said, "we're going to have to resolve the situation here in Europe."

Europe is the largest U.S. trading partner, and its intertwined financial institutions mean that a worsening crisis in Europe inevitably would spread across the Atlantic. The timing could not be worse as the weak U.S. economy is beginning to show some signs of life even with the unemployment rate stuck at 9.1 percent.

Obama's economic options and his leverage are limited, and the European debt crisis consumed all attention at the summit meeting.

Obama's participation in the G-20 is more limited than his role in the past four summits he has attended.

Obama's central message has been that economic growth must be balanced, and he has called on surplus nations to use their reserves to help spur growth.

Obama seeks a quick solution to European Union's economic woes 11/03/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 3, 2011 10:58pm]
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