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Econ Recovery Likely _ Benefiting Election Winner

But, he added: "We will never live in a world where presidents don't take credit of for an improved economy on their watch."

Both Obama and Romney have placed great stock in their economic recovery plans during this year's campaign, Obama with his "balanced approach" of tax increases for the wealthy and spending reductions, Romney with his spending cuts and lower tax rates.

But many economists say the fate of the recovery rests not so much with those specific plans as it does with a bargain â¿¿ either at year's end or during the first several months of 2013 â¿¿ by the new or the re-elected president and Congress that avoids steep and immediate spending cuts and an immediate across-the-board tax increase.

Congress and Obama agreed that those drastic deficit-cutting measures would take effect in January unless lawmakers and the president worked out and approved other proposals in the meantime. That intense debate will resume in earnest almost immediately after the Nov. 6 election.

" If the cliff is resolved in a relatively benign fashion where there is modest fiscal austerity and serious compromise between the two parties, then the economy can go back to its recovery," said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economic research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "If they really do a poor job of handling the fiscal cliff, they may actually kill this potential rebound."

How will that question be resolved?

Republicans have been adamant that no solution should include a tax increase, even on higher income taxpayers. Romney has embraced that stance. But in a recent panel discussion, Romney economic adviser Kevin Hassett pointed out that the countries that have been most successful at reining in their deficits have been the ones that accomplished it with a mix of 85 percent cuts and 15 percent tax increases.

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