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Central to the G-20 debate is how nations can boost jobs and consumer demand without sinking deeper into debt. Obama has implored governments to spend and grow, not just cut.

A draft of the leaders’ final statement shows they want assurances that the United States won’t take a deep plunge and drag them down as well.

The statement says the U.S. will “calibrate” its attempt to rein in debt and spending “by avoiding a sharp fiscal contraction in 2013.”

That’s a reference to a big threat to economic growth in the United States after the November election: the expiration of George W. Bush-era tax cuts and a scheduled round of automatic spending cuts that could send the nation back into a recession.

While the White House and lawmakers agree that they must act late this year or early next year to avoid such a “fiscal cliff,” there is no path yet on how to avoid it.

Obama’s political move has been to constantly show confidence in Europe’s ability to solve its problems, but prod its leaders to move and chide them for not doing more sooner. Now, White House aides talk more positively about the direction of the debate, as they see it, toward the role of government in spurring economic growth.

“I think if you look at the shift in the focus, you’ll see a very strong focus on supporting demand … recognizing that economic conditions have deteriorated,” said Lael Brainard, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for international affairs.

“This is very important to the Europeans in particular,” she said. “And yes, we have heard it from German colleagues.”

Associated Press writers Anne Gearan and Michael Weissenstein contributed to this report.