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In other words, deficit reduction will take a back seat to jobs programs and more spending. Although Mr. Carney rejected the notion Monday that the president was again “pivoting” back to the economy, a new poll showed Americans are still deeply concerned about the lack of jobs.

The survey by Quinnipiac University found that 53 percent of respondents believe the U.S. is still in a recession, even though economists have said the economic downturn ended in July 2009. Given that, Mr. Obama is expected to revive long-standing proposals for more federal spending on infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy and education.

The president told House Democrats he asks himself the same question when evaluating the worthiness of administration proposals: “Is this helping to make sure that everybody has got a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules?”

“Because I believe that is a growth agenda — not just an equity agenda, not just a fairness agenda — that is a growth agenda,” Mr. Obama said. “That is when we have grown fastest.”